We hear the words blogger and influencer bandied around a lot. The fashion industry is no longer solely governed by magazine or newspaper editors– today's catwalk front rows are peppered with a mix of journalists, stylists and celebrities - and those that fit somewhere in-between.
While the internet has infinite space, there's not much out there outlining the distinctions between each role and who decides what is fashion. As you may have read, the birth of these new players has caused tension among the industry, but in an ever-changing fashion world there is, of course, room for all. Confusingly, there are a lot of overlaps, but allow us to break it down:
The easiest way of describing a blogger is someone who is known primarily for their website – it might be photo-based like Tommy Ton or The Sartorialist – or written, such as Susannah Lau of Style Bubble or Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad. When they first emerged over a decade ago, it marked a huge milestone in terms of democratising the fashion industry. Fashion bloggers have a point of view, a certain taste and a unique way of presenting and documenting fashion – whether visual or written.
The most successful of these have learnt to monetise their blogs in terms of advertising, campaigns and brand projects. Some bloggers are also known as influencers because of the success of their blogs (take Ferragni, who is a brand now in her own right). The future of blogging is unsure – some (Pernille Teisbaek, for example) are closing their blogs because of a dip in traffic, thanks to the rise of Instagram.
Influencers don't typically have blogs or their own platforms outside of social media. In the past they would have been called 'It girls' – they're paid to attend fashion shows, designer dinners and fashion parties because it earns the brand kudos to have them there. Currently, the worth of an influencer is rooted in how many followers they have and who their followers are – if his or her Instagram Insights indicate that their following is loyal, wealthy and aged between 25 and 35, then they're in luck.
Brands pay them to wear their clothes, which they wear on Instagram in their own way – charging typically between Dhs9,500 and Dhs23,755 per post, although those with millions of followers can charge more than Dhs142,500. These sponsored posts legally need to be marked as such (which is where you'll spot the #ad, #promo or #spon). Successful current influencers include Camille Charriere, Caroline Vreeland, Olivia Palermo and Harley Viera Newton. Both bloggers and influencers - if they're really popular - become brands in their own right, launching their own fashion and/or accessory collections, or podcasts (Palermo, Ferragni and Viera Newton have all gone down this route).
This is easier to define. A fashion editor's job is to deliver a vision of the fashion industry according to the tone and viewpoint of a certain magazine. They might style shoots or they might write features about trends or the people who make the industry, whether models and designers or photographers or stylish women. Historically, key editors held the front row positions – a marker of their importance – but they now share these seats with influencers and bloggers alike. A fashion editor will either be tied to one particular publication, for which they work exclusively, or be freelance and contribute to multiple different magazines, newspapers or websites.