DOING YOUR OWN THING

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OUR TIPS & TRICKS FOR A HEALTHY & BALANCED LIFESTYLE

doing your own thing

As a public figure, who's professionally active through various social channels, taking other people's opinions and expectations into consideration is a big part of my life. So when I came across this Vogue article yesterday, it went straight to my heart. Not only do I (just as so many other fashion lovers) think of Vogue as one of the pioneers in fashion media, I respect its heritage and cutting-edge journalism. I never agreed with the opinions on Vogue's most prominent figure, Anna Wintour, being an unapproachable ice queen: she's a monument, the ultimate boss, and the way she graciously takes care of her responsibilities is one of the most inspiring achievements for me.

This is to say: when the Vogue editors are discontent with how bloggers and so-called influencers approach the fashion world, I understand where they're coming from. The street style scene, including several outfit changes a day and 'casual' posing in front of dozens of photographers, has a batshit crazy aspect to it. In the same way that the daily lives of famous people are portrayed, or even the life of your next-door neighbour on Instagram or Snapchat, it isn't real.

But what bothers me about the Vogue article is that there is no acknowledgement of the love and creativity that goes into what bloggers do. It's because of pieces like these that I detest describing myself as a blogger or an influencer - not because of the word itself, but because of the associations with it that were created along the way (much like the word feminist, which I believe was only recently released from its slightly hysterical-woman-screaming-for-gender-equality associations by artists such as Queen B and Emma Watson making it okay again). Let's just cut to the chase: there are a lot of bad bloggers out there. Just as there are a lot of very very bad fashion magazines. Simply put, for every segment of the creative media, there's good stuff (made by creatives) and there's bad stuff (made by people who are only in it for the money). But to conclude that all bloggers are fake money-crazed puppets who wake up to eat 1 grape and then go off to have a couple of pictures taken whilst chewing gum and scrolling through their selfies during fashion shows: that's just not right. 

So in the spirit of keeping things real, let me honestly tell you what the Fashion Weeks are like for me. My team and I start prepping months in advance, contacting brands, brainstorming about interesting concepts, arranging hotels, doing research on nice locations in the area, trying to anticipate on upcoming trends, assembling outfits,... - the list goes on and on. The Fashion Month itself is a blur of activities: from fittings, attending shows, taking pictures, connecting with clients, to traveling from NYC to London to Milan to Paris, and writing interesting content with triple jetlags and a constant fear of tripping over your dress or having buttons pop off. That's the way it is. Ironically, in all this craziness, it's my love of fashion and the creativity that's displayed in the shows that keeps me going. I still find it a privilege to witness the amazing creations that the designers have come up with, and it makes my heart jump for joy when I see something I never thought I would. And for the record: I do not as a rule get paid to wear the outfits I so carefully assemble; if I get lucky, I get to keep the clothes that I request, and if not, I send them back to the designers - grateful that I got to wear them and hoping that I did justice to their creativity.

So you see, when I read about how bloggers are heralding the death of style, it upsets me, because I have struggled. It's been 7 years since I decided to focus full-time on Fashionata, and let me tell you that it's been very hard. In fact, in the same sense that my love of fashion keeps me going during the Fashion Month, it's invariably been that same love that kept me going during those first years when no one read my platform and I gained zero income from it. I'm proud of my business, my team, the collaborations we so carefully select, and my general accomplishments - just like Anna Wintour taught me. So instead of fighting the evolution of social media and its impact on the fashion world - why not join forces through our mutual love of the fashion industry's creativity?

 

How do you feel about this? Do you ever struggle with doing you own thing, despite what other people say? I'd love to hear!

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Comments

Hear hear! Great article girl - the Vogue article is clearly written by frustrated journalists with quite a lot of jealousy towards people like you, and other gorgeous HARDWORKING girls who made their way to the top not by being rich, famous or overly pretty but by creativity, love and a lot of hard work, tears and sweat. Keep on doing your own thing - you are doing great!

Even though I do read a lot of blogs, I tend to skip some of them that I've followed for years, simply because they're becoming to commercial. I used to LOVE this blog because it came from your personal viewpoint, you showed us what you liked to wear, with a normal budget. I still remember those webcam-vlogs!
Nowadays bloggers wear the craziest outfits just to be spotted during fashion weeks (it's in those outfits during fashion weeks, that you can separate the bloggers from the real journalists). Bloggers can't smile anymore on pictures (always that same open-mouth shockface on 90% of the photo's) & sadly enough they rarely share their simple daily life stories (and when they do, it feels so very unnatural).
I guess that's why I'm more into the so-called "influencers" & vloggers nowadays, they tend to share more personal content, imperfect photo's & daily life situations. It just doesn't feel like you're still doing your own thing, it's more as if every picture & blogpost should contribute to becoming a well-know blogger. I'd like to see you smile more often :) :) xx

Hi Katrien! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I totally get your point. What people sometimes forget is that it's not so easy to create a platform with high fashion content and include lots of personal details at the same time. This blog started as a way of celebrating my love of high fashion and the creativity that goes with it. Along the way, I had to find my own perspective and voice, in line with the creative teams I worked with. Although I do feel like I always stayed true to myself and did my own thing (of which I'm kind of proud), I definitely acknowledge it has been challenging to determine how much of my personal life I put out there. In any case, bringing more personal content (and keeping it real :)) is one of our most important goals, and I sincerely hope you'll enjoy! :) All my love xx

Very well written and true. Legendary vogue editor, Diana Vreeland knew that it was her duty to show the reader places,clothing, and a lifestyle they couldn't see on their own. Today's Vogue issues are solely filled by advertising dollars. Their shoots and adds, while often beautiful (see almost anything done by Annie Leibovitz) are not an unbiased representation of the very best artists using fashion as their medium, and as a result the genuine fashion enthusiast suffers. The various editor's critical comments about bloggers/ influencers are hypocritical at best and are a blatant display of their fear of the social media change. You and so many other bloggers I follow not only entertain me, but inspire me to fill my days doing more of the things I love by showing me places and clothing that I have not seen on my own (much like Madame Vreeland). Thank you for sharing your fashion month routine, we rarely get to hear the real deal. If I can offer any advice from my 10 years of experience, in a male dominated, corporate America setting it would be... Do not let other people's opinion of you affect what you do. They are going to think and say what they want despite what the truth is. Keep pushing forward, keep breaking boundaries.

This is amazing, I'm so humbled by your words! :) It's challenging to find a great balance between keeping things real and putting inspiring content out there, so this means a lot. Thanks so much! xx

Bravo!!!!! This is such a truthful piece, it's hard being a fashion blogger and standing up for your craft. You can get a lot of side eyes along the way, because being a blogger is seen as a fun little "hobby" . It's hard work, and breaking into the industry isn't just accomplished by snapping a chic ootd. We are journalist, we just went a different direction, and that's ok! Love your blog so much!

Thanks, Bianca, it can indeed be a bit frustrating to deal with all the blogger-misconceptions out there, but I promise to keep doing my own thing! :) Hope you'll enjoy! big kiss xx

This coming from a magazine that keeps giving covers to "models" that have a lot of followers as the only thing to recommend them. It's a bit hipocritical. You keep doing you! Love your blog Xo

Dag Sofie, Ik ben een 'nieuwe' fan en volg je nu sinds een tijdje op Instagram en natuurlijk op deze heel mooi vernieuwde website. Ik ben waarschijnlijk iets ouder dan je gemiddelde publiek (52) maar ben helemaal into fashion en Vogue US is al jaren mijn bijbel en Anna Wintour is mijn Paus :). Ik denk inderdaad dat er heel wat bloggers zijn die om de verkeerde redenen dit werk doen maar iedereen met een beetje gezond verstand kan de 'echte' er toch zo uithalen. Doe a.u.b. gewoon voort met wat je bezig bent. Je harde werk wordt erg gewaardeerd. Ik vind trouwens dat je een on-Belgisch mooie stijl hebt ;)! XX

Sofia well spoken. And there is that one sentence in there which pointing in the right direction. Magazine editors need to stop being afraid of social media and accept it. Try to find a constructive way to shape the future. Love your post! Thank you. You are one of my favorite stylebloggers and I seriously do not have that many. xo Sabina

Well stated, Sophie! The article is not befitting of Vogue Magazine. It is petty, and bordering on gossip. Vogue should know better. And, I agree about the associations with blogging. I am a former journalist, and used to enjoy the prestige that comes along with that title. The title, "Blogger," or "Digital Influencer," is still so new. I believe the profession is still in its infancy, so we "bloggers" are trying to educate people about what we are doing, while also trying to make it a viable business. It's really hard! This type of criticism, which is FAR from constructive, certainly isn't helping matters. Erin