I’ve been sensing a lot of tension between some local fashion creatives and their followers, there seems to be an overall discontent with our fashion industry. I think it’s safe to say South Africa is currently experiencing a fashion catastrophe. If we’re not frustrated with our celebrities and their disappointing red carpet looks, the anger is directed towards our fashion designers and stylists. I can take it as far back as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SS ’17, which unfortunately exposed the lack of enthusiasm from industry players. Fashion creatives were outraged over the mediocre creative skills showcased on the runways, and in the same breath, many of us were left perturbed at the underwhelming content (street style) by fashion bloggers.
The truth is, fashion is an Art that not only resides in the design process, but should equally filter through the whole process of styling and content curation. In this industry, we’ve witnessed many do it for the hype that comes with a fashion career, while some do it for the love of the craft. I always say, if I as a non-fashionista can walk into Zara and buy a dress, when I approach you to style me, what elements are you adding to my simple dress? However, elements don’t always have to mean accessories, this is what is termed personal aesthetic (aka that thing kaHlaudi). Every designer should have one, think Balmain, Gucci under Alessandro Michele, the likes Gert-Johan Coetzee and David Tlale all have it. Justly so, you can easily differentiate between a Rachel Zoe vs Monica Rose look.
GUIDE TO: BECOMING A TOP FASHION BLOGGER
I love everything to do with fashion, even though I may just be a spectator in the field. As such, I follow a number of creatives in the space and there are quite a few whom I feel contribute to the clutter in the space. Nonetheless, I have encountered some really inspiring fashion creatives who have demonstrated talent, passion for Art and a commitment to the hard work that is needed to deliver extraordinary content to their audiences.
For those that wish to follow Fashion Blogging as a career or have been battling to get it right, worry not. This Guide is just for you!
1. Earn Your Stripes
@SimplyPalesa – www.simplypalesedit.co.za
I enjoy Palesa’s Instagram feed, just as much as I enjoy reading her blog posts. I was introduced to Palesa when she was still True Love magazine’s Fashion Assistant, before being promoted to the publication’s Fashion Editor. Her experience in the fashion world is evident in the way she structures her content and the professional tone in her writing proves she’s no fly-by-night fashionista
2. Identify Your Niche
@LulamaWolf – www.black-base/lulamawolf
Besides the fact that I find her beauty alluring, Lulama’s signature bo-ho chic style paired with her minimalistic aura is fascinating. We all know who Lulama draws her style inspiration from, but it’s pretty clear that Lulama herself has become an inspiration for her fellow and aspirant bloggers in SA. What sets Lulama apart is the authenticity of her brand look and feel. She is always effortless, even in the most outrageous looks, eliminating the “I’m trying too hard to be cool and different” factor that is currently dominating the blogging space.
3. Let The Art Lead
@Trevor_stuurman – www.stuurmanstylediary.tumblr.com
You don’t need to be an Art fundi to realize that Trevor Stuurman is the epitome of African Art! I enjoy his visual representation of African Art and his artistic take on fashion, which is depicted across his platforms. I strongly believe H&M South Africa needs to enlist him to promote their H&M x Kenzo collection, just not sure how the folks at Woolworths Headquarters in Cape Town would feel.
4. Understand Your Brand
@songofstyle – www.songofstyle.com
I can’t stress enough how important knowing and understanding your brand is. I’ve witnessed a lot of bloggers lose track of their brand essence, and at most times, some aren’t even clear on what their brand offering is. With over 4million Instagram followers, one can trust that blogger Aimee Song is well aware of her brand and her approach to curating content, “I’m more thoughtful of how I blog as I think of it as an online portfolio and a source of income,” said Aimee in an interview. This awareness encourages and influences the content strategy, regardless of platform (Instagram/Blog/YouTube), which ensures that one remains on-brand across the board.
5. Use Your Platform As A Launchpad
@margaret__zhang – www.ShineByThree.com
Ultimately, once you’ve ticked all the boxes, you want to make sure that you launch a sustainable brand, that will enable you to diversify your revenue as a creative. At just 22 years, blogger Margaret Zhang has managed to carve a unique career path in the industry as a photographer, writer, stylist and sometimes model. She is one of the lucky few who have made the swift transition from single-person blogger to full-on fashion icon. The young creative was named as one of Clinique’s global faces for the company’s #FaceForward campaign. Zhang’ versatility through her photography, styling, and creative direction has gained her employment by the likes of Dior, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, Marie Claire, and ELLE to name a few.
Images: Instagram/Daniel Zuchnik