Tuesday, 1 March 2011
On the relationship – or surprising lack of one – between talent and success in fashion blogging + Obsessive Coolness relaunch
Those of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed my new mission statement (found to the right under ‘About Obsessive Coolness’), and I’d like to start with that. So, without further ado:
“Obsessive Coolness is a fashion and lifestyle blog for the new times. We do not believe in the fashion mantra of all glamour, no substance. We do not believe that being a good fashion source equates merely to thin genes and a privileged allowance. We believe in good journalism: we promise that you will always find good writing and solid reporting here at Obsessive Coolness.
The author of Obsessive Coolness is a healthy size 6 and does not intend to shrink to fit the tiny box that fashion dictates bloggers and anyone else in the industry must fit into. She believes in good food as well as good fashion, and thinks moderation is always better than starvation. She believes in the brilliance of the women the fashion industry pigeonholes as ‘average’. She believes in beauty, not bullshit.”
Where am I going with all of this? Well, let me ask you something. Have you ever looked at a piece of modern art and thought, “Yeah, I could probably do that. It’s just a black square on a piece of large white paper. Why is this piece of inexplicable ‘art’ worth more than my apartment? My 5-year-old niece could probably replicate that perfectly.”? And have you ever heard someone busking in the street and thought, “Why on earth aren’t they at Julliard or playing sell-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall?”? I know I have.
It appears that the relationship between talent and success is not as straightforward as it would seem. The hard truth about life is that while miracles do happen, perhaps more often than we know or hope, and that dreams do come true, for the vast majority of people, having talent and working hard does not equal the success that one most likely merits.
Why is this exactly? Why is it that some people succeed, while others – who are usually equally talented, if not more so – flounder? Why aren’t those incredible violinists on the street corner playing to more attentive audiences dressed rather more nicely, and for more than the odd coin thrown into their instrument case? Frankly, it can be any number of things, including lack of money, exposure or luck. Whichever it is, it sucks.
How does all this relate to the fashion world? you might be wondering. This sad scenario is manifest in the fashion bloggers who seem to be popular simply because they happen to be thin (lucky them!) and attractive (lucky them!) and possess large allowances to spend on net-a-porter (again, lucky them!). Of course, many of said bloggers thoroughly deserve their success, don’t get me wrong, but have you noticed how much said success seems to rely on luck? With all due respect, some currently popular bloggers seem to have simply been lucky – to have fallen into success by the grace of God. But what about those bloggers who work hard at their craft, who – God forbid – aren’t naturally a size zero or have rich parents or a well-paying job and who aim to create their circumstances rather than fall into them, honing their talent and actively trying to gain expertise?
I’ve seen so many amazing fashion blogs out there that rival the best, yet for some reason do not have the same recognition. But it is surely not for the lack of one thing: hard work. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve spent countless hours researching the right camera & lens for fashion photography (and then saving up for them!), pencil editing/analyzing Vogue/style.com/the Cut articles so I can replicate them in some way and thus hopefully produce some sort of coherent analysis of fashion, learning as much about the industry as I can, applying for fashion writing jobs on craigslist in cities in which I do not even reside, editing anything I can get my hands on, reading more materials than a matriculating law student, and writing hours of copy in the car (often in the dark) while travelling to and from fencing training and competitions – and that’s the shortlist.
There’s a saying: beauty is only skin deep. I don’t believe this bull crap for a minute. While our society may be obsessed with superficial (in the true meaning of the word: surface) beauty, I believe that real beauty is given depth and meaning with substance. Think of a gorgeous piece of classical music performed with all the passion and informed technique of a professional musician and you’ll understand what I mean.
Therefore, I would like to announce the relaunch of Obsessive Coolness under the following terms:
- I have neither the ability to never wear a piece of clothing twice nor a size zero figure to offer you. What I do have, and will offer to you unconditionally, is a potent mixture of sharp observation, on-the-pulse reporting, honesty, and the ability to actually write.
- As a girl obsessed with fashion and a proud representative of the 99% of the global population not endowed with supermodel proportions (and someone who believes that those two attributes are not mutually exclusive!), I will bring you the most figure-friendly cuts of the latest fashion trends – from catwalk to closet, as it were. After all, we are none of us a clothes hanger!
- In an effort to do my part to bring to light those brilliant and underappreciated fashion talents, I will be frequently showcasing lesser-known fashion bloggers on Obsessive Coolness in the hopes of giving them a little more in the way of the exposure they deserve. And, in the rather unexpected event that Obsessive Coolness garners a large following sometime in the very distant future, I will dedicate even more of my time to doing so, in the hopes that I can promote deserving fellow bloggers. So if you’d like to be featured here, email me! Don’t be shy – I want to hear from you.
- In the spirit of both fashion and supporting unsung heroes, I will soon be hosting a rather unusual giveaway in celebration of the Obsessive Coolness relaunch: I will be offering readers a chance to win a fashion gift package, including a Marc Jacobs leather portfolio and a piece of unique jewellery, and I will also be doing something rather more ‘substantial’ – upon reaching 300 followers, I will sign up for a Organ Donor card (donors being unsung yet extremely deserving heroes, in my opinion). Consider it a follower-as-currency-sponsored virtual marathon. More details to follow.
Finally, I would just like to say a huge thank you to all my readers, new and old. I appreciate your support more than anything, and I hope you’ll stick with me on this wild ride of mine!