Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Bloggers in business"/ "Want fries with that?"

Mar. 9, 2017 "Bloggers in business": I cut out this article by Jodie Sinnema in the Edmonton Journal on Nov. 28, 2014.  It was about blogging and I blog, so of course I had to read it:

EDMONTON – They aren’t making close to $1 million like their elite counterparts in the United States, but Edmonton fashion bloggers are starting to turn their fashionista hobbies into potentially lucrative businesses.

Already, local bloggers are influencing tens of thousands of people worldwide who follow them on Instagram and admire a style that seems far more attainable and personal than that on stick-thin models.

“Fashion magazines are still doing OK (but) they’re not doing as good as they did,” said Janis Galloway, who started fashion blogging in 2009, when there were only a handful of young, local women posting fashionable photos of themselves on the web. “I think around that time, 2009, 2010, people were so sick of looking at photo-shopped images of skinny models wearing clothing they are never going to be able to afford and all of a sudden this blogging came along. ‘Oh, this is a real person with a real body.’ ”

While critics suggest the endeavour can be narcissistic, or the posts on Outfits Of The Day, boring and self-centred, fashion bloggers provide an empowering alternative to runway fashion.

Galloway began by posting general photos of stylish things she saw in stores, then progressed to posting photos of herself in outfits (mostly vintage), her head purposefully cut out of the frame because she felt silly and terrified. Family and friends were her chief blog followers, but when she began including her face in her posts, and writing about Edmonton models, designers and boutiques, her popularity skyrocketed. Suddenly, she had 25,000 hits each month to her blog site.

“It’s attainable clothing, and especially if it’s someone in your city, you can say you can buy this here,” Galloway said. It’s a bigger scale version of asking a co-worker at the water cooler where she bought her shoes or sweater. “Almost the democracy of fashion was starting to happen.”

There are now hundreds of fashion bloggers based in Edmonton, some with niches such as do-it-yourself crafting, thrifting for second-hand clothing or postings for larger-sized women.

After her day job as a visual trainer for the Reitmans Group of stores (making sure they all have the same look and feel), Lyndsey Forest, 25, spends most evenings working on her fashion blog called Over My Styled Body. Her boyfriend takes most of her photos, a phenomenon common for many fashion bloggers, meaning breakups can be a career minefield.

It’s a lot of work: making a schedule of blog posts, since she receives free products in the mail from companies every other day and has a waiting list. She then uses Reward Style, an American-based invite-only company that helps bloggers monetize their postings. Forest finds her exact outfit — the sparkly dress from Tobi, for instance, a bag from Le Chateau — or even similar replicas online at the Reward Style website, then uses the provided links on her blog.

If her fans click the link, then buy that item online or even another item from the same store through that link, Forest earns a commission. Most companies offer five to 10 per cent of the cost, she said. While that might bring in 90 cents on one item, Forest could earn $30 to $40 if someone purchases an expensive dress from Anthropologie.

“Bloggers that wear all the name-brand looks, they’re generating quite a bit of revenue,” Forest said. “Some bloggers can make up to $30,000 a month.”

So far, Forest brings in an average of $300 to $400 a month.

“Some months I make more, some months I make less. That’s the game of blogging,” she said.

In the last two years, Forest has also earned 6,000 blog fans, 10,000 followers on Instagram and has another 16,000 to 18,000 connections through a fashion app called Pose.

“I think everyone likes to look into other people’s lives a bit and see what they’re wearing and they’re curious.”

Forest said she only blogs about items and styles she loves to wear and doesn’t accept freebies she wouldn’t blog about normally.

“I’ve never really felt used in that sense (by companies wanting promotion),” she said. “I’m pretty stern about what companies I will work with … I see it more as I’m collaborating and it’s more of a partnership with the companies.”

That’s the difference between fashion bloggers and models, Galloway said. Models wear whatever clothes they’re asked to. Bloggers have a collaborative relationship with companies because companies are starting to need them.

“People want to be told by someone they trust what to buy. They don’t want to hear it from companies anymore,” Galloway said. “I think that’s what brands are recognizing, is bloggers — they have dedicated fans already. They have an authentic following of people who are interested in them and follow them so the benefit of partnering with a fashion blogger is that you’re going to get something unique. It’s not a billboard.”

But that’s the conundrum for fashion bloggers: in some sense, they are advertisements.
When Galloway became known as the Dress Me Dearly face after the name of her blog, savvy businesses began noticing her and started sending free items her way.

“That was really exciting in the beginning,” Galloway said. “But then you have this, ‘Oh, I got this free product,’ (and) you feel obligated that you now have to blog about it.”

Galloway began sending unsolicited items back and has largely stopped posting fashion photos of herself. She says the biggest bloggers in the United States remain thin and beautiful and are now all wearing high-end clothing.

“Capitalism gets its hands on everything,” she said. “Marketing has got a hold of blogging and is now in control of it.”

Not that Galloway is against fashion bloggers or marketing. Her own blog connected her with the fashion world in Edmonton and now, she makes a living as a fashion ambassador of Simons, Doc Martens and French Connection, and works as a personal stylist, among other contracts.

Yet she believes fashion bloggers have a limited lifespan posting multiple photos of themselves online.

“I think people are getting tired of it now,” Galloway said. “You have to branch out and do something else to survive.”

That’s what Alyssa Lau is doing, working part time in public relations for Coup Boutique and part time selling sustainable and ethical fashion through her new, online store called New Classics Studios. She launched her Ordinary People fashion blog in 2011 with her cousin.
Lau, 22, has become a very popular fashion icon internationally with 32,000 Instagram followers and more than 70,000 hits to her website a month.

Yet she said she’s too lazy to use Reward Style to earn commission on clicks, despite encouragement from her boyfriend, who also takes many of her photos.

“You don’t want to come across like you’re trying to sell everything,” Lau said. “I don’t push myself to make money, I guess. Even though it’s great and I’ve got so many opportunities through it, it’s always been a hobby.”

Yet she has earned between $1,500 and $2,000 monthly by collaborating on projects with companies such as ShopBop and Revolve (online boutiques with retailers around the world).

“I think fashion bloggers are inspiring because you know they’re real,” she said. At the same time, she accepts criticism. “I think that blogging is such a self-centred and egotistical and sartorial activity, I guess, if that’s what you want to call it, and I think as long as you acknowledge that and you still remain more grounded somehow, it’s fine. That’s how I do it.”

"Want fries with that?": I found this article by Lisa Armstrong in the Edmonton Journal on Nov. 28, 2014.

Black sweatshirt patch-worked with flags, demi-shaved, carrot-top quiff, adidas trainers cunningly designed to resemble a kind of two-tone brogue, tofu salad - Jeremy Scott blends right in with the sleek, international crowd murmuring over their lapsang in Claridge's.

The love affair between rap stars - to whom 41-year-old Scott bears far more resemblance than the average fashion designer - and olde-worlde five star hotels is as ancient as the Beastie Boys, and in its way, a clear demonstration of his world-view. "I don't think the distinction between high and low culture exists any more," he says in his soft, considered Missouri tones. "McDonald's, Barbie - they're all icons, recognizable from London to Timbuktu."

True enough. Yet the McDonald's collection he designed for his debut last February at Moschino, the much loved 31-year-old Italian label, achieved the near impossible: it genuinely shocked the fashion establishment. 
The degree of unease it inspired is odd, since Franco Moschino, the label's founder, rejoiced in taking jokey shots at the fashion system. It wasn't just the combination of Big Mac French fries yellow and ketchup red at a house that had, for the past two decades, reliably produced little black dresses and boucle jackets that alarmed. This was a youthquake that rattled the foundations of Milan, that most staid of fashion capitals.

Perhaps because of the rapid, democratising changes in the business brought about by the internet (everyone can critique a fashion show instantly now), it felt too close for comfort. Some of the establishment didn't bother to return for his second show in September . They missed an homage to Barbie, with roller-skating models in platinum wigs, bubblegum pink lipstick and shrunken fuchsia leather. 
"Honestly, it shocks me that people found it so shocking…" Scott says, eyes still popping with what looks convincingly like hurt. But he's not really hurt, he insists. "I'm glad it inspired dialogue, because so few things do today."

Fashion's grander dames may find his world view problematic in an era that fetishizes luxury, and where the accepted business model is to woo the stratospherically rich with artisanally crafted skins and four-ply cashmere. The under-30s adore it however. This is not the aspirational suction they might feel towards a coolly aloof (and way out of their price range) label such as Saint Laurent, another brand that is unashamedly by-passing the approval of respected fashion critics to appeal directly to the youth market, but a genuine affection for a fancy fashion house selling them stuff they can afford.

Moschino's McDonald's phone-cases, (£45), available immediately after that first show, became such a cult that versions created out of real McDonald's cardboard packaging started appearing on Instagram - a post-post-modern joke that tickled Scott mightily. A similar success seems assured for his looking glass, pink rubber Barbie phone case .

It's not exclusively youth who appreciate the levity. At last week's Harrod's launch of Toy, Scott's first perfume for the house, the throng of excitable fans - that probably is the best word - waiting to buy the "woody" scent in its fluffy teddy bear bottle (a tribute to Franco Moschino's 1988 bear-festooned dress), included "at least one eager client who must have been about 70", reports Scott.
But let's not get bogged down in age. Moschino hasn't been this hot since the Eighties. Whether or not it's ironic is a moot point. The queues to get into the Barbie show were unprecedented, with crowds standing three deep at the back. This is not normal in the tightly marshalled environment of fashion shows. 
Scott himself professes to love Barbie and not see any problems with the cultural reach of her unrealistic body proportions. "I really don't see little girls growing up and thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to morph myself so I look like Barbie'…I know that famously in the UK Jodie Marsh [the "glamour model" who has undergone extensive cosmetic surgery on her body] said she blamed all her ills on Barbie - but, no, it's you . You've extended your breasts…Barbie's a doll . That's all. It's make-believe". 
It's possible not to agree entirely with Scott, but hard to dislike him. He is courteous, thoughtful and - unusually in fashion - unpretentious. "I don't care if the critics don't like me. I want to be the people's designer, like Diana was the people's princess. Fashion," he avers, "should be joyous."

I think he really means this. He probably has the least complicated relationship with fashion of any designer I've met. Growing up, it literally saved him.
His teenage years sound very Lord of The Flies. He was beaten up daily, he says, for walking down the street in clothes that didn't meet the approval of his denim-wearing peers. "Missouri was devoid of fashion. No chicante at all. My fashion leaning is a miracle," he muses, although thinking about it, he says, it could be a throwback to his farming grandparents. "My grandmother was always making hats, tea-cosies, out of the plastic bags the vegetables came in." 
At five he was cutting his own hair - nothing unusual about that, apart from the reverberations. "My dad told me the police would come and get me because I didn't have a licence to cut hair. I was so terrified I hid in a cupboard for days. I didn't realize my dad was lying until I was about 12…" He sounds outraged, albeit jokily so.

Perhaps part of him enjoyed the response this transgression provoked. By 14, there he was in cattle country, deciding to become a vegetarian and enrolling in French classes because he'd figured out he needed to end up in Paris in order to design clothes. He stuck out the French, in the face of dwindling attendance from the rest of his classmates. "I remember laughing hysterically the day I left school," he says, "because I realised I never had to see any of those people again."

The path to his chosen career was not smooth. A letter from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, one of America's most prestigious fashion college, informed him: "I was lacking in - let me get this right - creativity, originality and artistic talent. I was shattered. When my portfolio eventually returned, all the art work was folded up into little pieces. Now I can imagine that whoever wrote that letter must have been so horribly upset with their own life, but it's just so…rude." 
Eventually he made it to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and was so thrilled at being accosted by people who wanted to compliment the 1880s and 1980s mash up he was wearing, that he began to look even further afield. At 21 he pitched up in Paris with six suitcases, no money and not a single contact. "To be honest, I hadn't really thought it out."

Some nights he slept on the Metro, but within a year he'd made enough friends to stage his first show. Not many journalists turned up, but one who did hosted a fashion show on French TV and featured Scott prominently. By his third show fashion's elite - including designers Raf Simons (now head of Dior) and Hedi Slimane (Saint Laurent) - were in the front row. Tom Ford later became an unlikely champion.

Six and a half years later, he'd moved to LA (against Anna Wintour's and most of the industry's advice); won the Venus fashion award for best newcomer (twice); picked up a nomination from the CFDA; and forged a successful relationship with adidas. "The people in Paris were completely supportive and charming," he says. "I know that's befuddling, but that's how it was."

Maybe it's his apparent lack of business guile that charms. "I am so not a business man," he insists, recounting how, when he was interviewed by Parson's College, they asked him who he thought his customer might be. "I said, 'I guess that would be my friends', and they said, 'that so isn't going to work' ."

It was prophetic on his part, however: the legions of Scott-ites see him as one of them. Yet for a long time, he didn't seem to harbour any ambitions to sell his clothes at all. "I was so busy sewing every single stitch myself for the show, there was no time to make a selling collection." Around his third show, a woman made her way up to his sixth floor walk-up apartment in Paris's 20th arrondissement to try and persuade him to sell her some pieces.

"She was really getting on my nerves to tell the truth, so in the end I said, 'OK, you can have some samples'." The store she represented turned out to be Colette, the immensely influential concept boutique on the Rue Saint-Honoré. 
LA's sunlit lifestyle suits him, as does its music industry eco system. Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears (most notably in her air-stewardess uniform in the Toxic video) all wear his clothes. Katy Perry, whom he first began dressing when she was making religious music, flew to Milan for his first Moschino show.

It never occurred to him that he couldn't design an Italian label out of LA. Slimane is based there, as is Rick Owens. "It's not as if we all hang out - although I have dinner with Hedi now and then. We're all working really long hours, but that's how the industry is. It's all so international now."

To those who say his humour is a blunter instrument that Franco Moschino's, he responds: "mine isn't ironic. I genuinely love the things I play with in the collections." As for those customers who require camel cashmere coats: "I think there's enough of that out there already.

"To be honest," he adds, looking this camel cashmere lover sweetly in the eye, "I don't really think of that stuff as fashion at all".


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