By Stephanie Eng
Photos: Sarah Darrow
Type, scroll, and post on, Fashionistas. The blogging world isn’t going anywhere, whether you want to make a career of it or want to use it as a portfolio to land your dream job. The powerhouses behind four Boston fashion blogs—Bostonista, so anthro, scorpion/disco, and Style-Wire—honored Haute Fashion with their opinions and advice during our Fashion Blogger Panel on Tuesday, April 16th.
“There’s the idea that to be a top tier blogger, you have to be a Blonde Salad, living in California with an unlimited budget and a professional photographer husband,” said Emily of soanthro.com. But that’s not necessarily true. Be professional and edit all your content. “A bad photo sets the boys apart from the men, so be your own Anna Wintour,” cautions Renata of scorpion/disco. “If you have 15 pictures, and none are good, don’t put one up. If you have one good one, use that one. Don’t try to show single every angle.” If you have your own voice, self-promote, act professional, and network like crazy, you definitely have a shot.
One of the first fashion blogs ever, thebostonista.com, is a site created in 2008 through Blogger that focuses on fashion and beauty trends. It stands apart mostly through its lack of outfit posts and abundance of information on the fashion industry. Kara, the founder, graduated from Emmanuel College with a Communications degree, and created the blog as a way to showcase her portfolio and eventually work for a magazine. Now, it has evolved to become more of a hobby. “None of my friends are like, ‘Hey, how’s blogging going?’” says Kara. “I have two personas, Kara and blogger-Kara, and I care about my blog, but it’s like this weird secret-hobby.”
Emily of soanthro.com began her Anthropologie-themed blog two years ago to practice using WordPress in preparation for running her company’s blog. Post-graduation, it became a therapeutic creative outlet for her to showcase her personal style. She says that she likes to capture more everyday fashion that is accessible to women in their 20s and 30s. Rather than going to the big shows at Boston Fashion Week, she likes to go to the smaller ones that aren’t considered official as a way of seeking out local talent and helping them.
In terms of how much of her life is made up of blogging, “My boyfriend gets annoyed when we go out to lunch and I have to Instagram our food or he has to take an outfit photo, but I don’t let in consume me in a way that is unhealthy or negative. It’s something I’m passionate about.” She also turns down products she’s not excited to write about from the beginning. With free products, there is always some level of distrust when you see courtesy of and c/o, because the bloggers may feel pressure to write glowing things, even if that isn’t their honest opinion. “A lot of bloggers tell me not to turn down offers, but I think for authenticity’s sake, I don’t want to fluff it up because I have to,” said Emily. She doesn’t consider blogging to be a burden, and gets excited to brainstorm content.
Style-Wire.com was created less than a year ago, when Elissa needed a creative outlet to supplement her finance job. To Elissa, blogging is the attainable reality. Style-Wire exists as a visual portfolio for her work, ranging from finance tips to product reviews, and really has an assortment of everything. She studied Communications at Emerson, so she treats her blog very much like a business. “I just got my first-quarter receipts for next year’s taxes,” she explains. “You have to put in the effort and might not get anything out of it until way later or not at all.”
For her, the key to success is blogging out of love for the subject, and the rest comes naturally. She keeps organized, and plans all her posts a week in advance. “Just like you plan a good outfit, I plan a good post.” She is always on top of her email, and makes sure to respond to comments because keeping a follower is just like maintaining a friendship. And of course, there are those moments when she has to take selfies in public. “I’m always with my tripod in some alleyway, and I pretend to be really into my camera until people leave. You’re taking photos of yourself in an alley, so of course it’s a little awkward!” But it pays off. “I’ve had people approach me for jobs, and I’ve been considered for jobs I wouldn’t necessarily be considered for if it weren’t for my blog.”
Renata moved to Turkey with her husband after studying Anthropology at Boston University, and started her blog as a way to test her writing muscles because it was hard to start a job in a new country. “Everyone thinks it’ so weird that I studied Anthropology at BU, but fashion is totally culture. Besides, all those essays helped me gain so much practice with writing, which prepared me a lot for working alongside so many Journalism majors.” After having had writing published in the internet, she was able to work for The Boston Phoenix, and Bullet.
At The Boston Phoenix, if her boss didn’t choose a photo that Renata was in love with, she was able to use scorpiondisco.com as a platform to publish it. “Anything I do that relates to fashion and style, I call scorpion/disco. If I host a party, it’s hosted by scorpion/disco because rather than just my name, it’s a company, which is much more professional.” As for content, scorpion/disco serves as an umbrella for whatever Renata wants to publish. She often promotes friends, too, which serves as an example of the support within the Boston blogging and fashion community. “My friend’s a jewelry designer, so if I write about her, she’ll be happy and I’ll be happy. Another example is how on Valentine’s Day, a few friends and I posted our own photo shoot and sent it to Racked and they published it.”
The Boston fashion community is extremely close-knit. “Boston does have a reputation for not being stylish, but I think it’s a city where you’re able to create your own style and go with it; there’s a lot less judgment,” says Kara. Boston isn’t like New York where the city eats its young. But Renata feels that it often settles for less because of that younger-sibling mentality. Bloggers don’t use too much discretion, and if somebody says they’re a designer, it’s immediately accepted. There aren’t enough options to say, “This is good; this is not good.”
The perks however, if and when they come, are fabulous. There are always parties, and being a blogger can often grant you a ticket to New York Fashion Week. Blogging isn’t a money maker unless you’re in the 0.005%, but you can often go to parties and events that not many laypeople are given the opportunity to attend. “Sometimes they’re boring parties, but sometimes they’re good! Both ways, you are fed, and you always get drinks!”