It's pretty much a dead cert that most fashion related events will take place in London. It's as if anywhere above the M25 doesn't exist (I was guilty of such thoughts before I came to University) and automatically becomes The North, far away and not worthy of a visit by PRs. It's also tricky to get invited to things in a city you consider home before realising that you're not currently there and would need to book a return train ticket that seemingly increases in price every hour. Luckily the tide is turning; I was most surprised to see that there would be a blogging masterclass in Topshop Nottingham (my old place of work) featuring Susie Bubble and Stevie Mackenzie Smith. They're both blogging heavyweights who I have been 'following' (sounds creepy I know) for quite some time and I wanted to find out how they've dealt with being the pioneers for this new form of media. Quite happily, I abandoned my knitting and made my way to the shop sharpish, breaking my 7 week Topshop avoidance in the process and was pleased to see a crowd forming in the middle of the store. I'd originally found out about the event on Twitter, but I know that not everyone is as addicted as me, so it was interesting to see how far the news had spread. In the spirit of Blog Life vs Real Life, I also brought some friends with me in the hopes that they could understand my Internet obsession a little more.
I've been blogging for just over two years now and although the journey hasn't been perfect, I've pretty much figured out most things as I've gone along, so I wasn't necessarily looking for tips at the event. Being a social media addict, I welcome any experience which allows us to leave our laptops and see blogs in their offline form, understanding more about the person first hand. I'd read a lot about Susie before via various sources but I was looking forward to hearing more about Stevie's perspective; it really was an inspired pairing as both had very different approaches to blogging but shared the common need to document fashion in a personal way. I wasn't planning to film the masterclass but it just seemed like the best way to capture the evening and retain information. Unfortunately I didn't film the whole hour or so (my arm was pretty knackered from all the knitting and my memory card needed a bit of a cull) but hopefully you can get a sense of what the event was like.
What I took from the evening was that blogging exists as a new way to consume fashion and can run alongside, rather than replace traditional media. It's not merely just having the information but what you do with it and it's important to share the way you personally experience fashion, whether by shooting outfit posts or viewing collections up close yourself. Don't do what magazines can do better, but instead play to the strengths of being an accessible and interactive resource. Susie came across as very honest and grounded, stating that she treats Glamour's Young and Posh as a freelance writing job and as a way of bringing her blog to a different and perhaps less understanding audience. She also insinuated that if you start to believe your own hype, it can only go downhill and even referred to something as 'just for lols' showing that she really knows how to connect with an audience. I admired Stevie's use of webcam photos in her bedroom, which stand out in a sea of bloggers using cameras larger than their heads and posing in glossy locations. Of course there's nothing wrong with this (after all I'm slowly saving up for a Canon DSLR myself) but it's great that she's doing what comes naturally to her blog and sharing quick photos for an intimate feel. It really shows that the message trumps the medium and you don't need fancy camera skills to inspire an audience. Maybe the DSLR can wait?
I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the workshop (there's another great post about the evening here) and what recent reflections you might have been having about fashion blogging. It was certainly an insightful evening, which definitely made me think about the direction I want to take with this blog once my degree is over. Hopefully I'll be back in London before there's another similar event within the M25, but it'd be great if they could take this to even more cities around the country with a variety of different bloggers. I really love how everyone can take an individual approach but still contribute and become a vital part of this new way of experiencing fashion.
So now I've entered a Topshop store, I'm prepared for all hell to break loose. My staff discount is no more so I have to now face the harsh reality of their prices and really be sure before I commit to a purchase. Like this skirt. Through the magic of the internet, I saw it on the lovely Elisabeth a few days ago (I am forever copying her wardrobe) and decided to buy it to counteract all the midi-love. Not content with store visits, I have also been browsing the website to see what their Spring offerings are like. I really love the Erdem inspired dress but at £48 (minus NUS) it will take some serious consideration. What have you been loving in Toppers recently?
Speaking of all this blogging talk, I was pleased to see that I Want You To Know is number 3 in the Ones to Watch category of the Most Wanted Fashion 100! I really like how they've included such a variety of blogs and am thrilled I've made the cut!