Editors, bloggers and influencers: What’s the difference and how do they change fashion journalism?
Journalism has been given a recent shake-up
It was confusing enough when bloggers emerged on the fashion scene, creating debate around whether or not they could be defined as a journalist. However, there’s a newer phrase on the block: influencers. Exactly, what are they? And how do they alter the position of fashion journalists even more? Firstly, let’s get some clarity on definitions…
Responsible for providing fashion content for a particular magazine or publication, editors may style shoots and organise content, to then write features or news concerning fashion.
Think Devil Wears Prada and Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, although, interpret the levels of truth in those films as you wish. Once strictly holding front row seats at all of the top fashion shows, editors are now sharing their seat status with popular bloggers and recently, even more popular influencers.
Bloggers are known mainly for their website or blog which can be based on endless themes. Camille Charriere’s blog Over the Rainbow mixes emerging and luxury fashion, We Are Twinset pair Sarah Ellis and Philippa Bloom run a dual blog showcasing matching fashion, whilst Advanced Style focuses on fashion from savvy seniors.
Usually documenting fashion through creative writing and inspirational imagery, it’s needless to say that bloggers shook things up for the industry, providing a fresh way to advertise fashion.
As from November 2017, 409 million people view more than 23.6 billion pages of blogs each month, on WordPress alone. However, it can be said that the future of bloggers is less stable, and even more so for journalists, as the rise of Instagram combined with the newest-born buzzword ‘influencer,’ has perhaps provided a more revolutionary way that individuals can advertise fashion.
Fresh on the scene, we have influencers; paid to turn up to events, fashion shows and promote products. As well as charging anything between £2000 to £5000 for a sponsored Instagram post (however those with millions of followers can demand much more) they’re generously paid to wear clothes by brands too.
With influencers posting as many as eight images per day, you can imagine how their income tots up. You’ll usually spot these posts with hashtags such as ‘#ad’. Although many influencers are ex or current bloggers, a lot of influencers don’t have a platform outside of their social media ones. Essentially, influencers are social-media stars establishing their own brand, whose success is based on the amount of followers and engagement they have.
“Your number of followers is more important than anything else you can add to your CV. It has become your worth.” — Camille Charriere
So what does this mean for journalism?
Let’s talk facts: at the top of the influencer game we have Chiara Ferragni ranked number one on Forbes’ Top Influencers of 2017 list. Founder of blog The Blonde Salad, the 30-year-old Milanese born has moved beyond the blogosphere to launch a clothing brand and secure major sponsorship contracts.
In 2015, a report from Harvard discovered the influencer’s revenue for the year projected a whopping $9 million.
In terms of following, Chiara Ferragni’s 11 million Instagram followers certainly trumps that of British Vogues 2.3 million, ELLE UK’s 802k and Harper’s Bazaar UK’s 388k.
It’s no surprise then that currently, 73 percent of luxury fashion and beauty brands have an active influencer marketing campaign.
“The fashion industry is no longer governed by a magazine or newspaper” — Ella Alexander, Harpers Bazaar
Evident of the success influencers have with brands can be seen through H&M’s ‘Breakthrough Fashion Blogger of the Year’ Instagram campaign, featuring influencers Man Repeller, A Fashion Nerd, Street Style Teller, to name a few.
The brand teamed up with blogger superstar Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, in a campaign to search for the breakthrough blogger of the year. The campaign started as a social media competition, which then resulted in a huge amount of user-generated content all featuring their branding.
Through the campaign, H&M were able to reach these six influencers audiences of nearly 1.6 million on Instagram alone. Through these influencers, the branded content generated 19,033 likes and nearly 500 comments; whilst the branded media for the campaign generated more than 4 million impressions.
Realistically then, is it more important for brands to invest their money in reaching out to successful influencers, as opposed to a feature in Cosmo? The days are most definitely gone where people take their fashion and beauty tips solely from magazines.
Using the internets infinite space, influencers project an attractive, aspirational lifestyle that’s perhaps deemed more attainable than the ones fashion magazines can promote. Putting and promoting a lifestyle at the forefront of consumers, influencers are able to thrive.
As Instagram provides us with a perfect platform for consumption, without needing to head to the shops to buy a magazine to gain clothing inspiration, the future of the position of fashion journalists is to say the least, dubious.