I probably wrote my first blog post between the ages of 10-12. Whether the concept of blogging was new or not back then I’m not entirely sure, but it was certainly a growing trend amongst a few of us young “tweens” that were interested in web-design and had somehow found our ways to owning our own domains with fully self-coded websites at a super young age. I blogged very frequently back then – the posts were super short soundbites of my day at school along with any announcement of updates I’d done to graphics or tutorials on my website.
When I was entering my mid teens, fashion blogging started to grow in popularity. By this time, having your own platform online was not so niche – Instagram had not yet picked up the popularity it has now, but there was already tons of steam behind YouTubers and a branch off to blogger websites where a lot of us would take photos of our outfits in our bedrooms behind our doors. My interest in beauty and makeup had peaked a few years prior, but as I began to involve myself in this new era of beauty blogging, my interest in style heightened too. Back then, I really admired the styles of Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens and Cheryl Cole, and I’d try to model all of my outfits after whatever I had seen them wearing in paparazzi photos. I’d use any money I earned from my blog to buy dupes of the expensive items I’d seen them wear via eBay – from the Celine luggage tote era, all the way down to the once popular Alexander McQueen skull scarves.
I kept up fashion blogging well into uni (albeit at a slower pace because… life); one of my friends was also interested in fashion and had his own blog, so we’d shoot for each other after classes with his shiny DSLR. At some point in university, I also got into the habit of writing longer form posts and “think pieces”.
So if we recap up to this point – my blog posts had evolved from being short form “school was so annoying” or “I love Harry Potter and this is why” posts, to posts about my favourite makeup, to posts where I showed off my outfits, and now I had transitioned into a combination of outfit posts and posts where I just… wrote. Longer form posts where I shared my experiences, talked about my travels, wrote about self-development and the lot, similar to what you see here. Writing was my first love before anything (since I was 5), and I definitely still have writing a fiction book on my bucket list one day!
Once I graduated and was on a regular salary – this was when I upped my fashion blogging game and made it very much a focal point of my blog. I could afford to pay a photographer now, so once every 1.5 months we’d head out somewhere in London to shoot a few outfits. It was interesting shooting out in public – I for sure got a lot more confident and comfortable with it as time went on. I really didn’t mind shooting and “doing my thang” with loads of people around. In addition – I always loved the results of the photos, I plastered them all over my Instagram and my mum even told me about how she’d go on my blog just to show the photos to her friends (cute). The not so glossy side of shooting included (i) changing outfits – often in side/back streets, as quickly and efficiently as possible so that I don’t get called out for public indecency; (ii) shoot days when it was cold outside (absolutely awful); (iii) always needing to have a new big batch of interesting outfits every 1-1.5 months.
Shooting outfits was like doing my hair, eyebrows or nails – it was a periodic thing that I shaped my life around, finding a slot in my diary regularly to take these photos. It became second nature for me – it was just what I did, what I knew, and I couldn’t imagine my blog being any other way.
The lovely Marianne took all of my photos!
Eventually, I started to question if this was the path forward for me. I had moved exclusively to more thoughtful pieces for my posts, and wasn’t sure how well these photos now fit in. Also, the reality of (iii) above is that always needing to have a new batch of clothes meant that I was buying or more often receiving, tons of low quality and often not long-lasting items. This wasn’t always the case – sometimes I’d work with much more high quality brands or showcase higher quality picks I’d purchased myself which was great – but it did feel like I needed to have a very constant cycle of clothes at my door with many eventually going on to collect cobwebs in my wardrobe. In addition, when I started to think more about the environmental impact of this choice, and think about potentially encouraging needless overconsumption, and question if my blog was still representing me, it started to feel like something I wanted to steer away from. Plus, the further I moved in time from the days of university and overdrafts and more income I made outside of blogging, the less necessary this felt. I spoke about it often with my photographer on our shoot days – whilst I wanted to steer away, I didn’t quite know what to steer to. At this point, it was mechanical to me – none of the blogs I really read at the time came without the snazzy photos and outfit links, so I wasn’t sure where to take things.
Two things changed. The first was that fashion blogging moved from blogs over to Instagram for the large majority. Those of us that stayed on the platform and continued to write instead seemed to zone more into longer form and more thoughtful pieces or otherwise focussed more on beauty blogging / reviewing new beauty finds (the latter I had stopped doing a while back). Second of all – COVID happened. COVID stopped me in my tracks when it came to my shoot days which had become so mechanical to me that I wasn’t even considering if I wanted to do them. I considered restarting taking photos last summer and even reached out to my photographer but she was holding off due to COVID. Then, at the start of this year, I officially decided to bow out of the fashion blogging game. I committed instead to focussing fully on high quality, weekly pieces one this blog.
One thing that I know for sure (and have experienced) is that as we grow and change, our platforms will naturally grow and change both with us and with the times. For example, Reels/TikToks and making more interesting looking fashion videos with seamless transitions is where the fashion blogging game has moved into now – the days of taking photos in bedrooms with a spare webcam are well and truly over! I still love fashion, and fashion imagery on Instagram, but for my blog – this is the direction I chose to steer into instead.
If I think about how I have grown over time – I see that my websites over the years have taken all sorts of forms. In another 5 years – who knows where I’ll next find myself or what will be the current trendy thing online.
Throughout it all, the ability to be nimble and grow with the times is important independent of what industry you’re operating in – “consumers” are unforgiving so if you’re not keeping up, you’re probably getting left out. That said – it’s also important to stay authentic to you. Be malleable to change in a way that aligns with you, and finger’s crossed, the rest falls into place.
Have a great week!