Fashion blogger. It still feels strange when someone describes me as a fashion blogger, but I guess I am one – my blog is going on three years old – albeit a self-proclaimed amateur one.
The landscape of fashion bloggers in the industry has changed tremendously over the last few years – they have risen in prominence, even making lucrative careers from their blogs into a multi-hyphenate (model/blogger/DJ/author/TV host) one. The biggest bloggers sit front row at shows, get free stuff thrown at them and are loaned beautiful clothes. All in all, it seems like a glamorous life.
That idea may be why today, many aspire to be bloggers for the free gifts and perks, whereas many bloggers who started out in the beginning did so simply for a love for fashion.
I started my blog in 2010 as a personal blog to write about my own thoughts on fashion, writing to what felt like myself most of the time.
My first fashion event was a Halloween Party hosted by Designare Magazine (where I met another aspiring blogger who started his blog around the same time and has since turned it into a popular high fashion/high society blog) and somehow invitations to other events just started to flow in.
Over the last three years as a fashion blogger, I’ve been able to attend some great parties, experience fashion shows, meet and have conversations with amazing and inspiring people, from Yvan Rodic of Facehunter to Patricia Field of Sex and the City.
It has allowed me to have invaluable experiences, grow, and learn skills I probably wouldn’t otherwise have. I was (and still am) as my junior school teachers would tell you, “shy and reserved”, the typical dreamer in his own world with his head in the clouds.
Back then, if you had asked me to approach someone and strike up a conversation, I would be petrified. Now, I may still do so with trepidation (depending on who it is), but it is no longer an impossible task. Being a blogger has allowed me to come out of my shell, develop my sense of self, and have more confidence.
However, I seem to have gone the Tavi Gevinson route – my interests have shifted organically from fashion to culture and society. I still love fashion and always will, but I just don’t check style.com or The Cut as ardently as before.
In part, this is due to realizing my interest in sociocultural and gender issues, but maybe also from having experienced a part of the [fashion] industry and its work, which revealed how insincere and shallow some people in the industry could be. It made me realize, perhaps, I was happier daydreaming about fashion than actually being in it.
Fashion bloggers are a small community in Singapore, so it’s pretty easy to get acquainted with who’s who quickly. I’ve met some genuine people that are now great friends, but at the same time, fashion, film and publishing (and arguably much of the working world) is like high school, with its cliques and social exclusion, which has made it hard to get to know everyone at times.
An interview that Tavi did with Adweek illustrates my thoughts on the industry somewhat where she says,
“I did have an experience at Fashion Week my freshman year of high school where I realized how that world can make you so caught up and anxious about how you come off that you can’t really see outside of yourself, and I was just like, this is bad. I would like to avoid this”.
It probably sounds clichéd because it sounds just like any other story of someone in fashion, but my love for fashion began with reading fashion magazines. I am a dreamer and an idealist through and through. But my life is far from ideal, and magazines were an escape, filled with beautiful things, people, places and parties. They were inspirational, and to a boy who dreamt of much more in life, they were so magical.
In a talk by Tavi (yes, I know I’ve mentioned her probably 10 times now, she is my spirit animal) at the Sydney Opera House where she talks about the value of fangirling, how it’s a reflection of you, how being a fangirl retains our fevour and passion, she puts that sentiment of mine into words, saying,
“I started a fashion blog when I was eleven, and went to fashion week for quite a few seasons, and it turned out that I was just happy looking at style.com in my room. It was so much more magical. Its not that I had bad experiences in fashion, but when I look back on that time in my life, I have so few memories of fashion week, like I really have to dig for them. And the stuff that stands out to me, the things that really shaped me, are like, sitting on my bed and reading magazines and feeling like I was getting a secret message from a different planet.”
Being a fashion blogger hasn’t set the path for my life down one door. Instead, it has made me rethink things and opened my mind to ten new ones, and in the spirit of Sylvia Plath, or for a pop-culture reference, Hannah Horvath’s “feel it all, experience everything” mantra, I don’t regret starting my blog, the boy whose “mom hates fashion”.
This was originally published on Inverted Edge.