Monday, July 28, 2008

Independent Fashion Bloggers has moved!

Good news!

The new IFB website has launched! Please visit:

IndependentFashionBloggers.org

From now on, the comments will be closed on this blog. If you go to the new one, you can make comments there! Also, we have forums, resource lists, and lots more!
:)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Membership temporarily closed

This is just a short announcement.

IFB will be moving to another location in the next few weeks. I realize that we have fallen behind on membership badges and links... and thanks to all of you, we've really just outgrown blogger.

More will be revealed, but for now, I just want to let all of you who have requested IFB membership to hang on, just a little bit longer and there will be better community!

No, I have not sold IFB.. it's still going to be ad free, it's not owned by anybody but all of us.

:)

Elle says: "we've noticed that more and more quality, style-focused blogs are cropping up..."

Image via Garance Doré

Blog vs. print may be coming to a close, or maybe "independent blogs" vs. "media corporation blogs representing print magazines" may be coming to terms. I think. Scrolling through my rss feeder today, I came across Elle Magazine's New Style Blogs article... It got me excited to see which blogs they picked, and what they had to say about us.

While the slew of Internet startups that emerged around this time [the mid-90's] tanked when the boom went bust, blogs have prospered, evolving into the creative outlet for people to share (and typically over share) information about their lives, for anyone interested�-or bored-�enough to read on. As a result, we've noticed that more and more quality, style-focused blogs are cropping up, offering a visual cornucopia for the fashion savvy in the way of street style images, "Last Night's Party" type scenes of downtown debauchery (that often include inadvertent galleries of choice vintage pieces and designer duds) as well as the occasional eBay link for items you may have missed but, turns out, need to own.
After this description... which, I'm still not clear about why the writer mentions the dot-com era, when blogs didn't gain any real popularity until after the bust, except maybe she might be one of those writers who went through lay-offs and years of struggling to find work, and is now back on the internet to find a different world (don't worry, I'm from San Francisco, I know).

While it's true that blogs have evolved, better pictures, better writing. It may also be attributed to practice. Many bloggers post every day, hitting the streets, scouring the internet for hours on end. And for goodness sakes, some of us may be, even, you know, professionals. Garance Doré was a freelance illustrator for years before starting her blog, Face Hunter was a copywriter and cool hunter prior to starting his blog. Both Grance and Ivan use their blogs as a portfolio and a way to get work. And Bryanboy? He's fab, I should read his blog more. The other bloggers noted, I couldn't really figure out because there were no links and no blog names.

It's also to be noted that bloggers may start out as hobbyists, but then become professionals. Natalie from Coquette was a graphic designer/art director used her blog to change careers to writing, and is now an an editor at Craft Magazine, and also writes for their blog. Mahret from F&Art was an art history student when she started her blog, now is a freelance journalist, writing for major newspapers, as well as print and online magazines. Susie Bubble the 'industry outsider' is now editor at Dazed Digital. And Gala Darling? Well, she's professionally herself, and doing quite well at it. And these are just people off the top of my head, I'm sure the list would be much, much longer if I did any research to find more blogger gone pros.

All of the above listed bloggers have shown inspiration and perseverance. They didn't gain success over night, and they very hard to get where they are on their own. It just amazes me the articles about blogging by the general press seem to overlook that point, thinking that blogs just magically appear out of the blue without any real credentials. It's both condescending and inaccurate, for it takes a lot more work to make your career on your own than to get a 9-5 job at some company. Any entrepreneur and freelancer should know that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bloggers In Action


Some people look very dignified when they are working. Me, I don't know... Photographers look cool as they know how to handle a camera. That’s me, taken at the Lancome Magnifique event by Benjamin Boccas. Mr. Boccas, a fine photographer, has taken a liking to bloggers, by making beautiful portraits of them. If you read Café Mode, you might be familiar with his work if you notice Geraldine’s lovely photo (although, it’s recently been updated with one by Garance Doré). He also blogs himself.

I never thought bloggers would make interesting photographic subject matter… I mean, many of us take loads of pictures of ourselves… but as blogs become more and more established, it makes sense. Gosh, I remember last year, when SF Fashion Week said blogs didn’t count as press.

PS. I know it looks like I’m wearing nothing but a Casio Calculator Watch… but trust me, I’m wearing a strapless tiered mini-dress....

post via The Coveted

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

You Turn

Anna Wintour may be one of the few people on the planet who can say to us "buy this, because I say it's good" though opinions of US Vogue may vary widely the fact remains that it is one of the top selling fashion magazines in the world.

If you wield less power than Anna Wintour, then chances are you're not going to intimidate your readers by the sheer perfection of the fashion snippets you provide in your blog. No need to worry, there are loads of ways to go about generating content. One thing that has been registering on my radar frequently is the idea of user-oriented content:

(Ironically, the photo of the dapper gent blogger Imelda, was taken for Paris Men's Vogue)

This isn't about blog vs. magazine, it's although many magazines (and blogs too) come from the standpoint, "buy me because I kick ass." Part of the appeal blogs have is the feeling of giving the reader some inside information, information although freely available to the public, is not widely known and is somehow secret, more personal.

That's where we come in, can offer daily information, and one way to encourage readers to come back is to offer them something, "reading this blog will help you kick ass." There are blogs like iCiNG that are 'you' oriented, which goes to say Gala Darling writes her blog to help her readers feel good about their style, about themselves. Another Aussie blog, Imelda, provides the scoop on shoes from an insider's hilarious perspective, Imelda talks with us like with a good friend leaving us feeling like we're in the know when it comes to shoes.

The shift is somehow subtle, and yet it's huge, in terms of fashion it shifts the dynamic from that where an elite dictate what is stylish, inevitably alienating the general audience, to a more democratic approach, inclusive to anyone who participates. Having user-focused content not only helps your readers it helps you build a stronger blog. Useful posts give people a reason to link to you, they give people a reason to come back.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where is the love?

Negative comments seem to be a fact of life on the internet. They are everywhere, forums, on big corporate websites like the BBC and the Times and on people’s personal blogs. Where there’s an opinion, there normally seems be someone hanging around waiting to discredit it. Criticism is fine, but when someone starts harassing you, what do you do?


Thankfully, so far on my own blog, we haven’t had any outright abuse. I try to foster debate, but as the debate is normally as inane as what colour suit looks best, I wouldn’t expect this debate to turn nasty. And yet I’ve seen that, time and time again, on other people’s blogs it does. I’m not talking the ‘oh this is a silly idea’ comments either, I’m talking the full-blown ‘you are fat and ugly and I think your face is stupid’ ones. Here are my suggestions of few ways of dealing with it.

Have a commenting policy in place:

This could be a three page document about karma, or it could be a simple line above the commenting form. While this is obviously not foolproof, it might give you peace of mind when/if you delete comments or even ban specific commmenters later on.

Moderate comments:

Just stop them ever getting made public. This means you get to stop what shows up on your site, but it doesn’t stop you reading what some loon has to say. I’ve seen that a lot of people seem to do this, but it seems to me to be a lot of hassle for smaller blogs where you don’t really have a problem (yet).

Zero tolerance:

Any abuse gets deleted and if necessary the IP gets blocked. Seems extreme, but frankly I doubt you’d accept those sorts of comments from people ‘in real life’ so why should you have to on the net? Most 'haters' seem to be one offs, but it doesn't really hurt to send the 'get out and don't come back' message to people like that.

Allow no comments at all:

Now this one IS extreme, but possibly worth considering, especially if you’re the sensitive type or if the situation gets out of hand (a la gofugyourself). However, I know that for a lot of people, the feedback that commenting allows is a major factor in them blogging in the first place.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Your Toolbox : Getting to Know Polyvore


By now many of you already know about Polyvore.com. Some of you may even use this website for your posts... and some of you may be using Photoshop (ahem, me) to create collages of items in the post. Sarah over at Polyvore.com and I had a chat where she let me know that's it's really a lot more than a collage making tool...

IFB: What is Polyvore? What can it do?
Sarah: Polyvore is a free, easy-to-use web-based application for mixing and matching items - shoes, shirts, skirts, bags, lipstick, nail polish, backgrounds, etc. - from anywhere on the web. It is also a vibrant community of creative and stylish people! With Polyvore, you can put together coordinated outfits, a visual wishlist, an interior design, a moodboard, a birthday card for a friend - pretty much anything you want.

You can see a demo of our editor tool here:
http://s141.photobucket.com/albums/r41/polyvore/?action=view&current=editormovie.flv

Once an outfit is created, users publish them to the Polyvore community. Each outfit has a dedicated page on Polyvore, featuring a list of the items within the outfit, with a link to the store where it can be purchased, as well as the creator's name, number of times viewed, the ability to embed the set within any website or online forum, Polyvore Groups that its in, commenting and favoriting, and color swatches that show the color theme of the outfit.

Fashion bloggers especially like Polyvore because they can easily use it as a tool to add professional, magazine-like spreads to their blog posts. For example, a post about celebrity style could include a picture of the celebrity, with a recreation of their outfit made on Polyvore.com. Or, a post about a particular color or style trend could include outfits that show many examples of that trend arranged in a set, or show a recommendation for how that trend could be worn within a look. All of the outfits created on Polyvore can be embedded into any post as long as they link back to Polyvore.com. And what's even cooler is that all the product information is available on each outfit page - just a click away.

IFB: Who are the bulk of users at Polyvore?
Sarah: We have all kinds of different members on Polyvore. Some are fashion and design students, some are professional stylists, some are retailers or small boutiques who have their own products featured on Polyvore, and some of them are just regular girls (and boys) who enjoy being creative and expressive.

IFB:
Where do the products on your site come from?
Sarah: Polyvore has an ever-expanding collection of products that currently contains over one million items. Products find their way into Polyvore primarily through our members. Using a bookmarklet installed on the browser window, users can quickly pull products into Polyvore as they discover them on the web. Alternatively, products can be included on Polyvore by retailers themselves, such as American Eagle, Charlotte Russe, and Net-a-Porter, who supply us with a link to their latest catalog, which we then import into Polyvore.

IFB:
How does can this site help fashion bloggers?
Sarah: Polyvore can help fashion bloggers by giving them an easy way to express their posts visually, with real products. This adds a lot of value to their posts - which their readers will certainly appreciate! Bloggers also use Polyvore for contests - getting their readers involved by challenging them to create outfits within a certain theme, or using a specific item. This makes their blogs an interactive, two-way conversation that can contribute to their site's growth.

IFB: Any success stories?
Sarah: Fashiontribes co-sponsored a contest with Intermix Online that was extremely successful and generated over 1500 outfits. The winners will be announced today, and five lucky stylists will each be receiving a $500 gift certificate to Intermix Online. Style Observer is a quickly growing fashion blog that uses Polyvore sets regularly to illustrate styles and trends in their blog posts. Finally, Gala Darling of iCiNG recently teamed up with ModCloth to sponsor a fashion challenge that her readers are really enjoying.

IFB: What are some upcoming or new features that are useful tools for blogging?
Sarah: Today, Polyvore will be launching a "Sites We Like" section on our Explore page. The Explore page is the heart of our community and gets over half a million pageviews per month. Blogs that regularly use Polyvore on their sites will have the opportunity to be featured here and gain extra traffic to their site, increasing their visibility to our community and growing their audience. For more information on this, interested bloggers can contact

We are also testing a feature that allows bloggers to embed the Polyvore editor on their site, so that their readers can put together looks using all of the products recommended by that blogger. You can see an example of this on a test blog we made called "Shop this Look" http://www.shopthislook.com We think this might be a really great tool to add interactivity to fashion blogs, and turn each and every one of us into seasoned stylists! If you'd like to be involved in the beta test of this program, please contact "info@polyvore.com"