Fashion blogs are a mainstay in today’s digital world. Just about anyone capable of deciphering a website template can launch one. However, what originally began as a platform for expressing street-style is now just another avenue for brands to advertise to a fashion-hungry demographic.
Today, blogging is considered its own industry and top fashion bloggers are earning six figures per year through partnerships with brands. In fact, some big label collaborations can draw in $50,000 each, WWD reported.
Surprised? As an aspiring fashion blogger, I’m shocked by the amount of money brands are investing into these websites. On top of that, I’m growing ever more skeptical of the fashion blogger’s integrity.
For example, a blogger may post an entry about a pair shoes they are “crazy about.” How does a reader know if this is a genuine opinion or merely an item the blogger was paid to photograph and write about?
I know what you might be thinking. Fashion is an industry driven by advertising, a point I won’t argue with. However, don’t readers have the right to know if a post by their favorite fashion blogger is editorial content versus a promotion for a label?
Karen Robinovitz, the founder of Digital Brand Architects, an agency representing fashion bloggers, told The New York Times, “We all know that there are celebrity endorsement deals. On some level this is a piece of the same thing.”
The problem with these endorsements is not that a brand is paying a blogger for exposure, but the lack of transparency about these partnerships with readers. Blog followers think they’re browsing through street-style, when in reality it’s a brand-dictated “fashion shoot” starring a blogger as the model.
Daniel Saynt, a partner in an agency that negotiates collaborations, told the New York Times that “Few people realize that certain bloggers and seemingly random posers are modeling for a fee.”
Bloggers are a new, and apparently successful, way of doing public relations for many fashion houses.
So, why are bloggers so secretive about these deals and affiliations with brands? It could be out of fear of losing credibility with their loyal followers. If you found out that every posting you read only existed because a brand paid for it, would that change your opinion of that blogger or their advice?
It would certainly change mine.
Nicole Soyka can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.