I’m sure many of us have been there. We’ve put our best content up on our blogs. We’ve posted pictures of our (in our minds) unique and fun outfits, we’ve spent days on writing that perfect article, but no one is interested. We start to feel like the proverbial tree in the forest. If no one is around to hear us, do we even exist?
The world loves telling us that anything is possible these days. If you just believe, keep at it and work hard, you can achieve anything. Usually this anything is some sort of fame, and for bloggers, internet fame. A quick google search on getting traffic to your blog, tells us to like and comment on other peoples blogs and social media sites. While this is perfectly fine if you actually like what you’re commenting on, it has one unfortunate side effect. It has created an ugly culture of auto generated spam and comments like “Love this outfit!!, please check out my page.” on pictures of dogs. If we can only get people to see our page, then it’s front row at fashion week next. Right? The fashion blogging atmosphere has become over crowded and chaotic, tainted with a foul stench of desperation.
I am old enough to remember how it used to be before fashions blogs existed. The fashion industry was harder to get into than Fort Knox. You had to be either very well-connected or loaded to stand a chance. The industry was selling a dream. A dream that said, you will never be as good as us. Then in the early 2000’s with the rise of personal style blogs and other fashion communities, the common man and woman all across the world could now discuss and express their unique style to the public. Fashion was no longer something unattainable, reserved for the special few. Now it was about individuality and self-expression. It was about community. It was the death of the narrow standards of beauty that the glossy magazines had portrayed. The power no longer resided only with the cool crowd. Now everyone had a voice. Or so we thought. As we know from marketing theory, when something originally seen as exclusive becomes too common, too easy to attain, it looses it’s value. The allure is gone. Today it seems we’re back to the natural way of things. The dream has been restored. Sure, everyone can have a fashion blog, but the ones who make it are not so different from the glossy mags. Unattainable, unaffordable and with the same narrow standards of beauty. We can complain all we like that there are no “real” fashion bloggers anymore, how everyone is doing the same thing, wearing the same (sponsored) clothes, that there is no individuality, but it is us as consumers, who in the end support this model.
In the early days of fashion blogging it was about community. If we complimented somebody’s outfit it meant that we really liked it, no ulterior motives. Today the market has become over saturated. There are simply too many blogs and too little time. The authenticity seems gone, or at least hidden, and what is appearing is a society of self-obsessed bloggers only interested in the “glamour”. The easy lifestyle. The money for nothing and the bags for free. I’m not saying everyone is like this, there are still many nice and very talented bloggers with integrity out there, but it is unfortunately those who shout the loudest in every direction (usually with nothing to say) who are easiest to notice. I’ve seen some very strange behavior out there. When I first joined Instagram and only had about 30 followers, an online store followed me only to unfollow me a couple of days later. Guess who never shops at that particular store, ever. Not because it bothered me that they unfollowed (ok, maybe I was just a little butthurt), but because a business with a marketing strategy like that does not come across as serious and trustworthy. Unfortunately I’ve seen the same kind of behavior with fashion bloggers. I’m not kidding when I say that the same fashion blogger persona has followed (and unfollowed) me over 10 times in the past, and then there’s the “Hi, blah, blah, blah…let’s support each other f4f?” You thank them, agree and follow, they don’t follow back. Ok, now I’m really going to read your blog because you seem like such a nice person. This is what I call a pee in the pants to stay warm strategy. Whatever benefits it may bring at first, it will only hurt you in the long run. There is a real attitude problem in this business, probably because most of these people don’t know the real industry. Money for nothing and bags for free is an illusion. There is no glamour. The ones who make it have to work hard, they have to be patient and persistent. I know it is easy to get impatient when you have a goal and things are moving slowly, but things are moving slowly in the beginning for a reason. Think of it as a learning process. To make it we have to be humble, we have to be willing to learn, and we have to do the “boring stuff” also. We have to put our egos aside and never, ever think that there is nothing left to learn. The moment we think our work is “good enough”, is the moment we’ve stopped growing. Do not confuse this with the feeling of not being good enough. You are already good enough even if you sit on your ass all day and never do a thing. There is a difference between doing and being and we are not our work.
The truth is the business is not for everyone, and it has some serious shadow sides. There is absolutely no room for ego in an industry already so jam-packed with ego. If you haven’t got the passion and the patience, maybe the blogging business isn’t for you. It takes five years to get a masters degree and (at least) eight years to get a Ph.D. Why do you think you can create anything more than average in less time than that?
There is a saying that goes “You have the right to your labor, but not the fruits of your labor.” If you knew that there were no guarantees. That in ten years time, after working hard everyday, you still would have no audience. Would you still do it? If the answer is no, then it’s not for you. The real allure about fashion, what really makes it so valuable is the passion, love and dedication behind it. This passion and dedication is rare. If you have a genuine love of fashion but feel like quitting because of the lack of results, try to remember why you started in the first place. If it’s because you love it, you should continue. Do it for the love, for the amazing feeling of being creative and only for that. No expectations. Try connecting with other like minded people, in an authentic way. It takes more time and more effort, but it is a lot better that becoming known as “fakey-pants” to your potential future audience. When we act like egocentric “crazy-people” (we all do sometimes) we are only adding power to the rotten system that we’ve created.
“Real power and success can come only through mastering a process, which in turn depends on a foundation of discipline that we are constantly keeping sharp.” (Robert Greene & 50 Cent, the 50th Law)
If you have any thoughts on this or any personal experiences I would love to hear from you in the comments. Have a lovely Sunday.