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Style bloggers bring fashion to the masses

During the spring/summer 2010 ready-to-wear shows, the biggest trendwasn’t the micro mini or the transparent blouse — it was the styleblogger.

During the spring/summer 2010 ready-to-wear shows, the biggest trend wasn’t the micro mini or the transparent blouse — it was the style blogger.

“Previously fashion was so alien and so hierarchical,” explains street-style photographer Scott (The Sartorialist) Schuman in last weekend’s Financial Times feature. “Bloggers show the average person that they too can be part of it.”

But fashion bloggers are only part of the story: More and more, websites and bloggers are changing online show and tell. No longer is watching ourselves, and each other, a narcissistic compulsion. We are becoming more visual in our tastes, and increasingly determining fashion trends online.

Take Tavi Gevinson, the 13-year-old style blogger who’s been called in that same Financial Times piece a “phenomenon.” While her runway commentaries are insightful and her squee-ish love for certain designers is endearing, it’s the what-I-wear outfit postings on her Style Rookie blog that garnered her that September cover for British style magazine Pop.

Sure, Gevinson’s just playing dress up — but she isn’t alone in her bedroom doing it. She’s posting it on her blog, and sharing it with others.

I first discovered Gevinson last year on Lookbook.nu, “a simple digg-type platform where Gen Yers around the world are posting their fashion creations and getting rated by their peers” (Business Weeks’ words, not mine).

The viral capability of Lookbook.nu (and other outfit-sharing networks like Chictopia and Weardrobe) removes the middle man, offering something print fashion magazines still find challenging: Bringing fashion from the runway to the real-world.

Websites Polyvore and Looklet allow fashion-forward people the chance to mix and match outfits by dragging and dropping images of clothing into their own fashion spreads and onto virtual models.

Polyvore and Looklet are fast garnering advertisers because they’re redefining e-commerce: We’re no longer pleased to just zoom into the clothing, we want to style and share it, and then maybe buy it. In a profile on Polyvore, the New York Times reported how the site’s unique user traffic was 25 per cent more than Vogue’s Style.com.

So brands have jumped the wagon: Earlier this year, American Apparel featured Karla Deras, a popular outfit blogger on Chictopia, in an ad campaign for their California Selects vintage collection.

And Gevinson? Well, she posted an outfit inspired by the '70s cult film Harold & Maude. When upstart label Rodarte revealed its upcoming Target collection, the press reported how some of the pieces were inspired by the film. (Gevinson’s followers weren’t surprised: she’s Rodarte muse, and helped them with the collection.)

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