You need only take a glance at the front row of any high end fashion show in New York, Paris, or Milan to realize that when it comes to trend-setting, it’s fashion bloggers, not magazine editors, who have the final say. For the past few years, up-and-coming bloggers – now labeled as “influencers” – have been wrestling the power away from the Vogues of the world in order to bring their own unique style takes to the under-served masses.
These social entrepreneurs are posting, tweeting, snapchatting, and tumblr-ing their way to big bucks – most get paid by high end brands and advertisers to mention specific lines – and dedicated followings. Blogger Aimee Song reportedly bagged a $500,000 dollar Laura Mercier campaign last year and plenty of her fellow influencers, like Kristina Bazan and The Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni, have scored six-figure deals too.
According to Fohr Card co-founder James Nord, whose company helps connects brands and influencers, bloggers were relatively ignored by the fashion industry until a few years ago.
“They were seen as wannabes, fashion outsiders who wouldn’t and couldn’t make it inside,” Fohr tells Uproxx. “When bloggers started working with top brands and sitting front row, indifference turned to spite and the magazines started lashing out, trying to discredit bloggers, and called it a dying fad. Now, I think magazines are trying to capitalize on the rise in influencer popularity.”
The reasons are simple. With millions of eyes and trusted, authentic voices, the right fashion blogger, one with a distinct point of view, can sell better than any magazine ad or fashion spread.
“You’re not reading an article that has gone through rounds of edits and approvals – you’re following everything they do from the minute they wake up in the morning – what they eat, what they wear and where they go,” Nord says. “There is a relationship there, even if it’s one way and that relationship comes with trust.”
Bloggers also have the ability to affect real change in the industry. From introducing plus-size lines at large retailers to giving a voice to minority communities, influencers are wielding their social power for good these days. Here’s a roundup of bloggers who are using their followings to put the fashion industry on notice.
Chastity Garner / GarnerStyle
Chastity Garner’s blog, GarnerStyle, made the second largest retailer in the country stand up and take notice when she wrote a post a few years ago that ended with a boycott Target hashtag. The fashion blogger was fed up with not being able to find trendy, affordable fashion for her curvy figure at the store and urged her followers to join with her in rebellion. Target got the message, enlisting Garner and a pair of her fellow plus-size fashion bloggers to work on a line that would cater to fuller physiques.
Now, Garner has helped establish CURVYcon, a two day conference that brings plus size brands, bloggers, and Youtubers together to brainstorm ways the industry as a whole can be more inclusive. Oh, and she also has time to write about jumpsuits and button down boob gaps on her blog.