A bit ago I was contacted by a Ph.D student who was doing research on fashion blogging as part of her dissertation. She wanted to talk to me “as one of the first fashion bloggers.”
It was a little startling to be called that, because I haven’t written about fashion on the Internet in a good long while. But then I realized: yes, it’s true on some level. I did start a fashion blog, long before Movable Type was a blink in anyone’s eye, when I had to handcode HTML for each & every entry I did and it drove me nuts to do so. I’m not sure really if I was among the first, but I was early on in the field, long before an army of girls started posing pigeon-toed and filming shopping hauls on YouTube.
I got asked a lot of interesting questions as part of the student’s query, but the one that made me most think was, “Why did you stop?” It was startling because it made me realize that, yes, I did stop doing it. Not deliberately, but slowly but surely I edged away from it, though it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part. It sparked a nice chain of reflection and a kind of “connect the dots” riff between the past, the present, and the future, so this is my attempt to think out loud and get it down — and also in case I get another query that asks me the same question and I can just go, “Read my blog, yo! It’s all there!” (Surprisingly, I get a few queries a year from people who study fashion blogging as part of their academic work. Not a lot to justify a cheesy FAQ page, but they really often demand long, thoughtful responses and I really do wish I can just tell them, “Read my blog, yo!”)
I initially started fashion blogging because my favorite parts of fashion magazines were always the “What’s in Your Closet” features that featured “regular girls,” as opposed to model-y girls pretending to be regular girls. They were basically street style shots and commentary. I liked that; I love to hear people talk about their clothes and why they like certain things and do not choose others. I liked designer stuff, but I was more interested in how fashion was pop culture, in how it filtered down. I enjoyed that more democratic approach. As fashion blogging developed, I enjoyed seeing more voices and different perspectives around fashion. It felt really exciting, like widening and opening up the conversation once dominated by a few really weird, bitter people who never left high school mentally. And being punky, I really enjoyed the feeling of liberating the fun and pleasure of clothes from the Fashion Industrial Complex.
Then life happened: I moved from San Francisco to New York, which you would think would accelerate my fashion blogginess. But no, I went for grad school, and grad school was dead crazy-busy and I didn’t pay attention to much else besides film for about three years. Honestly, have you ever seen how people on a film set dress? I dressed like that. It was not exciting. Plus, I didn’t read a blog at all during that time; I didn’t even write much in my own. I was a busy bee, and happily immersed in my education, junk food and sleep deprivation.
But then classes finally ended, and suddenly there was an ocean of time that stretched out before me that was all mine. You’d think I would’ve gone back to fashion blogging, but fashion blogging had changed and consolidated by then, like many industries-within-industries do. It boggled me, how all these bloggers got into shows and were “sponsored” by big brands and wrote glowing insider-y posts about hanging out with designers and stuff. I felt so behind!
But the real truth was, too, my relationship to fashion, style, and clothing changed, especially after my epic closet clean-out. As I mentioned before, that was a surprisingly intense and soul-confronting experience, and in terms of fashion, it really hit some kind of reset button on how I looked at personal style, shopping and clothes in general. I really distilled what I loved in clothes and what didn’t work for me, and made peace with that; I curated a nice closet that I didn’t want to sully with ill-chosen purchases.
But one effect that I didn’t anticipate: I lost the desire to shop often, which put me at odds with a lot of fashion-blogging practice. I didn’t really feel much of a need to consume as much. Not just buying, but even absorbing new ideas and influences. I mean, how often can one go through the whole fashion cycle of “Bohemian! Biker babe! Warrior chick! Romantic! Dress like a baby!” without getting bored? What could I blog about, fashion-speaking-wise, if I wasn’t interested in fashion, didn’t care about designers so much, and wasn’t inclined to posting pictures of myself in outfits on the Internet?
I hit upon the idea of rock stars and fashion, which then morphed my fashion blog into more of a pop culture blog. And that was fine for awhile; it’s a fertile ground, and makes for great pictures, and I got to collaborate with two awesome ladies. But I never lost my intense love of clothing, for how a dress can spark a whole story and how beloved a t-shirt can be. But I just couldn’t figure out a way for it to fit into nogoodforme.com without seeming “Me, me, me!” and feeling self-obnoxious.
Lately, though, I find myself missing writing about fashion, about clothes. I’m not interesting in chronicling my personal style so much (except on Instagram!) but I feel there’s something for me to explore again after a good long while away from it. I’m kind of interested in a philosophy behind fashion, style, shopping and clothing in general; a way to have a conversation around clothing that also aligns with my larger values in life: things like peace, wisdom, independence and a bit of subversive libertine fun thrown in. So keep your eye on this space, on future spaces maybe: something’s bubbling, lovelies, and it feels a lot like a beautiful Issey Miyake dress worn with combat boots, scented with last night’s romp in the dark, primal forest.