Denise Katupinera circa 2006.
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
here's part 2. Fashion Blogging and The Ugly Truth 2.0