Privilege, Representation and Negativity in Fashion Blogging

by - Monday, September 19, 2016

Gather round internet fans, for we are about to delve into the murky world of privilege in the creative industry. From music to painting, book writing to academia, a background of high breeding has always been a distinct advantage in terms of getting someone started in their chosen career. Unsuprisingly, the world of blogging has it's fair share of 'trust fund' creatives and recently, this is something that I've noticed a lot of people getting very aggro about on Twitter. Just like how we used to throw shade at the hardworking kids at school ('it's alright for you, you always get an A*' - yeah mate, and I bloody worked for it), it seems like a lot of people are forgetting that yes, privilege can open doors, but it certainly doesn't climb the staircase by itself.

It winds me up no end when I see smaller bloggers or general folk throwing shade or making memes about larger creatives or social influencers, especially when in their next tweet they're bemoaning negativity in the industry. Whether somebody's content is your cup of tea or not, it's not fair to be bitter about someone who spotted an opportunity and made it work for them through relentless plugging, writing, filming...we all share the same passion! Like anything creative, you get what you put in, and saying mean things about someone else doesn't make you work any harder, as the wise Mean Girls adage goes:


There's no denying that lots of that early intake of bloggers got a hefty headstart by some cash injection from the bank of mum and dad. After all, those hauls that we as viewers demand require some fairly high disposable income, filming equipment constantly needs updating to stay on top of the game and if you're really intent on making it early doors, slogging away in an office job probably doesn't give you the time you need to focus on growing what is essentially a personal business. We do however need to understand that being the first to do something is normally going to equate to popularity - whether it's the first band to coin a certain sound, the first fashion designer to try a certain design or yes, the first bunch of creatives to start monetising their blogs. Nothing is truly original these days and while that doesn't have to hold you back, it does mean that those newer on the scene have to work that little bit harder to stand out. That my friends, is unfortunately the way of the world.

While the option of quitting the day job isn't feasible for some, it doesn't seem quite right to get snarky at those who are that lucky. As a bedroom blogger myself, I totally understand the frustrations of trying to make ends meet careerwise while also putting out regular content that I'm proud of. I understand the frustrations of going on youtube and seeing a lack of diversity in the popular posts. But I also respect how much work it takes to make that jump to being a fulltimer and that people can't be expected to apologise for who they are as long as they are respectful of others in turn.

Lack of privilege can be a ceiling, but having privilege doesn't give you all the answers either. We should always push for diversity and representation but that doesn't mean that we should expect people to apologise for their success or for who they were born. No matter how much money you have to chuck at it, it still takes time, effort and talent to maintain a popular channel or blog, especially in this over-saturated market. The beauty of blogging is that it isn't like a grammar school entry exam - you can be whoever you want to be at whatever standard and you still get that same platform, the same opportunity to succeed. It may take longer than you feel you 'deserve', but the opportunity is there.


The key is to own who you are while also being respectful of others - Hannah Louise Farringdon is one of my all-time favourite bloggers because she does this beautifully, writing about the issues in the industry ranging from people of colour to size while all being aware and respectful of her perspective and position in the argument, never speaking over people and in some cases, inviting extra voices onto her blog in order to do a topic justice. It's an incredibly difficult thing to get right and I salute her for it.

What this all boils down to is thus - you can sit around moaning that you missed the boat, or you can build your own raft and paddle the shit out of it until you get to where you want to be. Don't be jealous of somebody else's ocean cruiser - it comes with a lot of passengers, a lot more responsibility and requires a whole heap of maintenance that often takes the fun out of sunning yourself on the deck. Being jealous of that cruiseliner is just time that could be spent modifying and enjoying your own little badass boat.

There's so much more I could say but I think I've stretched this boat metaphor far enough. Let's instead finish this post with a list of bloggers I've been admiring recently for being positive while staying 'real', for holding down wonderful blogs at the same time as dayjobs without complaint, or for generally putting out content that feels like 'them' and enjoying successful growth in a sustainable manner. Creative women, all completely different, all at different stages in their blogging journey, all with something to offer. And there's space for all of them. Space for all of us. God bless the internet!

Hannah Louise Farringdon/ Hannah Louise F - For being aware of the wider issues in fashion and tackling them without ever seeming patronising or self-victimising. Read:Cultural Appropriation is Not Festival Fashion

Kristabel Plumer - For being a woman of colour in a predominantly white world, and for being honest about her successes. Read: Let's Talk About Fashion Blogging and Finances

Emma Gannon - For using her blog as a platform to achieve her goals of a bookdeal, something that definitely wasn't handed to her but was the product of making her own opportunities. Read: Life News: I Got A Book Deal!

Grace Victory - For keeping it real on YouTube, for being honest about mental illness and for playing a positive part in challenging conventional beauty standards. Watch: Anxiety

Victoria (In The Frow) - For being honest about her desires to move her blog into the luxury sector, and for putting out super-consistent content. Read: The Evolution Of Blogging

Louise/Sprinkle Of Glitter - For risking a hell of a lot audiencewise to change her cutesy channel into something more personal and representative of where she is at in life now - boss behaviour at work. Watch: Finishing With Sprinkle Of Glitter

Sophie at Pretty Passions, Fine Fashions - For approaching fashion blogging in a really refreshing way that makes it clear she is in it for passion alone. Read: Why Vintage Fashion Is Better Than Fast Fashion

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