Outfit blogging? Yes, it’s a trend triggered by those with a need to share their personal style with the world. The blogs feature picture diaries of the bloggers’ attire, styling process and just about everything from high-end fashion to street buys. The highlight, however, is tickets to Lakme India’s Fashion Week where an entire row has been reserved for fashion bloggers, writes Esther Elias
When reporters Sonu Bhora and Jasleen Gupta teamed up to begin a fashion blog of their daily outfits, all they had was a basic digicam and a keen sense of style. Three years later, with over 40,000 hits a month, 350 posts and 700 followers, Fashion Bombay is among India’s top outfit blogs.
Reminiscent of extended profile picture folders, outfit blogs are online picture diaries of the blogger’s daily attire, accompanied by a detailed explanation of the styling process. In India, fashion blogs that dole out how-tos or follow Bollywood and Hollywood red-carpet wear proliferate, but outfit blogs are a recent trend. “When we began in 2009, there were just a handful of us and we all knew each other,” says Karishma Rajani of Purple Peeptoes fame. “Today, there are at least 200 Indian outfit bloggers, mostly 17 to 25 year-olds with day jobs. And new bloggers spring up each day,” says Tanvi Rastogi who runs the online community — Indian Fashion Bloggers, and one of India’s earliest outfit blogs — The Fabulous Life of the Not-so-rich and Infamous.
The necessity to share their personal style with the world is the mother of invention for outfit blogging. Karishma began by shooting herself on a two megapixel phone camera, while Jasleen and Sonu skipped tea-breaks in office to click each other. Outfit blogging works because it is real women in wearable clothes on regular days with their flaws not photoshopped out. “We’re far from size-zeroes flaunting mini-skirts in high heels on ramps. Flab is not myth, so people relate to us,” says Sonu.
“Fashion depends on accessibility for me. I see Diana Penty on Vogue’s July cover and she looks gorgeous but that’s almost unreal,” says Kavya D’Souza, Streak Hue Fall. To bring fashion down to earth, most outfit bloggers explain where each piece they’re wearing in every picture has been acquired from, even the nail polish on their toes. The result is a workable mix of high-end fashion and street buys. “I grew up wearing things from Colaba Causeway and Hill Road. So even today, I incorporate stuff off the streets that’s 100 bucks but still looks fabulous,” says Kavya. “Finding clothes for a steal and creating countless outfits with the same wardrobe is the joy of outfit blogging,” says Bangalore blogger Megha Varshini, Stilettos Diary.
Most bloggers spend hours online, obsessively following International and Indian blogs. Therefore, they are inevitably influenced by runway fashion. “What looks exceptional on foreign runways will probably not suit my Indian body type. So I grasp ideas from abroad, but incorporate it into what I wear everyday,” says Mumbai based Aayushi Bangur, Style Drive.
Before you dismiss outfit blogs as solely narcissistic ventures, it may help to know many Indian bloggers have received recognition from international brands such as FCUK, American Apparel, Pret-Amoda, Aldo and La Senza who now sponsor them online. HP recently gifted a few bloggers, their new HP Envy Ultrabook, to feature in a post casting the laptop as a fashion statement. “I only endorse brands that fall in line with my personal style because if it doesn’t, it looks gimmicky and readers notice immediately,” says Arushi Khosla, Bohemian Like You.
Spin-offs from outfit blogging have been tremendous. Jasleen and Sonu gave up news reporting to work as full-time stylists for celebrities, magazines and websites that reach them through their blog. Kavya landed her job as a fashion and beauty editor from an employer who followed her work online. Aayushi has even begun an online store of clothes and accessories hand-picked by her. The highlight, however, has been tickets to Lakme India’s Fashion Week where an entire row has been reserved for select fashion bloggers. Some have even been requested to preview designer’s collections.
Despite all the international attention, most outfit blogs remain highly personalised spaces reflecting bloggers’ growth. Kavya, for instance, intersperses her pictures with poetry inspired by the look and Lesly Lobeni from LazyManxCat talks more of her cat obsession than of fashion. Even as models for their outfits, they’ve evolved from eyes-on-the-ground awkward poses to learning how to work the camera, says Sonu.
For now, most outfit bloggers are concentrated in the bigger cities but the rage is catching on in smaller places as well. Styling Scholars is an irregular blog of headless pictures shot on a basic camera by two anthropology research scholars from Shillong. Despite their anonymity, they’ve caught the attention of India’s biggest bloggers for their quirky outfits. Proof enough that all you really need, is an eye-catching sense of style.
Keywords: Fashion blogs