Once the provenance of earnest fashion fans on the fringes of the industry, blogs have evolved into legitimate media sources and, more importantly, big moneymakers. Just look at today’s WWD story highlighting “hot fashion bloggers” like Bryan Boy and Susie Bubble. The feature goes on to detail how each notable blogger makes their money, how many monthly page views their sites get, and presents an important question: “Bloggers sitting front row have become commonplace—as have partnerships with leading brands and fashion houses that often blur the nature of what they do: Reportage and criticism or marketing and promotion?”
Whether it’s by partnering with brands, styling shoots, receiving payment (or free product) for writing posts or getting commission on the sale of items they post about, some bloggers are seriously cashing in on their influence. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making money. These bloggers work hard, are dedicated to their followers and add a unique voice to the fashion dialogue. “Bloggers produce original content; they have a unique talent [whether it be photographing, styling, writing] and it’s obvious,” says Karen Robinovitz, co-founder and chief creative office of Digital Brand Architects, an agency that reps “top tier bloggers.” “Why would you, for instance, hire any stylist when you can hire just as talented a stylist but one that also has 75,000 followers?”
But as blogs make the transition from personal style diaries to profit-turning businesses, some readers have begun to feel that original and unbiased content, once the keystone of what made blogs so relevant, has taken a hit.