I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately – fashion bloggers who launch their own line. And with the news today, that Alexa Chung is launching her namesake line of contemporary clothing, shoes, and accessories, it got me thinking – who buys these collections?
There is no shortage of bloggers who have launched their own brand:
Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast) – Are You Am I
Emily Schuman (Cupcakes and Cashmere) – cupcakes and cashmere
Julie Sariñana (Sincerely Jules) – Shop Sincerely Jules
Aimee Song (Song of Style) – Two Songs
Elin Kling (Style by Kling, now closed) – Totême
Many bloggers collaborate with larger brands who are closely aligned with their personal brand. Collaborations of this type are opportunities to cross brand and expose each brand to the other’s audience. It allows the blogger a peek into the design and production side of fashion industry without taking on the risk and expense of the complicated start-to-finish process of designing a line. As most know, the cost of launching a brand is enormous. Doing a limited edition of product with Levi’s, Macy’s, Forever 21, Madewell or Coach allows the blogger to test their name in the market alongside a well known brand. All of the bloggers above have done some sort of collaborative collection.
Personal style bloggers have long relied on these sort of relationships as a source of revenue for their own brands, but I think in the past couple of years, the bloggers have decided their name is worth more and believe they can sell on their own. No doubt bloggers have more control over the final product, but no built-in infrastructure design houses and brands. Not to mention a lack of design experience. My confusion is who buys this product? Following a blogger and being inspired by their personal style is very different than investing their money in something they created. There is an implicit trust in the collaborations with well known brands who hire bloggers to design a limited edition of something – but not necessarily in the stand alone blogger-launched division of product.
In my opinion, fashion people, real fashion people do not buy blogger-launched brands. They may wear something gifted to them to support a friend, but that is different. Mostly, I think this is because fashion people don’t need the innate branded quality attached to blogger-launched brands. All of the aforementioned bloggers have very clear personal style, well documented in their blogs and curated Instagram feeds, and their brands are essentially pure extensions of themselves. Most fashion people I know, have a firm grasp on their own style and wearing something designed by Rumi Neely or Elin Kling might imply the opposite. For myself, I feel my authenticity would be compromised – personal style bloggers are famous for the way they dress, not their design talent. Most are hoping their styling talent will translate into successful design skills. Perhaps it will. Perhaps there are enough women out there who are willing to spend money on clothes with a blogger’s name attached.
I have always admired Alexa Chung’s unique style and willingness to take a risk with emerging designers. Retailers are undoubtedly crossing their fingers that her name alone will carry the brand despite Chung’s design experience. A handful of retailers are already on board to carry the line when it launches next Spring.
Tell us what you think – do you buy blogger-launched brands? Why or why not?
Image via Are You Am I website