As I say goodbye to my first year of blogging on Style Bubble, I say hello to a another. As I was getting ready to go home for Christmas, I caught an email from a reader who had sent me a link to a curiously named page. Wait for it and yes I nearly did snort the coffee I was drinking at the time out of my nostrils: - 'The Susie Bubble Appreciation Thread (and other Style Diary fashionistas)', a forum thread of about seven pages on Vogue Australia Forums. Actually, if you read through it, it's really more of a discussion/criticism of my style and other Style Diary members. It isn't that the criticism itself bothered me that much (I did post a reply on the thread but only in defence of some not so nice comments about the blog!) but I was just completely weirded out that the thread existed in the first place and that these people were typing stuff about my style in a similar fashion to how we talk about celeb style; 'Her style is so overrated.' 'She looks like she tries too hard.' - all things I say about celebs.
It seems like Andy Warhol's premonition of everyone becoming famous for 15 minutes is fast becoming true (though IQONS takes this quote and gets something positive from it by featuring people worthy of 15 minutes of fame on their page - check out their roster of people, myself included!). Mainstream press have dubbed 2006 the year that MySpace and YouTube exploded and how this has impinged on the fashion world is quite clear. People all over the world now have the means to be inspired by anyone - the normal folks. The past three years have thrown up My Style Diary, Flickr groups like Wardrobe Remix (set up by the lovely Tricia), fashionable MySpace profiles that have gained cult followings, What Are You Wearing Today? threads on all sorts of fashion forums (I'm quite attached to the one at TFS), a burgeoning number of streetstyle blogs that are religiously checked out by a plethora of people (Carine Roitfeld is a fan of The Satorialist!) and of course an ever increasing number of fashion blogs like the one you are reading now.
Where we have previously stared at people with admirable style on the streets and made mental fashion inspiration notes to oneself or have thought 'What the crap is she/he wearing?' when faced with a not so admirably attired person, if that he or she is somewhere out there on the net be it a via a Style Diary or a party photo site like DDD or the Cobrasnake, that person in effect becomes public domain. Let's rewind. I am just a normal Miss Nobody. I have a 9-5 job that can suck at times and I go to work by cramming myself onto the tube. I wash my toilets on Sundays. I don't think of myself as one of those who strangers would bother discussing about. But there it is. I write this blog, I have a Style Diary and ergo, somewhat in the online public eye.
To illustrate with a super prime example, I'm sure most of you are by now familiar with Cory Kennedy a girl that has thrown up questions about what constitutes fame but also, whether it matters or not since her style has gained her enough of a following that it doesn't really matter what she does. Strangely, a few of you have requested I state my opinion of her so I'll take this opportunity to do so. To be honest, it's not really much of a strong opinion. I have read her blog and seen her pictures and from that I gather that she gets up to all sorts of indie/hipster shenanigans, has quite a few connections in the LA 'scene', quite good taste in music and a way of wearing vintage designer labels with a cool recklessness. I do admire the attitude of her style but not so much her style itself. It is somewhat of a phenomenon how she has gained such a large fanbase online and therefore people who are thus influenced by her. I don't mean to compare myself to Miss Kennedy as she IS and there is no getting away from it, a bona fide style icon (I don't tend to use that word often but for better or for worse, she is one) but I do wonder whether she gets similarly weirded out by the way people on the net discuss her. Does she think the same thing as I do which is 'But...but...I'm a NOBODY!' (or maybe she does think she is a SOMEBODY.....hmmm...?)
This isn't some sort of uber self-conscious analysis but merely observations extended from a curious link. I do have to question this democratisation of style. On one hand, it's a huge YAY from me, power to the people, style is everywhere and all of that jazz. I would be the first to say my inspiration comes from streetstyle, the stuff that real people are wearing - exactly what the Chanel quote in the Style Bubble banner says. On the other hand, as a result, it seems everything is deemed public property. The trouble is where do you draw the line. You could argue that by having a blog/style diary/photolog, you're exposing yourself on the net and if that invites critics, you have no right to complain? But you could also argue, those said tools are ways of communicating with friends, cataloguing outfits, not a means of self-publicisation. I'm certainly not comfortable with people saying things about what I wear online, positive or not. This is not the same as commenting on the blog, or people commenting on outfits in forums I personally participate in. I'm talking about the wider, bigger, unknown, the stuff I never knew existed.
If 2006 has taught me anything, it's acceptance and as trite as that sounds, there is a difference between nasty jibing and saying one's style is not your cup of tea. So in 2007, I vow to be a bit of a goody two shoes with less of the poking fun of style with regards to people I don't know.
Which leaves a final pondering. After all my talk about the democratisation of global style, what does 2007 hold in store for us? More models from MySpace being featured in magazines like in the current issue of Dazed & Confused?
Style Diary fashionistas becoming real life stylists? (probably has happened already...)
Well, what's left to say except 'Bring on 2007!'