20 August 2008Features
You live for your Prada pea coat, foam at the mouth at the sight of a Birkin bag, and practically keep a spare mattress in the shoe department at Saks. Fashion is your obsession, your hobby and your life. So why shouldnít you have your own fashion blog? Heck, one day you could even get paid to write about the things you love to obsess over. Here are a few tips on how to get on the road to being a star fashion blogger.
- Set Up Your Blog : Obviously, one of the first things you will want to do is actually set up your blog, even if youíre not actively populating it with content yet. But when youíre bursting with inspiration and ready to write, you wonít want to wait. Use an easy template-driven host, like Blogger or WordPress. You are going to want your blog to represent your style and communicate that you are a savvy fashionista. So, make sure you use trendy colors, well-selected photos, and a smart design. While you can certainly find pre-designed templates and wallpapers on the internet or through your blog host site, you may even want to enlist the help of a graphic designer to help create an individual look that will set you apart from the others. As a fashionable person, you know firsthand that first impressions count.
- Join IFB: The Independent Fashion Bloggers organization is like a trade association for trendy-minded people like yourself. Ever hear the expression ìstronger in numbersî? Well, the IFB aims to be a resource and forum for non-corporate fashion bloggers trying to navigate the ins and outs of fashion blogging. The site was started by a blogger who began writing about fashion for fun, but found the process of going professional overwhelming and confusing. If you want your blog to turn a profit some day, IFB is a source youíll want to have in your proverbial notebook.
- Practice!: But before you try to make your new blog your bread and butter, get some practice writing for other blogs for money. It may sound sleazy at first, but getting compensated experience for blogging will help you better negotiate your own blog business down the road. You may not be able to find solely fashion gigs, but put yourself out there ñ apply for jobs that you feel are within your capabilities, learn from the experience and polish your writing chops in the process.
- Check Out the Competition : To truly make your blog stand out from the rest, youíre going to need to know whatís out there. Invest some time reading other fashion blogs, see whatís been done already and also whatís lacking in the world of fashion blogging. By spying on the competition, youíll discover how to make your blog unique and you might also generate some content ideas. For example, if youíre thinking about incorporating critique into your blog posts, then reading up on what people are praising and poo-pooing in the fashion world can give you a little ammunition for a strong editorial voice.
- Read Up: Aside from other fashion blogs, you will want to be very knowledgeable, if not expert, at what the major fashion magazines are covering and saying about the latest collections. While the fashion journalism industry is certainly changing rapidly and all print publications are creating stronger online presences, Vogue editor still trumps budding fashion blogger for seating assignments at New York Fashion Week. Maybe that will change one day. Maybe youíll be the person to do it. But for now staying on top of the mags is pretty important. If you can afford subscriptions, great; if not, spending an afternoon flipping through the pages of Glamour at your local library should do the trick. Oh, and donít forget the tabloids ñ since celebrities are the new supermodels youíll want to know whoís wearing who in Tinsel town.
- Keep Up with Designers : Another form of research youíll need to do is check in on the websites of major, and budding, designers. This is where youíll be able to investigate all pieces of present and past collections, as well as stay abreast of any news designers are putting forth in the world about runway shows, television appearances, and new collections. Staying on top of budding designers is just as important as staying on top of entrenched designers. Just because Versace is Versace doesnít mean they canít put out a horrible product from season to season. Noting when up-and-comers are outshining the old guard will be important when developing your content. Plus, viewing the websites of top designers is a great way to get inspiration for the design of your own website.
- Take a Class: If youíre an expert on fashion, but maybe donít have a ton of writing experience to speak of, taking a writing course can be a great way to get your feet wet and get some good advice on how to write well. Whether or not itís a blog writing course specifically doesnít really matter. Practice writing in any form and it will be helpful to you in the future. It will not only help you expand your vocabulary, but it will improve your sense of cadence. It could help your social life, as well as your blog business. Youíll get counseling from veteran professors and meet fellow budding writers, too.
- Go to Fashion Week : If you can swing it, actually attending some runway shows at Fashion Week in New York or going to other less-frenzied fashion shows will help you get some experience reporting on fashion from the trenches, allow you to make some great contacts, and give you a lot of credibility with your readers. Letís face it ñ not everyone can make it to Fashion Week and most of those who can go donít have a platform to write about it. Making the effort to attend trade events will show that you are serious about your craft and set you apart from your competition.
- Get Published : Another way to boost your profile is to get yourself published in print publications or on other fashion websites. Being able to bill yourself as a published, freelance fashion writer will help you attract readers and help you boost the circulation and number of hits on your blog. Certainly, getting published in the media isnít the most important thing you can do for your blog, but it canít hurt. And if your ultimate goal is to become a professional fashion writer, then it will help you further build a portfolio for future jobs.
- Go Shopping : Maybe the easiest thing you can do to help generate content and commentary for your blog is hit the mall! Whatís on the racks at Nordstroms? How do the knock-off fashions at retailers like Forever 21 stack up against the uber-popular and affordable garments at Banana Republic? Where can you get the cheapest replica of that Michael Kors bag? The first thing to remember about your readers is that most will likely not be in Paris Hiltonís tax bracket. To write about fashion well, you will need to include everyday, affordable designs in the conversation. Take your camera phone to document particularly exciting finds and add some graphics to your text.
- Test Your Theories: If youíre the kind of girl that likes to spend hours in front of the mirror throwing together random pieces of clothing and creating new styles, youíll need to know if what youíre creating looks good to others before announcing on your blog that youíre the next Rachel Zoe. While creating new looks is a great way to generate content and credibility for your blog, youíll want to test your theories before publication. So wear that orange jumper with the bright green stilettos out to the opening at the art gallery or to the trendy bar in town and see how people react. If you get a lot of compliments, youíll know youíve created a winner.
- Get Innovative : Donít worry about whether or not you have the most coveted closet or not. We canít all afford the latest and greatest items, but you can get creative with whatís within your budget. Perhaps that 10-year-old T-shirt could be put to better use than just lolling around in your throw-out bin? One thing to consider is possibly featuring a standing column on your blog where you write about ways the average girl can look like Mischa Barton by just using the stuff she already owns. Your readers will love you for dispensing advice they can really use.
- Consult an Expert : Aside from magazines and fashion blogs, believe it or not, stylists and designers alike have written books in which they have glorified their personal theories on how to be a style master. While staying on top of the trends is extremely important, gaining knowledge about the underlying principles that truly guide fashion will let you take things to a whole other level. Thereís a reason some style icons, like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, are considered timeless. The same ideas of beauty that they applied to their look in the 1950s and 1960s still ring true today.
- Get an ìItî Item : While you certainly donít need to have a closet full of Marc Jacobs, owning one ìitî item, like the coveted Birkin Bag or a pair of gladiator sandals, is really a must for a serious fashionista. Always having one ìitî item in your sights can also be a fun element for your blog ñ use a thermometer or some sort of visual measurement system on your blog to show your readers how close you are to reaching your savings goal for whatever item is next on your list. When you come home from the Prada boutique with your accessory in hand, your readers can rejoice with you. It also sends a message that there are some things that are lifelong and worth the extra effort and dollar to own. Not everything in a personís wardrobe should be considered disposable with the seasons.
- Be Seen: One of the most important things you can do for your blog, aside from populate it with excellent content, is market it. No one will read it if no one knows it exists. So get out there and network with your peers ñ be seen at important mixers, fashion shows, club openings, and other such happenings where fashion-forward people hang out. Boosting your contact list will help you spread the word about the work you are doing and get you well on your way to the blogging hall of fame!