11:34, the clock silently rings. There is sadness in my heart and my soul is tearing itself apart. I’m struggling to sleep knowing the struggle every woman faces on a daily basis. A patriarchy that won’t die. Crime being justified. It’s been a week of fire for women. But this isn’t because of current affairs in South Africa. It’s because I don’t know how much longer we can fight on. Women are the strongest because we endure.
I have both seen a surge and decline of blogs. Everyone, everyone is doing the same thing. I find myself unmoved by my favourites these days. Aspirations to be the same is slowly dwindling. I remember the bubbling excitement that had appeared with every new post. The rush of knowing someone, somewhere took five minutes out of their life to read my work. My work.I still am excited when I know someone is reading the content I work hard on. But what am I working towards?
I suppose my perspective on the industry has changed. Locally and internationally. It seems to be a train halting for the industry workers who just don’t have the funds to grow their brand and influence. It’s all a bit fuzzy, the way I’m feeling right now. I am said person, I do not have the funds to put out an aggressive marketing campaign. I am also not the hardest worker when it comes to my digital brand. But so are the many, many individuals who have made it to the top with writing so dreadful and initial sites that looked as if they were created on paint. Money seems to be the core of this industry. Harsh but true.
I have maintained the stance that the reason this space was created, was to write. Writing is my escape, like many others and that I cannot own. It isn’t an exclusive hobby that only certain individuals are allowed entry into. Indeed, I am the harshest critic of my content. I am not the best. I really am truly not the best. But I appreciate a good piece of work and am often left disappointed with my favourites. I have had a difficult time accepting 34 photos with one liner posts. Yet it is these individuals that are at the top of the industry.
Fashion is art. Another stance I will defend forever. So it is only appropriate that fashion blogging is an extension of that. What isn’t art (personal view), is putting together ONLY luxury brands and expecting me to be interested and worse, inspired. You want to inspire me? Well then I need to be able to relate to you. I will never wear a 20 000ZAR outfit (in totality) and take out photo’s in Maboneng, to get more hits (general observation). That is not me. Fashion blogging is a mix. It should be a mix. I should be able to walk into MRP, Legit, H&M, JET and find pieces that I can put together as a reflection of inspiration I gained from your work.
Lifestyle and perspective blogs get pushed to side. I love reading raw work. I love reading up on architecture and technology. Yet only fashion seems to come out on top. There are so many brilliant sites that I come across on a daily basis, that is no where compared to a site with only photos of clothes. Maybe its us humans. We are superficial beings. We gravitate to pretty popular things.
I have observed individuals funded by fathers, husbands, fish etc. rise to the top so rapidly because their marketing campaigns are created by companies who are, well paid to do that. Here I am, googling my way through, to make the UX experience acceptable. Here I am, playing social media manager by night, because I cannot afford an intern on Prêt á Revi(and I wouldn’t want to pull a Marie Clare move). Here I am, writing actual substance. Here I am, being ignored by PR companies, because I am not quite what they’re looking for. Here I am, being invited to one or two events a quarter, that too only after begging for an invitation. Yet here I am, happily accepted as media to South African Fashion Week. What am I missing?
What do I need to do? To break into an industry I have been chasing for four years (almost five)? Do I wish I had a pet fish to sponsor me a professional website revamp and expensive clothes? Obviously. It’s so disappointing to realise I need to buy ridiculously priced products to even be recognised by brand heavy weights. I need to wear clothes that are worth more than what 75% of South Africans earns a month. I need to know people to get somewhere, except every one I have had the opportunity to meet – snubbed me. As if I was some sub-human species that has no idea what I am talking about (actual fashion week experience).
Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way attempting to attack the Alpha’s in the industry. I know that some of you have worked extremely hard to build your base and make connections. I salute you. The money, influence and fame followed. Your influence and connections are your advantage. You are what us industry workers should be aspiring too. I cannot compete against “influencers” who have paid their way into the industry. I cannot compete against bloggers who have genuinely worked for where they are. I can be bitter about my lack of opportunities. I guess there are some parties that need a perspective change.
Brands out there, it’s time to allow more of us wide-eyed hopeful bloggers who don’t have bank balances that are as long as our ID numbers, IN. You and I both are know, that digital is the new world. If we restrict it to a few individuals only, how do we expect to bring in fresh perspectives? How do we appeal to more individuals? How does your brand translate to the average income individual? Maybe that isn’t your target market. I can’t argue with that. But I also cannot help feeling like you are limiting yourself to just a handful of bloggers.
You and I, yes us. The industry workers that push on in the hope of recognition. It is disheartening when you realise, that everyone seems to be doing so much better than you. It sucks when stand on your podium, proud of your work and there’s tumbleweeds where the audience should be. You may not have the funds to enter cool kids club of blogging as yet. But if you have to beg your way in, you have to do it. Keep at it, money may get you in and leave you on the guest list. Talent is what people remember though.
To the bloggers that have made it big by paying your entrance fee into the industry – take note. Please stop selling the idea, that getting invited to media releases and receiving free goods for review is easy. It isn’t, which is why you had to pay to get recognised in the first place. Please stop assuming everyone that hasn’t made it as yet, hates you and what you stand for. We hate the idea of easiness you portray when it’s a complete lie.
These are just observations after all.
I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment. It should be one of the best times of my life. Planning my wedding, starting a new life…But it’s not. A wedding a few months ago and I remember how everyone glided gracefully around the bridal couple. We all knew what an exciting time it was for the couple and we went out of our way to make sure they were happy. Me on the other hand, apparently everyone is competing for first prize in “Who can make the Bride-To-Be cry the most?”
I am fully committed to the success of Prêt á Revi, I am also fully committed to survival. It’s a struggle when I get home, in between shallow attempts at studying and trying to juggle it all. I am so restless at the moment that it has momentarily induced writers’ block. I do not know why I have committed myself to so many projects while studying and planning a wedding. It is frustrating that I am not checking off items on my To-Do list.