June 28, 2012

Fashion Blogging. The Ugly Truth

new year 004

Denise Katupinera circa 2006.

Hi girls,

For the past months I have been receiving quite a lot of emails and messages on my on line shoe store. And guess what it's about? - a young blog(s), aka one month old blog,  asking for a "collab" aka send-me-free-shoes-and-I-will-abuse-your-shoes-for-total-exposure-among-my-less-than-50-readers-in-google-connect-and-15-followers-on-blog-lovin. Charming! Some emails starts with this - "I stumble upon your store a week ago and I think your shoes speaks for my style and I am open for collaboration." What? She's not even pretending to kiss my old fat ass or pretending to drool over my store since the day I started. 

And oh!, this one too, the best seller:

"Hi! I am open to sponsorships, ads and other projects. Visit my blog here ....  My style has always been self centered, it always depends on my mood, whenever I feel like wearing on a specific day. I am obsessed with sky high heels and rare clothes, clothes that barely can be seen in stores, which makes you stand out and some people will have a hard time finding the exact same dress you are wearing. It's always been a motto for me to "Never leave the house under dress" even without make-up I always see to it that I'm in my most fashionable outfit. I blog about everything though, fashion does not stop me doing other things. I also blog about my travels, making an emphasis on what i wear. I thank you so much, hope you consider me." So I clicked on her blog link and it broke my heart. There I saw her best picture with her best pose and best pout. And my reaction was, OMG girl, who hurt you? who did this to you? you want me to call the police? 

Everyday, I do receive these kinds of emails that make me mental slap my forehead each time I see how young and naive these girls are to fashion blogging. They have no idea what they're getting into. I have been meaning to address this whole brand sponsorship and collaboration with bloggers for months now. But weary on sounding offensive and to appear know-it-all are two of  my biggest fears as internet-Denise, while real life Denise's fear are  big hairy spider and the faaaareeeeking flying cockroach. And let's be honest and reasonable here because it has been a huge annoying dancing color-block elephant in the room among the fashion blogging community now. And I don't think these young bloggers know how to do it. This is not an attempt to pro-tip you on blogging. Believe me there is no such thing as the right or wrong way, but there is always the dignified way. 

First let me bullet point you some of the requirements to be a fashion blogger. (In no particular order)
  1. If you're young, no job, let's say a teenager, you will need rich parents to buy you shoes, clothes and the rest of the trends. A loaded mom and dad to let you max out their credit cards.
  2. btw you will need internet connection too, a computer and camera. And if you're lucky, a boyfriend with photographing skills to follow you around for your ootd. A plus point too if you have a mad Photoshop skills. That way you can always shoot yourself against your bedroom wall, away from the prying eye of the mass, so you can pout and pose your heart out.
  3. If you're young, no job, no rich parents, still studying, you can always eat a big breakfast ala construction worker con carne everyday before school, skip the double grande mocha latte with whipped cream for instagram, so you can save money and hit the thrift store for a student budget friendly fashion. And I am serious about this. I always think that young people are supposed to be full of ideas, over flowing with creative juices, and skills and talent. So Diy, sew clothes, do alterations. A young girl with a Prada isn't really impressive. Okay, I am a bit jealous. But seriously, a mad emailing skills to ask brands for free stuff does not count as talent too.
  4. A job! you will need a job to buy stuff. It sounds boring but that's the real deal. Fashion means clothes, shoes, bags, accessories. You need moolah to fashion blog.
  5. Talent. Meaning you should be able to write. Produce a content. I know you can't always beat the top bloggers with their designer shoes and their affiliations and their puke inducing photo ops with the super rich and the botoxed and the semi-famous. But trust me, if you have an IQ of a thousand and can actually write, damn girl you are going places.You will gain readers, and I mean real readers that will come back to you everyday, with real comprehension ability for written words. Find your voice. Be a blogger with a cause extraordinaire. (that sounds cool ei?). 
Anything else? If you have something to add, please do so.

Now let's talk about these local bloggers who made it. Aka the Cinderellas of the blog world. The bloggers who gets invites everyday to attend events and do collaborations with brands. Please consider that these bloggers are old. (Peace!) When I mean old, meaning they have old blogs. Blogs they'd started from between 2005 to 2010 or even way before blog became a word. Maybe some of them were rejects from the field they love. Journalism drop outs, real life stylish girls and gays, snubbed by the magazine publications. These outsiders with talent, individuality and independent thinking who blogged as an outlet of their frustrations and inspirations. These are normal naive girls and gays (the innocent, organic kind) who work hard and thrive on passion with the power to express themselves. And after a couple of years, say 2010 here in the Philippines, the brands made a notice of them. That these girls and gays, the pioneer of style blogging here in our country, has the appeal and influence. And voila! the rest is fashion blogging history.

I do not mean to offend anyone by this post. I am pro blogging. I support blogging as a way to express yourself. So it's really sad how bloggers these days turned out to be. I love how the old school bloggers were so shy and really genuine with their blogging-success stories. How they squealed on the first email they received from a reader and how they almost died over the omg-I-can't-believe-this-brand-emailed-me for a brand collaboration. I am just sad how "collab" aka send-me-free-shit is used among young bloggers these days. I hate to compare these girls with a beggar but that's just how they are. A beggar is a stranger who knocks at your door throwing themselves at your mercy for a spare change and food. Their survival hangs by a thread to other people. At  least they are the legit kind of beggar. They are homeless, no family, no source of income, no internet, no twitter, no facebook. So don't beg. There is no dignity in begging and shooting thousands of emails for free stuff. You have a home, an iphone, so i believe in my heart of hearts that you have no resemblance to a beggar. If I put my own spin to this thing called collaboration these day, I would probably email Cebu Pacific and pose as a travel blogger to get a free airplane seat so I can put some content on my faux travel blog. See what I mean? Blogging itself is a already a privilege. And however huge you think you are in blogging, asking for a free shit isn't business like at all.

I guess the only unsolicited advice I can give to anyone, young people who read this is study, finish your education. How about education for the sake of education. Blog for fun. Do not blog for fame. No koryente, no internet. Goodbye internet fame. Don't blog for money. Stop reading the IFB. They are full of shit. When they said, we (bloggers) can command as much as $50,000 for a brand campaign. No. You won’t. Unless you are Atlantic Pacific or Rumi or Bryan Boy, no you won't. Only about 10 bloggers can do this. (And not one of them is a local blogger)You still aren’t one of them. And when they said, We’re legit enough to be awarded by the CFDA. Unless you are Scott or Garance, this in no way legitimizes your vanity blog. And don't quit your day job. DON'T. And prove yourself first. And do not compare yourself with other bloggers and please, please PLEASE do not clone these bloggers.

So, what does this mean for you if you’re a blogger? If you’re blogging because you’re hoping to retire at 30 with a closet full of free stuff and a bank account loaded with money from online sponsorships, you’re probably doing it wrong. It will never happen if your focus is all about monetize monetize monetize. Stop trying so hard to be a sponsored someone and try for interesting or fun or original for once.

Denise Katipunera, one time second placer in the Bataan Provincial High School Debate 1996, thank you very much!


please don't hate me. I am a very nice person (ask my Catholic dead Grandmother) but not today. Not today. But you can always find in your studded-glitter-fashion-forward-heart the gist of this blog post. There is no intention of hate. Not now, not ever. Try to read this with an open mind. Pretty please? Pretty pretty please, with Brad Pitt on top? Thank you very much. 


here's part 2. Fashion Blogging and The Ugly Truth 2.0


Anagon =) said...

OhmyGoood!!!! Ikaw na talaga Ms. Denise ang best debater talagaaaa!!! I always love your long posts!!! I can relate with the emails dahil sa Anagon Collection. dati gumawa pa ako ng copy-paste letter for these emails with criteria ng pwede ko lang bigyan but parang ang mean ko so now di na ako nag rereply nalang... Nakakasawa din :P

I can relate with "snubbed by the magazine publications" ... :) Wala lang... sobrang thankful for "oldies" blogger friends hehehe ;D Keber nalang sa age! :D

SHOP DBP said...

Even if I'm not a seller, gets na gets ko ang point mo. And I AGREE. AMEN!

Whoever will hate you for this post is obviously narrow-minded or guilty.

Yun lang.

SHOP DBP said...

This is Kookie B. pala! :)

AVA T.♥ said...

I always loved how true your contents are. Whether blog or twitter. :) I always find frank people better than people who try to please everyone. You go, momma!:)

Natawa lang ako dun sa "old bloggers" circa 2005-2010 haha. I realized 2005 ako and I feel old :)) but so thankful for all the real friends that I found online and thank God, you're one of them!:)

mestizay said...

Kalurly ka mother!!! Gulat aketch may ganoon blogger wannabe's who actually beg for stuff!my gosh!diko kinaya!
I totally agree w everything you wrote esp the part of criterias in blogging!bravo!!!!

Hautepot said...

This is so refreshing Denise! Seems that people view blogging as a shortcut to success when it's not. Some blogs don't seem to even put an effort into their posts and have the audacity to scour the web for sponsors.

babyaииE. said...

You have emphasized it very well. Couldn't agree more. :)

Honey Andrade said...

ANG DAMI KONG TAWA SA PAG BASA NG POST NA 'TO!!!!! :)))) Nakakaloka yung mga gutom sa collabs/ free stuff! Hindi sa pagyayabang pero even if I'm not there na, I still get emails from PR people- sending me invites and free stuff. Kung tutuusin pwede ko pa din makuha ang free stuff, ipadala lang sa bahay ko or ipapakuha sa maid pero grabe hindi naman ako ganun ka-desperada. :))) Madami na talagang ganyan ngayon, totoo lahat ng sinabe mo.. Nakakatawa sila na nakaka-imbey! Sana mabasa 'tong post mo ng mga nag-email sayo hahahaha!

Lauren said...

It's so sad that a lot of people start blogging, not because they have something to say or something to share, but because they want free stuff. I sometimes wonder if us bloggers are partly to blame for it, when we place a lot of emphasis on the stuff given to us. But then again that can't be helped, since we are supposed to promote whatever we receive from brands. :\ But thanks to the very commercial nature of fashion/beauty blogging, I guess it's just inevitable to have a swarm of newbies joining the blogosphere just to get a piece of the freebie pie.

cherie said...

You took the words out of my mouth and made it into an awesome blog post! I miss the days when blogging is all about memoirs and personal style. I admit that I feel pressured too to be on par with the latest shoes and dresses off the runway. And visiting blogs nowadays can induce a full fledged blog envy. Masasabi ko Lang, kaloka the girl who emailed you!

dred said...

Oh denise!!!! you couldn't have said it better! ikaw na. this blog of yours right here is my exact sentiment on how blogging has become so commercialized and fame and money-centered nowadays. Amen, amen!!


Anonymous said...

totoo, ikaw na talaga Denise! ikaw na! haha! i can only imagine kung gaano ka annoying ang mga "collab" emails na yan.

a very well written post! :)

toni pino-oca
perfumed red shoes

Anonymous said...

totoo, ikaw na talaga Denise! ikaw na! haha! i can only imagine kung gaano ka annoying ang mga "collab" emails na yan.

a very well written post! :)

toni pino-oca
perfumed red shoes

aiz kim said...

clap clap + standing ovation.... it is quite a sad sad thing that blogging is now seen this way. Happy to read a blog to actually address this...hats off to you Denise!

NicRTV (陳亞任) said...

I've been a long time reader but I've never commented until now...You're totally right....a lot of new bloggers right now do it just because they think they can get something from doing it..glad you did a post about this...

ian c said...

saw this post gets retweeted and retweeted haha I am semi-new to blogging. I do get sponsorships but I did not beg for it haha. I love how you explained it like a mother to young bloggers. *retweetes*


Farrah G. said...

THIS. I thought I was the only one. I mean, I'm not a blogger blogger. Anyway, I work for a clothing brand and I receive tons of emails asking for sponsorships and collabs asking for free clothes to wear..and I think, "I work for the brand yet I don't even get clothes from them for free." There is just more credibility if the brand approaches you. I guess it's different for giveaways though. Like, I think it's more acceptable to ask for stuff for giveaways.

I was supposed to make a post about it, but you took the words right out of my mouth. Props!!

Andami kong gustong lines:
*Blog for fun. Do not blog for fame.
*"I love how the old school bloggers were so shy and really genuine with their blogging-success stories. How they squealed on the first email they received from a reader and how they almost died over the omg-I-can't-believe-this-brand-emailed-me for a brand collaboration."

sittie rainie limba said...

NGANGA! npanganga ako ate den (tulo laway) hihi la ko maSAY! kaw na tlga idol ko sa LHAT ng bloggers sa mundo! NO WONDER ikaw na nga ang second placer in the Bataan Provincial High School Debate at IKAW NA NGA si KATIPUNERA!!!!!!! I salute you! I wish someday 'I can be like denise katipunera'

roanjean said...

Nakakatuwa 'tong post na 'to, haha! I've been blogging since 2003 and never gained any huge following nor "collabs and sponsorships" (personal blog kasi kaya parang wala lang hehe). It's amusing to read about ganitong issue kasi for someone who's not really into ~fashion blogging~ and just in the sidelines like me, parang "Wow, may ganitong nangyayari pala?" :))

cat creates said...

bulls eye ms denise! i love your post. very true :)

Myrted said...

Love the content!!! I am a newbie parin in blogging but I can relate talaga!!! 'Coz I always feel left out with other bloggers, but whenever that crosses my mind I chuck it out of my head and say that I don't do this for material things and other stuff, but only as a hobby wherein I can have an escape from my reality. Haha...

Galing mo sis! Miriam Santiago ka ng Philippines blogosphere!!! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!!! :D

Sarah A. said...

Pasok sa banga.
Iniimagine ko your saying this.
Ikaw na ikaw.
I've known you because of blogging, and blogging was never been fulfilling since then.
I thank blogging/fun/hobby because we met and so is Abhie and Leona, everyone.
Thank you for inspiring us.

Carole Kaye said...


Minsan iniisip ko kapag may nage-email sakin ng ganyan na like 18 and below, what are you going to do with all of these free stuff??? Mag-aral muna kayo ng may mai-blog kayong may content.

Dressing Up For Me said...

Well said, Denise! Hands down ako sa sinulat mo. ;)

BelatedBloomer said...

If you're throwing Brad Pitt on top, how can I not keep an open mind? Haha!

I for one ran my anonymous blog back when blogging was not trendy (around 2002-2006) and anonymously vented out all my frustrations for strangers to read. Now that I find myself with a little bit of free time and a sort of identity awakening, I've decided to start a style blog just because I feel like I need to pay forward what a few plus-sized blogs have done for my self-esteem (Yes, I got inspired by their fashion forwardness kahit pa bilog din sila). And my current blog may not have as much content, (actually puro pictures ko lang haha!) but it's still an outlet, a form of expression for me. I think ultimately, blogging should be done with a purpose, even if it's purely for expression or ventilation. But it should never be just to receive freebies or sponsorships.

Sorry if this long comment looks like a separate blog post. I got carried away by your declamation piece eh! Haha!


Denise said...


huhuhu. revenge of the nerds ba?

Di ba? before sunshine and rainbows katakot takot na rejections muna and then BAM, you're like the dorky chic but underneath that thick glasses is the super hot chick pala. Okay, am watching too many romcom movies.

Denise said...

@kookieboo -

i really hope so.


i want people to like me, i really do. But if they don't, i don't care.

Denise said...

@ava t. -

singing right now, Thank God i found you too. internet is a big world, but am glad we got to meet here.

Denise said...

@mestizay -

heeheehee. i bet you're the one with a job and boyfie...

Denise said...

@hautepot -

i prefer they scour for income/money here, not disposable shirts.

Denise said...

@honey andrade -


well 4 of them reached out to me na. Im feeling a lot of guilt too since I didn't reply to them when they're asking for "collab". Eh kasi naman humuhingi sila, tama ba naman na pagalitan ko sila?

lam mo yun?

Denise said...



@dressing up for me

giiiiirrrrlllsss, alala nyo 3 years ago... iba na ang trend. hindi tayu maka adopt.

ako din, i can't help but fall for the newest prettiest shoes. We're girls, taking that away, maraming mag raging hormones.

Denise said...

@ dred and toni -

we're old!!!!

i liked it better back when walang structure. lam mo yun. since it became a full time job for some, lahat naman doon ang sugod.

blogging is the new nursing.

Denise said...

@ ian c -

good for you.

it feels great to be asked di ba?

Denise said...

@Farrah G

oh that's not fair!!!!

email the brand you work for? "collab" kayu. hahahahaha!

thank you for dropping here.

Denise said...

@ sittie - kaw naman.... palibhasa kapitbahay kita.

Denise said...

@roanjean -

oh i have been in love with your blog...

do you edit your photos?

i love how it looks vintage but still not overcooked after a little bit of editing.

Denise said...

@cat creates -

cat i wore your skirt a week ago then it rained. nice ei?

Denise said...

@sarah A -

you should see my oily face while writing this post.

oh i miss us.

Denise said...

@carole Kaye -

don't reply. you work hard for your craft tapos sila u-mi-e-mail lang. unfair. hindi tama. if they like your product bumili sila.
some of these bloggers act as if they're godsend to us.

Denise said...

oh i love to read. i like it longer, kasi alam ko they took time to read my post.

i remember 3 years ago, namatay lola ko, i post something about it, may nag reply, cool. yun lang. halatang ku-mo-quota sa comments. para makarami.

we may be the oldest here, but our hearts are on the right place. share and make friends.

Denise said...

@lauren -

we are partlt to blame. YES.

i hope there's another way to acknowledge the sponsors other than BAM-in-your-face photos of GCs and loot bags. some kids, iba ang dating sa kanila. all they see are the free stuff. FREE FREE FREE. so makapag blog nga.

back in your time... i mean the old internet Lauren (hee hee) , i bet you're mature enough to handle yourself whenever you're in the web. So i am not sure for kids these days.

Denise said...

@ NicRTV (陳亞任)


@aiz kim

i think 6 months ago nag tweet ako something about this. rage tweet. And then 3 nights ago, Gela Abores, the gorgeous Gela brought it up. nag redbull tweet na naman ako. I guess some days ago was the perfect time for me to talk about this. I am not mad, am just disappointed i guess. and i don't think these baby bloggers are playing fair. not fair to some who really works hard.

Denise said...

@myrted -

is my hair really that frizzy big?

we always learn, new or old. minsan newbie, but they don't sound like one.

Anonymous said...

hi den. your post hits straight to its purpose. young bloggers won't hate u for posting such... they'd eventually thank u for that.

to our young bloggers *of whatever genre* -- just be true to yourselves and don't try so hard. people will eventually notice you.

ako ngang random blogger lang na walang theme ang posts na nasa malayong lupalop nao-offeran ng gigs na hindi ako makacommit commit because of my personal busy sched... kayo pa kayang mga full of energy and fresh minds not to mention ang gaganda pa??! kayang kaya nyo yan... but remember to start from the beginning, wag magmadali... time will come dadami rin ang readers nyo and they'd be truly interested in whatever you gotta say :) kayang kaya nyo yan! Remember, be true, wag tayong kiss-ass, and wag mahilig mang harbat ala lolit solis :D

Anonymous said...

Well said, Miss Denise! I agree with each and every part of this post of yours!

Saludo ako sayo!

Daphne said...

I began blogging in 2010. I must admit that I too was guilty of emailing shops when I was just starting, but later on I realized it isn't worth it. I realized I set up a blog so I can document my style progress, not to get some free stuff. Now I own a small online shop and I get these kinds of emails from newbie bloggers asking for sponsorships and I admit it's a tad bit annoying. It's probably forgivable if the blogger has mad writing skills and nice style, but most of the people who email me don't even know basic grammar. It's sad how the term "fashion blogger" is used and abused these days. Great post!

Myrted said...

No! I'm comparing you to Sen. Santiago for your declamation talent and for being brave to expose such topics. Hehe.

Layo nmn ng itsura ni madam sen. santiago sayo. Super ganda mo girl!!! Walang halong biro.

cat creates said...

really ms denise? you posted photos? haha! it rained! oh no! it's flimsy pa naman :) hope to see u again here in manila. hoping, hoping :) thanks! can't wait for tuesday - and your new post...:)

Anonymous said...

well said Ms. Denise! meron pa lang ganun?! :D

silent reader :)

promding chamimay said...

last week ko pa to nabasa pero ngayon lang ako makikireply... :-) hehehe im not good in writing pero this is also what i had in mind... i mean im not to be asked for colabs dahil wala naman akong shop... but finding this blogger group who seems to be blogging more on the freebies and stuff made me stop doing fashion posts and just stick with my reason for blogging... document my adventures... tapos dagdag na lang ngayon happy mommy moments... :-) natuturnoff ako sa blogs who post a lot about their free stuff... wala lang... :D

gingerbee said...

I've always loved your style and your blog because it's always been you. Not all are branded items, and you are no clone, let me tell you that.

As someone who's working in digital advertising, sometimes it really pains us to contact bloggers and for some that demand sky-high rates. At one point even (she's not a fashion blogger) someone was asking for an unbelievable amount and to think she can't even...write properly.

I hope these new generation of bloggers who grew up reading bloggers, would know how to convey themselves in cyberspace. I mean, they need to know that who they are makes the clothes, and not the brands that make the clothes and themselves.

Yen said...

Weeeh! Loved reading this post! So brutally frank and right on the mark! Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

ok, this post is awesome! so many bloggers out there are mukhang pera and incredibly pretentious. one blogger, who grew up in the country, even said she can't speak tagalog. incredibly pretentious, I tell you.

eyerin said...

meron palang ganun? trending ba ngayon yun? hahahaha Denise ur d best

Lloyda said...

Ika nga.. Why beg when you can just buy?

roanjean said...

Hi Denise! Yes I edit my photos. I use BeFunky most of the time to sharpen and sometimes put filters. Minsan yung sa Microsoft Office lang hehe. Minsan din hindi na kasi baka OA :D

Have a great week!!!

MissGennD said...

Nakakaloka din ung experience ko, sulutan ng contacts para makakuha ng invites for events. Hinde ko alam kung anong habol nya sa events at super kailangan nya un. Walang maisulat na interesting sa buhay nya kaya invents ang tinira. Nakakagulat na meron pa palang mga taong ganon. I never imagined na meron mga di kaaya ayang mga bloggers sa paligid. I always thought blogging world is such a happy place since there's no money involved. I always imagined na blogging is all about sharing ideas, creative minds,, meeting new friends, walang inggitan, walang awayan, good vibes palagi... But my experience proved me wrong. There will always be a few who will really exceed your expectations and leave you in deep awe. But I'm thankful for the friends I gained through blogging. I love your post about this akala ko ako lang nakakapansin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this matter~

Anonymous said...

Bravo Denise! :)

I have a Facebook account mainly for my online shopping and I have received these kind of messages more than 10x already! just received another message today and I posted the link of your blog post lol :) I told her, darling please READ and do yourself a favor.

Thanks for this amazing post Denise.


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