I used to be a “fashion blogger”. I used to beg my boyfriend to take me downtown to look for cool walls to shoot “outfit of the day” photos in front of. And I admit- these outfits were usually inspired by other fashion bloggers and completely lacking in originality… not only that but they were outfits I wouldn’t be wearing for more than the twenty minutes we’d spend getting the perfect shot. I’m not telling you this in order to “pull the curtain away” and expose the truth of fashion blogging (because let’s be honest- most of you already knew this); I’m telling you this because it never dawned on me that what I was doing might be wrong. That was until I saw this photo…
There she was- Miroslava Duma (center) posing smugly between two other fashionistas at New York Fashion week. I had written an article about this queen of style just a year and a half earlier- praising her talents and calling her amazing. At Duma’s feet sits a homeless man- his clothing torn and stained- his arms bruised and battered. It’s a shocking image epitomizing the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing. It’s heartbreaking- and suddenly the narcissism and unethical realities of fashion blogging are too glaringly obvious to ignore.
When I started my blog it was out of a desire to express my love of fashion and creativity. It had nothing to do with a desire to showcase my closet or an endless hoard of “ootd” selfies. In fact the first 100+ posts on my blog didn’t show any photos of myself. It wasn’t until I started getting deeper into the fashion blogging world that I discovered all that was expected in order to be “successful”. To be honest, anyone can be a fashion blogger; there’s a very simple algorithm. Choose an all white background and bold black text, insert basic cutesie blog name ex. “Cashmere & Lattes”, purchase Forever 21 / H&M knock-offs of whatever Aimee Song is wearing, and finally find someone to take professional looking photos of you (*one of these photos should include you sipping a latte and/or looking longingly down at the ground for an unknown reason). Do all of this correctly and in a years time you’ll be almost famous (on Instagram anyway) and have an onslaught of brands offering you free stuff in return for social media praises. Sounds great? I actually think it sounds a little self-serving and dishonest.
Most of the time these brands want to control exactly what you say about their products. How much creativity is involved in taking freebies from big name brands and companies that want you to do their free advertising? Would you actually have purchased that item? Would you have actually worn it? All of the fashion blogging clones out there aren’t proving anything besides the fact that they can buy things and push a brand’s agenda; while simultaneously pushing impressionable girls to feel that they have to join the endless trend buying cycle (and go broke in the process).
In essence- fashion blogging is flawed; most systems are because they’re made up of people and people are flawed. But with all the people who are suffering in this world- how does one justify the glorification of parading around in outfits one can’t afford? I don’t want to condemn or discredit all of the hard working bloggers that are truly passionate about fashion. The ones who actually aim to inspire others on a deeper level than “buy this” and “like my selfie”. I simply hope that the authentic, unique, and truly stylish bloggers will work to reclaim their platform before it’s completely exhausted of its’ creativity… I hope that everyone will be more honest and insightful in their content… and most of all, I hope that Miroslava Duma handed that homeless man some money, and a coat shortly after that photo was snapped… I’d like to believe she did.