This week, one of fashion’s almighty social media channels was hit by a bomb. Essena O’Neill, Australia’s instagram sensation ( no, I’d never heard of her either ) came out and exposed what those who work in and for fashion, have been trying to hide from you: the fact that most individuals running social media feeds and blogs are indeed masters of conceited perfection.
The perfect lives they perpetuate through their images, are nothing but advertisements in disguise, where one single good image may take hours to achieve, one flat stomach, days without carbs and those perfect clothes, are actually paid posts for product placements.
IMAGES SOURCE: INSTAGRAM
But if I work in fashion, why you ask, am I happy to see the mask drop?
Various reasons really, some derived from disappointment, some derived from concern.
- disappointment, because as the sole owner of self funded independent boutiques, I’ve learnt that in today’s fashion circles, talent and hard work are not always enough for a business to succeed.
You will need connections in the right places, in other words, people who need to use you, as much as you need to use them, and most of all, you need money – lots of it. On top of all the normal running costs of a business and stock buying, in the internet age, the game has changed. You will also need funds to pay for PR machines to “connect” you to the power players, to host extravagant events debuting your business to the press, to gift expensive products for bloggers to “review”, pay for “affiliate programs” agent sites, so they can link your products to a blogger or digital magazine’s site, and everyone can earn commission each time a client purchases one of your products they “recommend”, the list of course, goes on….For instance, have you ever wondered why M & S “fashion” pieces are suddenly featuring all over blogs, digital magazines and high fashion shoots that would traditionally be featuring higher end labels? £££££ talks. Sadly, the vicious circle presented here, is ultimately as detrimental to the consumer as it is for the smaller fashion entrepreneur. Arguably the day will come, when only merged retail giants will exist, leaving the consumer with no choice of where to exercise their buying power.
Now, I personally feel that all is well if such instagram feeds, blogs and the likes, declared themselves as businesses clearly and upfront, by informing their readers that although they approve of, or themselves covet that Chloe dress or Chanel handbag, these were items sent to them for posting, and that they have to return those items, or perhaps that they were gifted, in exchange for a favourable review.
Everyone has to make a living and I don’t see anything wrong with people earning a living through their hard earned followers, but when it is all conceited in the manner of “my recommendations”, please, do me a favour….
If blog businesses were to become better regulated or as morally honest as Amanda of The Online Stylist or Bel of Bel Jacobs, amongst a few others, it would be a move that might just save women from yet another form of mental torture, that keep us aspiring to live up to these dishonest representations of real lives.
- Concern, because as a person whose job is online and hugely reliant on social media, I know only too well the detriment caused to one’s self esteem by the utopian environment we are immersed in. If this conceited world can cause grown women to question their abilities, imagine what it can do to younger men and women whose life’s point of reference, be it for news, communication or social engagements are largely organised via one social media channel or another?
I am hopeful that this brave teenager’s bomb drop will open many eyes – mine are wide open.
Read the full article about Essena here:
Post note: *have you noticed if the blog or digital magazine you may be following favours featuring products from high street chains and online giant retailers? and if when you click on those products, a very brief link/site appears before it links you to the product’s site? if so, that’s the affiliate program commission being registered. Easy money making that would not be as easy, should they feature smaller fashion businesses, who are unable to pay as high commissions to their affiliates.
Information is power, so may we make our choices wisely!!!
Please leave a comment, this is an important issue to be discussed, if not for our own, at least for the sake of the next generation.
Owner/Founder of luxe-layers.com.