July 8, 2006
blog blog post post cat cat
It just wouldn’t be a blog if it didn’t meander into the two classic blog standby posts – that is the cat post, and the blogging about blogging post.
And now for the real deal – I want to talk about coming out as a fashion blogger.
I have only had regular internet access for a bit longer than a year. I was not one of those kids who “grew up with the internet”. I never had my own computer and accessed the internet only from school or other people’s computers. In high school everyone else had a seperate social life on ICQ that I was left out of. All I knew was that there was all this gossip and social stuff happening between my friends that I could not connect to. Therefore I developed a healthy disdain for the internet as a social networking tool.
By the time I had my own internet access I had forgotten about ICQ and knew nothing of MSN Messenger and Myspace. In my own meandering across the internet my first discoveries were Manolo’s Shoe Blog, spirit fingers, and gaping void. My impression was that “blogging is cool”, and also that the internet could be far more interesting than I had assumed. Like most things I approached it with a lot of curiousity and a lot of research.
I started blogging anonymously. At first I just hotlinked my favourite runway looks from style.com and wrote reviews of the books I got from the library. I was relatively unnoticed, until Julie from Almost Girl and Lesley from fashiontribes gave me my first inbound links and encouraged me to keep going.
I began documenting my fourth year collection at school on finalfashion.blogspot.com and it slowly grew from there. I got a lot of great feedback and support and was amazed to see my audience grow exponentially. I discovered Kathleen’s fashion-incubator, and became fascinated with manufacturing. Almost Girl started the blog carnival phenomenon with the terrific Black Friday Blogging series in November, where we assessed the intersections and divergings of fashion and consumerism. Around Christmas, I bumped into verbal croquis and Julian Roberts online and had my perceptions shaken and became inspired by what was possible.
After Christmas, encouraged by Julian and Kathleen, I came out on a first name basis – no longer anonymous. I finished my collection and my university career and started finalfashion.ca, placing my full name in the header. I started to meet people in real life through the blog. I’m still amazed by the power of connection and communication that have evolved from the blog.
Reactions are mixed. Some people get it and know what I’m trying to do, others don’t and make assumptions without even reading the blog. I was wary originally because of the implications on employment. In the fashion industry, established companies are often very resistant to new technology – and sometimes they should be. There are zillions of “private” blogs out there that are downright compromising in terms of content about personal problems and employers. I’ve never understood the need to share that stuff with the world. My blog is different. Here’s how:
This is a public blog. My name is on the header, and the content is available to everyone, everywhere. I take full responsibility for whatever I write. I make a point of respecting the privacy of the people in my life. I can show what I can do, and write about what I’m interested in. When you google my name or Final Fashion, you’ll automatically find what you want to see – and also what I want you to see. I can demonstrate how dedicated, passionate, and curious I am, and also show that I am articulate and comfortable with media and communication. You can see samples of what I’ve drawn and sewn. You can access me directly and ask me a question. I love meeting my audience and am constantly impressed by the high caliber of my readership.
Should an employer be wary of someone who has a public blog? I think they should be excited. This blog is a labor of love and shows how I spend my free time – if I’m this obsessed, imagine what I can do on the clock. If you’re wary of the blog because you don’t understand new media, imagine how my experience could improve how your company interacts with the world online. If you’re concerned that I’d get snapped away by some more enterprising, clever company, why not be that enterprising, clever company and snap me up? I’m very loyal to those who take a chance on me and help me out.
Everyone is dispensible these days. There’s so many reasons why our businesses and careers could be outsourced tomorrow. The companies that survive and thrive have one thing in common – they are defiantly different. This is no time to be timid – companies that cling to the past or follow the pack are not destined to dominate the future.
It’s uncomfortable to be so transparent, to break with conventional wisdom on how to create a career. But I know that this edge is also my ace in the hole. I have to stand out.