Fashion blogging has been Dubai’s “it” new hobby for years now, and it’s still showing no signs of stopping. Back in 2010 when S and I founded La Moda, we could literally count the number of bloggers in the UAE with our fingers.
Then Instagram happened, and suddenly about half of the 18-35 female demographic started doing it. We never thought what we considered our little bubble could get as crowded as Meena Bazaar on a Friday. And they get younger and younger every year.
Most of the noobs perished, while a handful rose to the top and became the successful names we know today – Alanoud, Zahra, Nadya, Mariya, et cetera. Yet while many end up realizing it was never going to be a sustainable way of making a living, every season we always see a new batch of wide-eyed girls, sometimes guys, who get out of bed one day and decide it’s a fun thing to do, come to replace the others who have gotten burned out of dealing with the politics of it.
We can’t blame them, though. Blogging is a great outlet to communicate a message, the perks are awesome if you’ve reached a certain level of influence, and, at least for me, it’s an exciting way to build a body of work that’s as personal as anything can be, and is available for everyone to browse.
But is fashion blogging the right choice for you? Blogging in general is quite an enjoyable experience. You start out with zero expectations, it’s merely about putting yourself out there and maybe, just maybe you end up connecting with a few people who can relate to whatever it is that you’re pushing out.
The fashion space, on the other hand, is bound by a completely different set of rules. You’re in it for the long-haul, and before you even decide on it, you think many times over if it’s something you can even sustain. See, when you create a fashion blog, you don’t just make another website that joins the hundreds of millions on the Internet – you give birth to a brand that expresses who you are, or at least who you want the world to think you are. It’s not just hard work – the expense account keeps piling on as well, so you better be prepared to stick it out long enough for you to make a name for yourself, because there’s no point in doing it any other way.
I’m not going to talk about how to bend the rules or bypass the system because there’s no doing it (unless you buy followers and likes and views and shit). Everyone has to go through the process and if you’re lucky, you come out the other side a better blogger, a more efficient storyteller, a more knowledgeable marketer, a bigger person than when you started. Instead, I’m going to tell you the reasons why you shouldn’t be a fashion blogger. Don’t take this as me being negative and putting you down before you even start. It’s a mere reality check so you are forewarned going into it.
You don’t want to spend money. Or you have no money to spend.
It goes without saying, but sometimes people need to be reminded. You’re blogging about fashion and talking about your style. That means you need to buy clothes to create looks, unless you’re a DIY person then you shouldn’t even be reading this post. You can’t always rely on the free stuff that some of us have gotten into blogging for in the first place. Even normal people budget for clothing every month, so there’s really no excuse to not spend money on fashion. If you have no measurable disposable income (and fashion requires a lot of that), you have chosen the wrong category. Try again.
You’re an outfit-repeater.
There’s an unwritten rule about how many times you can wear a piece of clothing in your photos as a fashion blogger. It’s nothing specific, but if your followers can tell that you’ve already worn something in another photo, then it’s not a good sign. Give it a maximum of two separate occasions that you wear a specific item, worn in two completely different looks. Shoes have a bit longer photographic life – you can get away with repeating the same pair about four times, then enough. JUST STAHP.
You think a free ugly Blogspot would be okay.
Fashion is all about image. Your blog is what you present to the world, and you cannot present them shit. If you cannot or will not pay someone to code a decent enough blog theme for you, then you’re in the wrong business. If you can make a good one yourself, that’s even better, but I’d suggest getting into that instead of fashion blogging. And please get a .com. It’s only $10 a year!
You can’t write.
It’s a shame what kind of trollish language skills I am subjected to while browsing blogs and Instagram captions. I do not know what it is about English that some people find so challenging – it’s nothing compared to Arabic or Mandarin, which are considered some of the most difficult tongues to learn. I’m not asking for Shakespearean prose, but if you’re going to call yourself a “blogger”, at the bare minimum, be able to come up with a full sentence that doesn’t trip up all the grammar checks on MS Word. Blogging is fundamentally about communicating, so nail this or go home.
You have no creative eye.
Fewer and fewer people focus on the text these days. People are too lazy to read (but I’m not one of those people, so I stress on #4), so there is a huge pressure to wow them with your images. On Instagram alone, users scroll a lot faster than the amount of time you spent taking that photo, editing it, and coming up with a caption that probably nobody reads unless it’s composed of three words or less. If you cannot produce images that are on par with your contemporaries, better photos will drown yours. Spare us the visual torture and get a proper camera, learn basic photography or set aside a budget for a professional photographer.
You think the world is fair, and you will get what you deserve.
The world isn’t fair, and neither is the fashion world. If you think you should get projects and brand collaborations because you deserve them, think again. Maybe you really do, but that’s nothing to do with anything and there’s no guarantee that you will secure them, which is an utter shame. Clients maybe want an Arabic person with fake followers and spam comments, or a clueless white person, you never know. Just take it in stride and move on to the next one.
You overestimate the value of your ideas.
We are all creators here. Sometimes we come up with brilliant ideas, but most of the time it’s horseshit. Not everything that comes to your mind is gold, it’s up to you to filter and decide which of them you run with and which to toss in the bin. The better you get at that, the more of your dignity you can keep. You can make mistakes, of course, but make too many of them and you become the laughing stock of the industry – and that’s all too easy to accomplish. The worst thing that could happen – and I’ve witnessed this far too many times to keep my mouth shut – is thinking that you have done the most brilliant thing ever, when in fact people are making fun of your Instagram photos because it’s absolutely, beyond-any-doubt stupid what you did and there’s no swimming out of it.
You have self-esteem issues.
Publishing a part of yourself online is a double-edged sword. You meet people who like what you do, and you come across others who hate your guts for absolutely no reason at all – and they have no problems voicing out their vile opinions. If you are unable to filter negative comments and are naturally inclined to please everyone around you, then withdraw from the game immediately. The only way you can survive the high school-ish nightmare that is the essence of blogging is to not care what others think. You cannot let other people tell you what you are worth. Now, there’s a difference between a healthy sense of self and a foolish misunderstanding of one’s own limitations, and it pays to know when to accept or reject negative feedback.
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