Fashion bloggers are enjoying their moment in the spotlight, and bloggers like BryanBoy, The Sartorialist, and Rumi Neely of FashionToast aremaking major waves in the fashion world. But some fashionistas are pioneering a new style of fashion commentary, called “vlogging,” which combines blogging and videos, mostly posted on YouTube.
Many young women are now vlogging their outfits of the day, asking viewers to “get ready” with them, showing their accessories and where they bought them, and most importantly, showing viewers how to style pieces they never thought they could even pull off.
“Fashion is about expressing yourself,” Jenn Im, co-founder of YouTube channel ClothesEncounters told Korean Beacon in March of this year. “That realization was liberating and the clothes I wore became a way to express what I’m feeling internally externally.”
Im’s channel—with 156 videos at last count and 234,000 subscribers—includes her style tips as well as tidbits from her life, like Im’s exploits at concerts, and a glimpse into her Northern California home. Many of Im’s videos are “hauls,” or videos in which she shows off what she’s bought recently and then wears the items.
It’s not just Im, however. Take Amy Lee of Shop Vagabond Youth. Her channel contains 100 videos, which have earned her a little over 50,000 subscribers. Lee never outright decided to make fashion videos, they were just creative ways to display her style and bring visitors to her blog.
She believes vlogging can only take you so far if you’re boring.
“Fashion blogging through photos is simply to display what you wore and how you wore it,” said Lee. “There’s not too much communication and has more of a ‘take it or leave it’ feel. Without a didactic approach, videos can be boring and almost narcissistic when simply and only displaying an outfit.”
Stephanie and Melissa Venezuela of The Fashion Citizen began vlogging for a completely different reason.
“This might sound like a silly answer, but there’s not much to do here in Arizona,” said Stephanie. “So one day we bought a camera and decided to bring it with us to the thrift store.”
The duo’s videos focus mainly on looking good for less.
Other Youtubers have experienced Internet fame as well.
There’s Shirley B. Eniang, a British vlogger, whose videos on beauty and fashion have garnered almost 160,000 subscribers.
Heavily edited videos, how-tos, whimsical stories about shoes who wish to be heels, and love letters to cities she’s traveled to have given Wendy’s Lookbook a little over 300,000 subscribers.
These vloggers seem to be living the high life while reaping the benefits. Once notoriety accrues, vloggers can get paid specifically to do videos and also gain other exciting perks. Im was invited to New York Fashion Week because of her videos. Britney Balyn of Britkneegirl does collaboration videos with other YouTubers.
“We’ve had the chance to collaborate with companies we like on videos and giveaways, we are able to introduce our viewers to companies they may have never heard of before,” said Venezuela. “We are also lucky enough to profit from our videos, we are able to pay for the necessities and have a little left over to splurge sometimes.”
While vlogging has paid off for many, not everyone is convinced that making videos is a medium for expressing style. Some believe it is pure narcissism.
Nancy Jo Sales wrote an article about vloggers in 2010 for Vanity Fair’s online section. In it, she called out fashion vloggers for being inarticulate and secretly insecure.
They’re narcissists, exhibitionists, and materialists, wrote Sales. “Some haul vloggers get hundreds of thousands of hits—and land contracts with makeup and clothing companies interested in seeing them promote their products.”
There is even a website, Guru Gossip, in which quotidian users can vent or gush about the girls on the other end of their laptops. Some YouTubers, such as Sammi of BeautyCrush have been subject to harsh criticism from commenters.
Opinion is definitely divided over the issue of filming yourself wearing clothes, but fans are definitely appreciative.
On just one of Im’s videos, the comments range from “You are the one guru whose opinion and style I totally trust” to “you are the most prettiest perfect ever” to “JENN. WHY ARE YOU SO BEAUTIFUL. Like my brain can’t register your beautiful-neess. UGH,” it seems that they all have reason to continue their endeavors.
“I realize haul videos can be helpful,” said Lee. “For outfit of the days, it is assumed that their purpose is for others to draw inspiration from, and anyone who is in the community understands that it isn’t an outlet for narcissism.”
She also offers a piece of advice for anyone seeking only fame from vlogging.
“In my opinion, one should never do anything in the pursuit of fame but rather in the pursuit of sole happiness,” she explained. “Therefore, if you like vlogging your style, you should do it. If you like money and fame, you should’ve been born as Miley Cyrus.”