Tavi Quits, My Little Thought Triggered…. Distorted Evolution of the Blogosphere

Tavi Genvinson

Tavi Gevinson at Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2011 runway show at New York Fashion Week

Photo courtesy of The Wizard of Odd

Inspired by the news that the 16-year-old super blogger Tavi Gevinson quitted because of the disappointment she felt with the fashion game she has played in the past three years previously posted on Hamilton Fashion Blog by an insightful American blogger friend William Hamilton, I strongly feel the need to say a few words about the distorted evolution of the blogosphere. Before fashion bloggers have gradually expanded their sphere of influence to become a major media force less than ten years ago, only the commentaries made by high-fashion magazine editors, well-known fashion journalists and reputable stylists would be taken seriously (yes fashion is always an exclusive game for a small group of people). It was until 2009 when Bryan Boy was first invited to Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter show at New York Fashion Week sitting in the front row as a blogger (not an editor, like Anna Wintour or Anna Dello Russo, or a fashion celeb, like Alexa Chung) that the fashion industry has finally recognized the power of blog writing, unprofessional though it may seem, it has indeed officially overturned the traditional media ecology. Bryan Boy, Rumi Neely, Tavi and other super bloggers get a million hits a month on their blogs, which can absolutely compete with the high-end glossy magazines such as Vogue and Bazaar.

Evolution of the blogosphere 1

Anna Wintour at Lanvin Spring/Summer 2013 runway show at Paris Fashion Week (front row)

Anna Dello Russo at Lanvin Spring/Summer 2013 runway show at Paris Fashion Week (front row)

Alexa Chung

Photo courtesy of Zimbio, Zimbo and of Alexa Chung’s Style

Based on Bryan Boy‘s success, I can certainly conclude that the essence of blogging is how an unprofessional fashion lover shares his/her innermost thoughts and most honest and significant personal beliefs about fashion without any commercial consideration, which touch the heartstrings of readers equally far and wide as, or even better than the glitzy glamorous editorial writing. The purpose of blogging is in the first place to make the door of exclusivity open to ordinary people, and create a democratic space in which every common person is empowered to build the unique, one-of-a-kind and genuine fashion world they own which is like a breath of fresh air, with that they counteract the clichéd luxury fashion market monopolized by the top fashion houses and their wowing marketing strategies and overwhelming media presence. If fashion is built on a cliquey network, the foundation of fashion blogging must be laid in people’s support. Ten years later today, however, bloggers seem unwilling to embrace such a down-to-earth spirit of blogging as they start to realize that blogging can be a shortcut to fame and fortune, and thus their intention becomes impure. Upon my observation of today’s blogosphere, a relatively large number of so-called bloggers tend to chase their dreams of blogging stardom at the expense of the integrity of the individual and an independent autonomous voice. Bryan Boy now being represented by CAA, one of the world’s most renowned talent agencies which represents some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry like Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and many more has become another celebrity and no longer blogs (he does but it is more appropriate to call his blog a celeb diary ever since he has turned into a fashion star). Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This quote extracted from Lord Acton‘s letter written in 1887 seems so applicable to today’s bloggers.

Evolution of the blogosphere 2

Bryan Boy  at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013

Rumi Neely at Helmut Lang Fall/Winter 2012 runway show at New York Fashion Week

Photo courtesy of Exposay and Zimbio

There are some bloggers (yes they claim themselves as bloggers) who are in fact no different from fashion reporters. They unreservedly dedicate their blogs to serving the best interests of big brands and PR agencies, which has resulted in turning their blogs into an advertorial hub. Bloggers of this kind are able to make money from advertising and enjoy all the exclusive benefits, including product sponsorship and being entitled to receive first-hand fashion news offered by their “clients” in return. They may appear successful as they are very popular in the media circle, but let’s face it, they are some smart business opportunists rather than bloggers.

What is more, another type of bloggers who are particularly proactive in establishing their names and expanding their domains within a short time ally among themselves and with designers, stylists, photographers and even PR people and launch their team blogs in a high profile manner through which they boost their marketable and authoritative image to the utmost. Knowing the strategy of self-promotion and market expectations better than anyone else does, this kind of bloggers are acting as their own managers, meaning that they package themselves as fashion gurus and grab every opportunity they can to make themselves stand out and impress and hobnob with the top-tiered fashion elitists backed up by an extensive network of their allied teammates. In this sense, blogging is seen as a means to pride and reputation. Is there still room for sincerity, honesty and faithfulness to life where the true spirit of blogging lies when such an intention is present? I am seriously not sure.

The fashion blogging world has never been so dominated by elitism than it is now. Realizing the unprecedented impact of social media on today’s fashion industry and of course one’s reputation, celebrities, designers, editors, stylists and photographers all join the crowd and embark on a journey of blogging to further promote their names/their works. As aforementioned, blogging is supposed to be a great way to create opportunities for everyone – ordinary people to share with the rest of the world their intuitive fashion sense – something we were all born with. I don’t know since when the elitist attitude which has long existed in fashion has swept across the blogging world, which I reckon would eventually – sadly become another clique – the vicious cycle keeps spinning. Can non-elitist/ordinary bloggers’ voices still be heard by then? I highly doubt it.

Susie Bubble

Susanna Lau (Susie Bubble

Photo courtesy of The Guardian/The Observer

Speaking in an interview with The Observer, the famous British blogger of Chinese descent Susanna Lau (Susie Bubble) said: “You have to collaborate with certain labels and get involved in projects in order to make a living, but also hang on to your integrity and be true to your own voice. It’s tricky to navigate.” To strike a fine balance between monetizing a blog and keeping its authenticity is easier said than done especially when the blogger is climbing the fashion ladder gradually working his/her way to the top. The more popular a blogger is, the heavier the burden of fame h/she has to bear and the more conscious h/she will be of what rewards that can be gained in return, which would eventually result in the gradual loss of the ability to blog in a spontaneous and free flowing manner. Who knows if I will follow in Bryan Boy‘s footsteps to walk the path to blogging stardom someday (after all, people change and I am no exception). At least at this moment, I can proudly make my statement (friends be my witnesses) –

  • I am not a fashion journalist. Neither do I like to see myself as part of the media circle.

  • I do not feel obligated to catch up with the pulse of fashion (though I prefer to).

  • Without a sense of urgency, I write at my own pace.

  • I have full autonomy over what to and not to write.

  • I let my thoughts fly without worrying about what others might say about me.

  • My blog is probably not the right place to visit if you aim at gossiping about celebs and socialites attending events and chasing closely after the latest fashion trends (why not simply read Vogue and Bazaar? They have got the best team capable of capturing the hottest fashion news from all over the world).

  • All the way I have kept my intention pure to share only my personal taste in and my personal experience with fashion.

Fellow bloggers, my advice to you is to be still. It is the distinct character that exudes from your blog that will become your signature. Always stay truthful, authentic and focused and in time all good things will come to you. Why overdo things?

18 Responses to Tavi Quits, My Little Thought Triggered…. Distorted Evolution of the Blogosphere

  1. Hmm, I’ve got to agree with the honesty bit, besides I find whenever I try to branch off into something more “marketable” in my blog or posts it doesn’t feel right anyway. My advice is:

    – Always try to ignore the lure of fame because fame has to do a lot with trends and because they always change it can be a little depressing trying to keep up particular when you don’t like something

    – Stick with what you love the most, that root interest that got you blogging in the first place

    – Withing you interest, stay on the path of learning and discover so you’ll always have something new to share

    – When every a trend pops up that you absolutely love or hate, write honestly about your opinion if the content is related to your blog’s main focus

    Another thing to keep in mind, is that even if the Big Wigs of the Fashion and media industries are saturating the world of blogging and millions of people flock to read their posts us authentic bloggers will always have a market in the populations of people looking for something real because it brings the world of their interests “closer to home” and who doesn’t like that if it’s high quality?

    • Well said, Ayisha. You gave such a wonderful, constructive and inspiring comment as usual. I bet most people won’t understand me but you do so we’re on the same wave length ^_^ I hope more bloggers will start to think about their true reasons to blog.

  2. Vickie very nice I enjoyed reading. I appreciate you input on the difference between bloggers. I particularly loved being authentic and truthful are also my motto. I believe people respect one who is honest in writing. Good luck in all your endeavors. Thanks for including me.

    • Thanks very much, Carolyn. It’s important to have your support 🙂 You know it’s really hard to move on when the vast majority of people in the blogging circle is doing just the opposite, sadly 🙁

  3. Well said girl!couldn’t agree more!Thank you for sharing this post:-) Actually, I’m in the middle of writing my independent research about fashion blogs!Fashion blogs: Commercially significant or consumer-oriented? SO, this post somehow helps me a little bit..here and there. These days, I realized that the more popular the blogger become, the more he/she use their blogs as a platform for business & commercial purposes. Sadly enough, we can’t see the transparency on the blogs. It is very inevitable though. Perhaps, if I were famous, I’d be like them too. No one knows. Nonetheless, great post!Keep up the good work 🙂


    • Hi Hidaya,
      Thanks very much for your lovely comment. I’m glad that this post could somehow inspire you. I can’t wait to see the outcome of your research. Pls do keep me posted. I understand the theme of this post is a bit controversial but that’s what’s been missing in today bloggers’ writings, right?

      I’d love to discuss this further with you. We’re on the same wavelength 😛 Merry Christmas!!

    • Hi Mandie,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I think It’s time to point out the major problems facing the over-saturated blogosphere before it’s too late. I reckon most bloggers are walking towards a declining path without getting any breakthrough with their works. I insist on posting things which differ myself to other commercial bloggers or fashion editors/reporters. I bet many won’t understand me but if anyone does, then we’re on the same boat.

      My next post on the year-end gratitude giveaway will go live next week. It’s not like any other giveaway campaigns. I’m giving away my one-of-a-kind La Mode by GV Miao canvas shopping bag. You may click on https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150908373739965.429065.277566999964&type=3 to have an idea what the bag is like. I’m creating a poster to promote the giveaway. Pls stay tuned. You’re welcome to participate in it.

      Stay in touch. Wish you a merry Christmas!

  4. Really enjoyed reading this post Vicki. With the constant lure of materialism in present day society it is getting more and more difficult to find genuine bloggers writing with authenticity. I believe that nobility is an inherent quality, yet is often diluted though a individual’s ambitions. As much as I love looking at the glamourous images of marketing oriented blogs for pure fashion eye candy inspiration, your posts are much more relatable and I respect that you are a blogger who is following her passion more than her paypacket.

    • Hi Sandra,
      Your words have been such a great encouragement to me. Unfortunately, only very few people would appreciate this kind of bloggers like me. I keep my faith but I can’t help feeling frustrated on and off. I’m still blogging my way tho. I wish it’s less hard to seek people’s support in 2013.

  5. Hello dear,
    I just clicked on every link on IFB and started to follow you.
    I’ve saved this post for the end, like a cherry on top because I somehow knew where it’ll be going.

    You said it well and I admire people with enough courage to express their attitude!
    First of all I also think that blogging is now more like some political or Stock Market race. I understand that there are mainly 2 types of bloggers- the ones who are trying to express themselves and their attitude (professional or not who cares!Many fashion journalists weren’t Journalists by vocation. They became fashion journalists by their own knowledge, sense & style )and their blogs are more personal and interesting. he other type are people who understood that the Blogging is new IT thing, a shortcut to fame, possibility to start their own business and they are having very serious investments in it along with the all teams of people behind them. They are only hungry for power in a fashion world, monopoly in a blogosphere, and collaboration. Hell yes, we all would love to sit in a front rows but on what price?! It’s all so confusing to me because I don’t want to compete with really rich Kim Kardashian lookalike spoil girls thinking of themselves as new IT future stylists who can only cry a few tears on her daddy/sponsor shoulder and they have it all! The point is that all blogging thing became huge and I’m affraid it’ll end up like supermodels from the 90’s- it’ll disappear. I also think that it’s only a matter of time when all the magazines will be mostly in digital form. So we can only raise our voices, do what we know best and stay authentic. and the complex of God as nowdays “star bloggers” have will fade as the next fresh blood (some new Bryan Boy)arrives…


    Ok, I’m a liar blog

    • Hi Aska Wolf,
      I just can’t help but keep reading your comment again and again. Your statement was sound and compelling. I like the way you compared blogging with political and stock market races. Some pointless competitions among bloggers do exist but I’m not interested in being part of them. All the way I’ve been staying true to my faith. I’m not a star and I don’t want to be one. I’m happy being a normal person who has passion for fashion and loves to share my taste with the rest of the world. You’re right, blogging is bound to disappear someday just like any other trends (after all, nothing is eternal). Bloggers come and go but I reckon only those who stay unique and genuine will have the final triumph. Let’s see if I predict it right 😛

  6. I have to say that this post is absolutely brilliant. Your honesty and interpretation of blogging and its rise to success is spot on. It does seem like every body has a blog these days. I mean there are even cats and dogs that have blogs! Who knew the world would get so crazy. Even though there is somewhat of an over saturation, I love that any individual has the right and opportunity to blog whether it be for financial gain, with stars in their eyes, or just to connect and share with like minded people. The last is by far my utmost inspiration to keep blogging. I think blogging is such a learning curve about who we are and what we want. Origianlly it is easy to get sucked into the thought of success but I much prefer the bloggers who are authentic. I’m the same as most (I think). Some of the bigger blogs are nice for the pictures etc but they are so far from my reality I find it difficult to connect with them. The little guys and those that express their true lifestyles and passions are the most inspiring. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was brilliant to read

    xx Mandi

    • Hi Mandi,
      Thanks very much for your well thought out comment. I couldn’t help but burst into laughter when I came across that “even cats and dogs that have blogs!” lolXDDD ^_^ I call myself an independent blogger, which means my blog doesn’t serve the interests of any brands and PR agencies, which enables me to write things that others don’t dare. I stay focused and don’t care what others think of me. Many bloggers may not be happy about what I said but let me thank you, someone on the same wavelength as me for your kind support who deserves my thanks xo

  7. Such a nice, insightful post! I don’t agree with you on every point, because I understand why the whole blogosphere is changing and I think bloggers need to catch up, but I loved reading it.

    xoxo, Sam

    • Hi Sam,
      Thanks for being honest to me 😛 My purpose of writing this is to stimulate thinking so it’s really not necessary to agree with me. In fact I’d love to listen to some opposite comments. You’re right, things change and there’s nothing wrong for bloggers to adapt to it. However, as a blogger in the over-saturated blogosphere, I can’t let myself follow the norm blindly or I’ll be bound to “disappear.” You see what I mean?

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