Glamour.com, Tumblr embrace fashion bloggers
Pronouncements concerning the death of blogging by The New York Observer are premature. As Social Media Week and Fashion Week approach in New York, bloggers are getting inundated with offers from publishers, designers, tech companies and fashion brands. Blogs are aren't so much "dead," per se -- a claim that has been made by many digital journalists seeking eyeballs over the years -- as they are evolving toward more profitable and organic business relationships.
Case in point: a week or so before Fashion Week, Glamour.com announced that it is leveraging the credibility of 17 personal style bloggers from around the world and of various ethnicities for its new "Young and Posh Blogger Network." That doesn't smell like rigor mortis. The site, which launches today, includes blog contributions from Jess Zaino (New York), All the Pretty Birds (Milan), Chic Muse (Paris), Cupcakes and Cashmere (Los Angeles), Beauty Sweet Spot (NYC), Blue is in Fashion this Year (Milan), Turned Out (London), Sea of Shoes (Dallas), The Glamourai (NYC), Sincerely Jules (Los Angeles), Trop Rouge (NYC), StyleBubble (London), Runway Hippie (NYC), Mode D'Amour (The Netherlands), Natalie Off Duty (LA), Greta Guide, (NYC) and The Cheery Blossom Girl (Paris).
On the face of things, an obvious question is, what would rising bloggers want or need from legacy media? It doesn't fit the prevailing narrative, which is incorrect, that Old Media is a thing of the past and the young and the hip are the future. The most interesting thing about the contributions is the degree to which Glamour.com, trying something altogether quite different, is highlighting the bloggers. David Karp of Tumblr (more on him below) said at last November's Hearst Changing Media Panel that legacy media companies -- he singled out NPR and Newsweek, but could have added Glamour to the fashionista set -- "still carry a certain weight."
The bloggers' pictures are prominently featured in the articles and their blogs get prime real estate "link love" placement on Glamour.com. Finally, the bloggers get an ad campaign in the form of a fashion shoot -- a fashion blogger's dream. Garance Dore, an old school blogger and rising French photographer, shot the ad campaign featuring the bloggers a few weeks ago. The ads go up next week around the city just as Fashion Week rolls around.
Everybody wins in this situation. The bloggers, with a significant international audience in key markets, deliver exclusive content to Glamour.com, which then gains access to those communities. L.A.'s SincerelyJules blog -- which has 1,534 followers on Blogger.com -- did the big reveal about the ad campaign, recieving, in the process 52 comments of congratulations.
Another case in point: Tumblr is flying more than 20 bloggers to Fashion Week for a microblog covering the event. This is a shrewd decision considering that 20% of the top 1,000 Tumblr blogs are now related to fashion. Tavi Gevinson, the 14-year-old fashion blogging sensation from the suburbs of Chicago who will be collaborating in a publishing venture with Jane Pratt, is among the bloggers being flown on Tumblr's dime to the tents.
The microblogging site, which attracts a young, design-oriented crowd, also happens to be growing at a quarter billion impressions every week (!) according to founder David Karp. From a post on Fashionista on the fashion foray, drawing 129 almost unanimously positive comments:
"They’ll receive complimentary flights, accommodation, and will be whisked off to lunches, dinners, and cocktails with a roster of to-be-confirmed brands and designers. And of course they’ll receive access to several New York Fashion Week shows, says Rich Tong, Tumblr’s newly-annointed fashion director. (Specific shows are also yet-to-be confirmed.) They’ll also be attending the the Independent Fashion Bloggers’ conference, the Bloglovin awards, and an end-of-week party. To make the bloggers’ coverage of events and shows even more visible, Tumblr will host a real-time feed of their content at Tumblr.com/nyfw, mixed in with content from other 'media partners.'"
This appears to be another Fashion Week where the influence of bloggers increases. This time, however, publishers -- and a savvy microblogging site -- are harnessing some of that energy.