Is Indian Fashion Blogging Becoming Increasingly Commerical in 2016?


Fashion Blogs, when I first heard about them were a source of inspiration and sometimes, aspiration for the everyday girl. Honestly, I started blogging because I googled till my fingers bled from different search combinations but I simply couldn't find an Indian Fashion Blogger who blogged regularly about affordable fashion. What I found, even back when I started around 3 odd years ago, was that most of the "big" bloggers had mostly sponsored posts. I didn't quite understand how it all worked but I dove in head first anyway.

Through this year, I've found more and more bloggers maybe posting about completely unachievable (for the regular folks anyway) products or getting invited by brands simply because they have a few million followers on social media. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of them have worked hard to reach where they are today, and this is in no way a jealousy post. However, having said that, I feel that somehow, the more "editorial" a blogger's style becomes, it loses its connect with the regular folks on the way. Personally, I want to read a post where the blogger is excited about buying a pair of shoes for Rs. 200 or buying a lipstick that's Rs. 300 but still looks amazing. I squeal with excitement when I read about such things. I want to know how I can wear my Rs. 500 skirt to work and look like a model off a ramp, not where I can buy a Rs. 5000 skirt that's got gold on it. If we look at India as a country, I think we'd realise that most people live a life on a slim income. Is it right then, that the people who have the power to shape young minds tell them to buy a dozen new things every week?

I find myself unfollowing a lot of the bloggers since the content is purely commercial. Many bloggers seem to be nothing but walking billboards for brands. Yes, you're looking brilliant in your Rs. 100,000 shoes but will the girl who read your blog when nobody else was be able to buy it? Its true that we put our best face forward on social media but its not okay for a girl in her 20s to be jet-setting across the globe. Honestly, a girl in college does not have the means to buy business class tickets every month and if she did, I doubt the girl reading her blog does. While its great that you've grown over the years to reach a point where maybe you could afford such trips, but then I don't think the income of your audience has grown in the way. She probably still works her regular 9 to 5 job, comes home and takes care of her bills and looks to you for some form of inspiration.

Somehow, instead of focusing on the essence of it, blogging these days is all about earning a few thousand bucks per post and getting free stuff. I remember how shocked a girl I spoke to was (she was starting her own blog and wanted to know how I do it), when I told her I buy my own clothes for most posts on the blog. " Wait, so you don't get free clothes if you're a blogger?!?!" is essentially her reaction. This is what many people who blog these days feel. No, I don't earn big bucks from being a blogger. I do earn sometimes, but it always goes into the blog. I'm not saying you can't do it, just that its still a pretty bold move filled with uncertainty. I almost always spend a lot more on the blog than I ever make from it.

While there's nothing wrong with deciding to make blogging your profession I wonder if many blogger think twice before accepting a collaboration. Secondly, even if you do decide to accept it, its NOT okay that you don't tell your reader about it. Stop trying to sell the idea that you're a working girl but can somehow afford to buy a bag that costs more than your month's rent and then tell your read you have to have this bag!  I read a great post by Poppy Dinsey (and also just last week by Becca from Fashion Train) a few weeks ago talking about this very thing and its crazy how much of the blogger life is smoke and mirrors. Can blogger please not say love this "holiday" in *insert exotic location here* when it's all just a new way of carrying out an ad campaign? And when did posts about new electronic media and clothing collections go from "Why you should buy this and Why you shouldn't buy this" sections to "Why you should buy this and Why you should definitely buy this". 

I don't know if this influencer (that's what big bloggers with a few billion followers are called btw) lifestyle will last. I'm not hating on the people who have chosen to live it. I simply wonder if it's something that's going to affect impressionable young girls. I have seen how crazy my 5 year old niece is about owning a designer handbag simply because all her favorite bloggers have one. Of course with the overxposure to digital media everywhere, there's no stopping her finding out new bloggers in today's Google It world. She also believes that makeup will get rid of her freckles and that fake eyelashes are forever! Imagine what she'll grow up to be like? If only those ladies who earn a million bucks a post would realise the effect they can have on young minds? 

Influencers and bloggers are great, but as a comic book hero once said, "With great power, comes great responsibility." I hope things become more normal and more transparent in the future, otherwise we're all in for a generation that lies to itself aswell as the world! 

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