Poppy Dinsey: Fashion Shouldn’t Be Exclusive
While Poppy Dinsey has established herself as an important voice in the world of fashion, I’ve met up with her not to talk sports luxe, batwing jumpers and boyfriend jeans but to talk Poppy. After all, the woman behind What I Wore Today (WIWT) and now PoppyD is one of those trends that shows no signs of slowing down.
There is always that fear of meeting someone whose blog you have poured over and whose vlogs you have watched, that they may not be as they are in the virtual world. Not so in Poppy’s case, in fact, if you watch her vlogs or read her blogs you are actually getting to know the real Poppy just as well as if you were sitting opposite her.
It’s not about wearing what’s on trend but what makes you confident and happy.
Poppy tells me, “I personally don’t like blogs that are very fake. Especially when those blogs have an influence over people. If you’re honest about what you’re doing, be it working with a brand or otherwise, then you earn people’s trust.”
It’s impossible to deny that she has earned the trust of her loyal readers and followers. She’s always upfront about working with brands, refuses to endorse anything unless she genuinely approves of it and, more than anything, wants to maintain the trust she has worked hard to earn.
Poppy created her first blog when she was only 11. It was creatvie writing, something she hopes to return to when she has the time. But, thanks to her fascination with all things tech and a degree in Economics from the prestigious University College London, Poppy soon found herself working for tech startup companies, where more often than not she was the only woman in the office. All this experience has helped Poppy create a hugely successful online business even if she had no one in the office to admire what she was wearing each day.
But Poppy is someone who loves to express herself and how she dresses is a big part of that. “It’s not about wearing what’s on trend but what makes you confident and happy. When it first started, and even now that’s what WIWT is all about. It’s about feeling great because you feel like you look great.” And of course Poppy had no one to share this with, us guys after all tend to be fairly ambivalent to women’s fashion. So, long before Instagram was a thing, Poppy set up What I Wore Today, in order to share her outfits with other women to hear their thoughts on them.
Crucially though, Poppy does not consider herself passionate about fashion. “I’m into it in a fun, we have to get dressed so might as well have fun with it, way. It was a great way to connect with people. It was a great way to express myself.” WIWT has certainly achieved exactly that. Having recently had a huge overhaul and relaunch WIWT shows no signs of going anywhere. To date 4.2 million photos have used the WIWT hashtag on Instagram.
The stereotypes are true, it is something that a lot of people feel intensely intimidated by.
WIWT and her blog posts has allowed fashion to be something everyone can engage with. “I’ve tried to carve myself out as someone who does know what they’re talking about but while taking the p*ss a little bit, I want everyone to relate to it. I don’t feel fashion should be an exclusive thing — it should be fun and for everyone. I hate the judgemental side of it. The stereotypes are true, it is something that a lot of people feel intensely intimidated by.”
The best analogy Poppy gives is that she wants to do for fashion what things like Horrible Histories and Freakonomics have done for history and economics; make them easy to understand and fun to follow without dumbing down the subject. As she says, “That’s what I want to do with everything, so everyone feels they can get involved and have a go”.
Poppy makes fashion affordable and accessible to all. It’s not about ‘who are you wearing?’, it’s not about the brand, it’s about finding something you love. To get to this point Poppy has had to dispel any notions of vanity. She’s more than content to take unflattering photos of herself in shop changing rooms to show you exactly why certain clothes and designs might not work. Poppy is taking the pain out of shopping by doing the hard work for you.
Women couldn’t be doing more at the moment to empower each other online.
These days, access to fashion is instantaneous, it’s something Poppy sees as a hugely beneficial thing to all. “It’s a privileged and empowering position to be in. It’s easy to forget sometimes that being in London and in the thick of it all, we don’t need it as much as the stay-at-home mum in the middle of the country. They want someone who is interested in what they’re interested in.”
And therein lies the power of Poppy: by bringing honest insights on fashion to all her followers she’s empowering them. And in doing so, inspiring others. After the recent relaunch of WIWT, Poppy did a post on how hard it had been to get the site to a place where she was happy with it. Many bloggers avoid telling people about the hard graft because there is an assumption they don’t want to hear about it.
At the end of the post, one comment stood out in particular: “a mum said that she’d want her daughters to look up to people like me who are working really hard to make something, rather than pretending these things have fallen in your lap. The people who aren’t disclosing that side of it are still working just as hard but they want to make it look easy, which doesn’t do anyone any favours. It’s like mums who won’t talk about how hard it is to be a mum. It means others sit there asking, ‘am I the only one thinking this is the hardest thing in the entire world?’. If you don’t talk about it you feel you’re the only one who can’t cope with it.”
It’s something Poppy has always loved about the internet, that it allows people to celebrate success, rather than be jealous of it. “There is still a long way to go but women couldn’t be doing more at the moment to empower each other online. It’s awesome to see women celebrating and sharing with other women.”