I finally did the chore that bloggers hate which was to clean up my links list. It was admittedly ridiculously long and perhaps lacking in a vigilant editorial eye. In the ye olde days of blogging, you'd have a tight knit community of trading links and commenting that grew to be unsustainable when you felt pressurised to add a link because certain bloggers would badger you to death with "SEEMYBLOGSEEMYBLOGSEEMYBLOG!" comments. I don't mind the sentiment. Sure, everyone wants to get their blog out there and now it's harder than ever to do so. That said I'm a firm believer though in things naturally surfacing because they're good, which is how I found most of the blogs listed here.
Cleaning up the links list was an exercise which followed on from an interesting conversation on Twitter I had mainly with Rachel Deer, an avid fashion blog commentator, which had sprung up from a post I read on A Hit of Sarah's blog, expressing a dissatisfaction with the way the blogosphere has evolved in recent years, or rather how a hierarchy where personal style blogging with little appreciation for writing or substantial content has emerged. She's not the only one. After going through about a 400 links consisting mostly of dead blogs and spam/porn sites sitting on expired domains, I also came across a fair number of similar posts, declaring said blogger's decision to quit the game because they felt dejected, unappreciated and generally frustrated.
The Twitter convo I had with Rachel and other people, which I've pieced together at the bottom of this post, discussed the lack of diversity within the upper tiers of fashion blogging. As in, those that are raking it in and wielding influence over a massive readership and social media followers, are generally of the same ilk of blogging and that is the genre of personal style blogging. I think the conclusion was that we could appreciate this genre (and afterall, you could say I myself contribute to that category) but that diversity, niche-led content and a celebration of individuality needs to exist and not just exist, but flourish, gain traction and get those numbers up so that they too can reap rewards for taking the time and effort to create content that is more leftfield. You might say that the numbers speak for themselves and that if the reader were into it, then bloggers who do churn out more weighty content would have huge traffic numbers. To that I'd bring up the comparison to fashion magazines and say that the readership of say a Dazed & Confused is tiny compared to that of US Glamour - but both their audiences are highly valued by advertisers and the industry for different reasons. If it's a straightforward numbers game, then that's a depressing thought.
Therefore, I thought I'd take the opportunity to highlight ten of my favourite blogs at the moment, which are carving out their own niche and doing it sometimes annonymously, whilst appearing to enjoy the act of blogging for what it is - which is independent guerilla content creation - that thing that makes me mega chuffed to press the Publish button on every post. You keep on pressing that button not because of the potential financial rewards, freebies or perks but because you want to see something come to life on screen that you have created. You'd keep doing it even if only your mum was reading it (in my case, I don't even get the mum traffic).
The Cutting Class - My natural go-to answer for everything really. What's my favourite blog? The Cutting Class. What's the future of fashion blogging? The Cutting Class. To clarify, I mean when people ask me where I think fashion blogging should go, I say there needs to be more niche-led blogs that have a unique hook, which this blog does, as it takes the time to analyse pattern making, design detail and garment construction of collections. Ok, so I know the author in person (she keeps her identity annonymous on the blog) but I actually got hooked on it before I found out its true author. She's also just self-published a book entitled How Patterns Work, which I've not yet seen but am confident if it's a fraction of how fascinating The Cutting Class is, should be a great resource and read for any fashion enthusiast.
Lynn & Horst - How can I learn how to write as succinctly as Lynn & Horst fo on its realm of aethsetic exploration? The imagery alone would be worthy enough as an inspiring Tumblr-esque blog but Lynn & Horst take the time to add credits and accompany posts with a thought provoking paragraph to really bring those images to life be it J.W. Anderson's collections or artwork by Ken Price.
Pictures & Paper - Vicky Kear has beaten me to the punch with Pictures & Paper. I've always wanted to keep up a regular section on Style Bubble to review magazines, zines and interesting fashion publications but ... err... content continuity and regularity is just not my thing and so I'll leave it to Kear to post photos and accompanying honest reviews on the latest interesting independent rag mags.
The Window Shopper - A lot of the blogs that I've listed here celebrate the written word but it's also brilliant to find a niche within image only blogs that hasn't yet been served. Vicky documents interesting window displays and visual merchandising on The Window Shopper which along with set design, art direction and show production is a field in fashion that is fast emerging from behind the scenes and becoming a part of our lexicon of understanding fashion as a complete creative entity.
The Guilty Hyena - Sometimes the "CHECKMYBLOGOUTCHECKMYBLOGOUT" comments do throw up some good gems. Actually that's doing The Guilty Hyena a disservice. She's actually a regular and witty commenter on the blog so it's no surprise that her blog is a good 'un. Beautifully designed, visually stimulating and with taste that is right up my straße, it's definitely not a guilty pleasure to be checking her blog on a daily basis.
A Hit of Sarah - Ah the blog which started this links haul and niche blog appreciation. A Hit of Sarah is written by errr... Sarah, a journalist and publicist based in New York. It's the kind of content mix which I love - interviews with creatives and designers, discussion topics and exposure on new talent, all with hefty chunks of text. I read and rejoice at every 100 words hit in a post.
Origami Mon Ami - I love writing that expresses enthusiasm about fashion with visceral sentiment. Beginning a post with "If I could just stop licking the screen for a moment..." is always good in my book. Lena Loginova in Brussels writes about young designers and visually amazing things with that kind of wit, which sucks you in. Her pictures also do generally make me want to lick the screen.
Of Stranger Sensibilities - Joy of Of Stranger Sensibilities has the sort of taste and style that pink-loving, tulle-hugging, frill-humping me won't ever be able to fully enjoy. That doesn't stop me from reading her musings on sartorial goodness, culture and clothing with provenance.
Youth Savage - I found her blog through a comment on The Business of Fashion and hurrah-ed for a blog that again, does that mixy thing of combining outfits, collection reviews/features as well as general commentary. I loved her recent post on Honest By, the entirely transparent label by Bruno Pieters. Youth Savage, as the name suggests, has a definite opinion on the state of fashion and isn't afraid to express it at any given instance.
Part Nouveau - Highlighting the cyclical nature of fashion, this blog written and conceived by Lilah Ramzi, who is a graduate of fashion history, is fast becoming an industry favourite and for good reason. It picks up on nuanced similarities between the past and present, sometimes with a short time gap that suggests fashion's tendency to repeat itself, perhaps needs to be checked.
Oh and if you still don't have enough reading matter here's that long-ass Twitter convo...