Midlands Masterclass

21 March 2011

topshop blogging masterclass

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. 

susie from style bubble and stevie from discotheque confusion

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.

topshop ss11 wishlist

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!

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  1. So glad you filmed some of the masterclass, was worried there wouldn't be any footage of stevie but you got some in at the end so yey. i want to the toppers blogging masterclass during lfw at the oxford street store and susie gave some really interesting insights. it's so important for our blogs to be unique and have that personal touch. i like to think of mine as more of an online diary as i talk about my different experiences in london and not just what i wear.

    well done for avoiding toppers for so long but now you've been in, ahh!! ive been in love with the ann sofie black top for ages now!!

  2. tell me about it, i'm flipping in Blackpool. i have to get an hour train to manchester for anything remotely interesting to happen. still so weird that you're in the same class as one of my bessies!

    interesting stuff yeah, would have been quite surreal i guess, as an experience. for seeing someone you read about every other day then they are directly talking to you.

  3. Great post. Really interesting and great clip of Suzie and Stevie.

    Lovely blog,

  4. It's so silly that I missed this, being from Nottingham and all. So thank you very much for the video! I found it really helped and they made some very interesting points!

  5. Oooh I love that you covered this! It's definitely really interesting when it comes to bloggers and the approach you take. It's so important to follow your heart, it's cheesy but I've definitely seen a lot of blogs out there that start out really similar to other blogs. It definitely takes time to carve out your own blog. Oh and yes, rarely anything takes place outside of the midlands, so it's amazing that it ventured further north to Notts and Liverpool!

    I also adore that red lace dress, I've seen it in white which I am really really really tempted to get but unfortunately have no money!

    Off to watch the rest of your video now :)

  6. I didn't kno< Stevie til she sent me an email two months ago, saying she loved my style and asking for an interview.

    Since, no news, I've been quite disapointed :( But maybe she was too busy.

    Anyway, love Susie so much, so unique and pretty !

    See U !

  7. so refreshing to see something outside of London...now to get it down west country way!

  8. Ooh, thanks for filming this. Interesting stuff. They're both so eloquent as well! Lots to think about... x

  9. I completely know what you mean about balancing your online life and your real life. I feel like it's often the same with school and work colleagues who you may not hang out with outside of the class room or work environment. A school friend of mine and I finally did something outside of campus, and it was so refreshing. It's as if everyone is trained to have multiple personalities.

    Congrats on being listed at 3. That's really wonderful!

  10. i felt so happy for you when i saw this was near you! looks like fun :) xx

  11. Congratulations on making it to the 3rd spot! Wow! You deserve it though your blog is quiet unique :)

  12. This sounds brilliant. I would LOVE it if they brought this to Glasgow for Scottish bloggers and interested folks. I'm glad to hear you say that professional qulaity pics aren't necessary as I've been stressing about the crap quality of some of my pics lately. xx

  13. This is so awesome! Thanks for this.

    Missing Amsie Blog

  14. Yay for the Midlands! I'm pretty much the opposite of you, I hate it when I get invited to events in London that are in the holidays and I'm not there. And you're right, train prices are getting ridiculous!
    Thanks for filming it too, it was really interesting to watch.

  15. Congrats on making it into the Most Wanted Fashion 100!!! I know what you mean - everything seems to happen in London and it's not always easy to get there! Maybe Topshop will consider doing an event in Cardiff... Here's to hoping!! :)

    Great to hear your account of the evening. Thanks.

  16. I love the red lace dress.
    XOXO Nicole, VPV Team Member
    Check us out & follow @ http://www.shopvpv.com/

  17. Wow, thanks so much for videoing thins - it looks awesome! It's so good more events are taking place outside of London, even if it makes usd Londoners pout!

  18. Topshop has a great collection for this season and you can get some cool items for yourself! Misswinit.com has teamed up with the multi-talented Nicole Scherzinger to offer a lucky winner an amazing fashion prize! The winner of this competition will walk away with a bag full of killer new clothes, shoes and accessories, worth £350 from Topshop that Nicole would give the lucky winner on her next visit to the UK. So try your luck and get some Topshop fresh outfits for your wardrobe!

  19. This is really nice! It's the same thing in Nigeria, if it's not in Lagos (fashion capital and former federal capital of Nigeria), then no one knows/cares about it. Really cool blog btw. Now following :)


  20. Such a good event, really glad we made it!

    Ah Mat! [Buckets&Spades] didn't know you read Kbel's blog!! Small world this ey!


  21. really jealous that you got to go to this, would have loved it! so pleased you bought that skirt too because i just got it last week (after aaaages of eyeing it up). really love the swedish summer collection in topshop, they've tapped into my spring/summer dreams, it's been terrible for my bank balance!! x

  22. Thanks for posting this video. I was curious to see how it went!

  23. So glad I stumbled upon your blog from the N.E.E.T. article. I, too, am a college student and blogger. I love how you commented on Blog Life vs. Real Life. I feel like I'm living the same way and most of my friends/family just do not understand. It's so refreshing to be surrounded by a group of people that just completely speak your language. Thanks for sharing!!

    x.o. Mattie

  24. great post, thanks for filming, it was really interesting!