Fashion Bloggers Cashing In

What started out as a hobby for self expression and personal enjoyment has now turned into a lucrative marketing platform.

Increasingly, fashion insiders are recognizing the influence of independent bloggers, and are making it worth their while to get in on the action.

[Full Disclosure: The Fashion Spot is working with the Independent Fashion Bloggers (a major coalition of fashion and personal style bloggers) to host a blogger's conference at NYFW. Our participation notwithstanding, it promises to be an amazing event featuring the top fashion bloggers and industry insiders. Check out more details and find out how to register here.]

From free product samples to fashion show invites and book deals, fashion bloggers are being gifted in return for flattering posts on their blogs.

Some recent instances of brands using blogger PR include Charlotte Russe’s Project Mannequin, where bloggers were flown out to competitively style a mannequin in head-to-toe store merchandise.

Bloggers then asked fans to visit Charlotte Ruse’ website to vote for their favourite styling. Coach took blogger collaboration a step further earlier this year when they selected a handful of bloggers to design handbags for a limited edition bag series.

But perhaps the most noteworthy and seemingly bizarre example of blogger recruitment was when Rodarte invited 13 year old fashion blogger, Tavi Gevinson, to sit front row for their show during NY fashion week last September. Since then, Gevinson has collaborated with Rodarte on their Target line.

With bloggers being given gear and career advancing opportunities, it should be no surprise that many young aspiring fashion outsiders are now turning to blogging for exactly that.

The Satorialist’s Scott Schuman stated in an interview for JCTV that “a high percentage of them are doing it because they want to create a profile. They want to sit in the front row. They want to be flown places, and you can tell the heart is not there.”

Websites such as Fashion Incubator and PR Couture have even spoken out about demanding bloggers who approach designers for samples and free goods with a high sense of entitlement. This sort of unprofessional behavior has lowered the integrity of blogger reviews, and caused the FTC to impose disclosure regulations with serious fines to ensure compliance.

Despite the seedier side of fashion blogging/designer collaboration, much remains positive about these partnerships.

The immediacy, personal intimacy and enthusiasm in which bloggers communicate directly to the very audience designers hope to reach makes it a worthy cause, if done cautiously.