DRESSED in a red top, fuchsia pleated skirt and fluffy boa worn on the shoulder, fashion blogger Beatrice Balaj poses for pictures in her front row seat at a New York catwalk show.
She is among a number of bloggers who use the internet and social media to cover the biannual womenswear events in New York, London, Milan and Paris, as well as everyday fashion, and whose power to set trends has grown to rival that of traditional glossy magazines.
“We basically show people our lives on-camera and off-camera, and people are interested in that and want to know more,” said Balaj, whose Instagram feed carries images from a number of fashion week shows. “We’re very influential because people fall in love with our personalities rather than what we do.”
Reaching consumers via the web or social media platforms, Balaj and other bloggers post snaps of their outfits and images from the shows and may collaborate with brands that sometimes dress them. “(Bloggers) belong to a fashion system that ... has been literally reshaped,” said Tommaso Aquilano, creative director at Italian fashion brand Fay. “Influencers and bloggers at the end of the day are the mirror of what people are in everyday lives.”
But relations with the established fashion media can be frosty. Last year, fashion bible Vogue criticized bloggers in an online post about Milan Fashion Week, with one writer accusing them of “heralding the death of style” by changing into “head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour.”
The bloggers said that was hypocritical, as magazines borrow designer clothes for shoots and dedicate large spaces to brand advertising.