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Tumblr's Fashion Week Bloggers Will Create Sponsored Content This Season

After years of sending bloggers to fashion week, Tumblr is adding advertising to its program.
Backstage beauties. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Backstage beauties. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Fashion and Tumblr have long had a close relationship: Not only is the blogging platform rife with style content, but it's also had a presence in the industry through events and partnerships. Most prominently, for the last eight seasons, Tumblr has selected and sent groups of photographers, illustrators and fashion bloggers to cover New York Fashion Week, providing them with work space at Milk Studios and access to shows. It's a great launch pad for young talent, says Tumblr's Fashion Evangelist Valentine Uhovski, and the opportunity can later lead to commissioned work for brands.

This February, Tumblr is pushing into more lucrative territory.

While, like before, it is inducting seven new creatives -- Joel Castillo, Remington Guest, Kat Irlin, Mario Kroes, Romain Laurent, Meagan Morrison and Ryan Plett --into its New York Fashion Week Class of Fall '15, another five artists will be creating content specifically for a Tresemmé campaign that lives on the haircare brand's Tumblr page. The sponsored portion is part of Tumblr's Creatrs Network initiative, an advertising program that the company piloted all of last year and officially launched in January.

Creatrs is a way to help bloggers get paid for their work, says Tumblr's Head of Creative Strategy David Hayes. It's also a money-maker for Tumblr: brands buy a media package from the site, and Tumblr pays the artists their personal rates. While Tumblr doesn't prevent the brand and the creator from talking, it acts as a middleman between the two to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

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According to Hayes, brands' feedback on the artists' work has been pretty minimal thus far — the average post will take about 1.5 rounds of back and forth between the advertiser and the creative. Relative to most campaigns, that's nothing. 

"We've had some situations where everyone could have done a better job helping the artist understand what the objectives were," he says of Creatr's pilot campaigns. "The beauty of being in pilot is that you can fix a lot of mistakes."

The Tresemmé campaign breaks down into two phases: pre-fashion week content from Cinemagraph-maker Sam Cannon, illustrator Nina Cosford and typography artist Lauren Hom to build buzz; followed by backstage and show photography from Cannon, William Yan and Masha Maltsava at Herve Leger, Diane von Furstenberg and BCBG — all of which are sponsored by Tresemmé for hair. For Tumblr's team, that means making sure bloggers know where to show up and getting paperwork signed when the photographers shoot street style photos outside the shows. 

Hayes says it's hard to predict now what kind of engagement the Tresemmé posts will get, but he notes that Tumblr content tends to gain traction over a long period of time. A third of a post's engagement usually happens 30 days after it goes up, and then another third comes in 60 days out. 

If all goes smoothly with this first fashion week ad campaign, we expect to see a lot more of them in the future.