off the cuff
From street to blogosphere: How style blogs like Fashiontoast and The ManRepeller are shaping fashion coverage
There is a movement taking place in fashion fueled more by the looks of personal style than major design houses and fashion magazines.
Designers have often looked towards street style in search of inspiration for their latest collections, and cyclically, we all ultimately look to the runways for cues on latest trends. Whether we are sitting front row at NYFW, casually flipping through the pages of Vogue, or "fishing through the department store clearance bin" (think of the infamous cerulean sweater scene in the Devil Wears Prada), fashion plays an undeniable role in our lives.
We are influenced by the designers, and the designers are influenced by us.
Anyone can take a look straight from the runway or purchase expensive designer pieces and throw them on, but what’s really intriguing is how real people are putting things together.
Now, there is a new voice too loud to be ignored by the world of fashion; cue the personal style blogger. Over the last five years, creative, young fashion conscious women (and men, meet BRYANBOY) have been building their own careers in fashion based on a very valuable asset: Personal style.
Rumi Neely, the blogger behind Fashiontoast, made her debut in 2008 doing outfit posts with her photographer boyfriend after visitors to her eBay store wouldn’t stop asking what shoes she was wearing in her pictures. In a little over a year’s time Fashiontoast was drawing in more than a million hits a month.
Her blog’s success transformed her career, offering her trips to New York and Paris, a modeling contract with NEXT Model Management, and design collaborations with brands DANNIJO and RVCA, among others.
The latest personal style contender in the blogosphere and new “it” girl is 22 year old Leandra Medine, blogger behind The Man Repeller. Medine has created her success on her original sense of humor and specific sense of style which includes anything extravagant or dramatic south of the ankles, mixing prints, and lots of layering.
She has coined terms such as “arm party”, “sartorial contraceptive”, and the now blog-ubiquitous phrase “man repeller," all referring to a type of dressing that celebrates the fashion savvy woman but will undoubtedly ward off men.
"I think she tapped into something here. She is relating fashion to feminism. She is saying women dress for themselves,” said Medine’s mother during an interview with the New York Times.
Whatever she is saying is working; Medine’s message has been so powerful she has garnered over 35,000 followers on Twitter and over 16,000 likes on Facebook. Like Neely, Medine has since been offered design collaborations with DANNIJO and Gryphon, asked to walk in the Rebecca Minkoff fashion show and been invited to attend a slew of shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Medine credits the power of social media for her quick rise to success, saying “It's made the internet accessible for everyone [and] it’s given people the opportunity to become someone for no reason.”
There is no denying the power of social media here, but what Rumi Neely and Leandra Medine are offering their readers is a certain uniqueness and originality in their writing and styling that differentiates them from thousands of other bloggers out there. Anyone can take a look straight from the runway or purchase expensive designer pieces and throw them on, but what’s really intriguing is how real people are putting things together.
What these girls are doing has started a movement; not only have they landed themselves on the runways at fashion week, they have changed who we are looking to for inspiration.
Want to join the movement? Start following these girls. Or better yet, start blogging.
Lindley Arnoldy writes a fashion and style blog, The Flip Side.