The Fluff of Blog: Where Did The Real Conversations Go?

Fashion BlogA fashion blog, in general, typically do one of the following:

  1. Showcase the person’s coordinates/photoshoots
  2. Show off their latest purchases
  3. Talking about the latest event they went to (usually including said coordinate involved)

There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but when that’s all your blog does, where do the true deep discussions about our subcultures live?

Where did the conversations go in the blog community?

That is the question on a lot of people’s minds. Once, a long time ago, I ran a different blog that tried to do just that – get the discussion moving in a direction about the subcultures and how they move as a unit. More and more so though, I am finding subcultures are now just blending together into a mix of one another, creating a general alternative look. While yes, one style I am heavily involved with, Lolita fashion tends to stay a certain course, even that has broken a lot of ideas that were once thought taboo.

Just the idea of past the knee length skirts. Now, this is a normalcy in coordinates you see, but I remember when it was knee high or no-go.

How does the merging of cultures effect each other? Goth culture is a departure from J-fashion, and when intermingled, can rub some rough edges. While Goth culture centers around the music more than the clothing, even though the clothing is integral as well, J-fashion is all about that finished, polished look. Even the looks that are supposed to come off as “disordered” are as polished as possible, with every “disorganized” piece in its correct spot.

The hyperactive, ad-based click-bait content dominates

Slowly but surely, I have been seeing fashion blogs take their content and warp it with more ads than content, slideshows that are just to advertise a certain product, or sponsored posts. The last two can be done sparingly, but when your blog is inundated with this crap, nobody wants to read your blog (or, they bare through it, read it, and come out unsatisfied).

No, I do not want to read the “10 Things Nobody Told You About Steampunk” in a slideshow with an ad every click. When that’s all your blog does, do you even care about a discussion of your thoughts that you put into the post in general? I have noticed more and more as well that it becomes hard to find the comment areas on these blogs. It tells me, ‘I want you to read this for XYZ reason, but I do not care about your experience or thoughts behind it.’

It used to be the opposite, where discussion showed a bit of validity to the blog itself. Not saying you should vie for comments, but without discussion, the post becomes just another page of content. It makes it more interactive and interesting to see what others have to say, especially if a discussion erupts in the comments.

Moving towards real content and real discussions

The community in terms of subcultures within fashion are small in comparison to the world population. A blog can be a place to learn something new, find new people within your community, and realize there is more than just you in the style. I encourage other bloggers to take arms and talk about the problems and positives within our communities, make guides to help the younger folks out (yes, I know there is a guide for everything, but a guide from 2010 at this point is 6 years old and outdated – put your mark on it!), and do not be afraid to speak your mind. Let the creativity flow through you and let the words come out! We do not have to force ourselves to a self-service type of world; we can create a community atmosphere that deteriorates with the conception of more “me, me, me” applications and websites.

What do you think?

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Restricting Creativity: Alternative Fashion

Did you check your fluff, makeup, hair, color coordination, outfit theme, and actual possibility of being allowed to wear all your items together without breaking the rules today? Well, if you did not, there are a plethora of options online and off to find out why you are wrong, how you cannot fix it, and your perpetual never-ending sadness because of your inability to be appeasing to the eye. Congratulations!

I could go on about feeling good about yourself and not minding the “haters”, but I think there is more to it than that. One thing I have learned from seeing street snaps is that rules are for suckers. Sticking to rules in terms of fashion is like baking a cake according to the box’s instructions every. single. time. Yes, you will make a cake that looks and taste like every other cake out there. Everyone will appreciate that you made a cake, and that the cake fits to the standards of baking a cake. But breaking outside of those small font, cardboard printed instructions can either make a heaping mess of burnt glop forever to be known as the moment you realized pickles do not work with butter cream, or create the next thing everyone is adding to their Pinterest board going, “Why could I have not thought of that?”

I think that heaping mess is something everyone goes through continually. You have this idea in your head of how it is going to work, and putting the items together just does not look as dreamy as it did in your mental process. Time offers the benefit of hopefully learning from each mess, and gradually creating a better and better recipe. You learn what ingredients work well together and sometimes, that mess actually creates a combination you never thought would work.

(We need to stop talking about food before I go make a cake right now.)

I believe we should embrace the fact that fashion inherently is a selfish thing. It explains a lot. One of the typical things I see nowadays is the sheep leading the sheep concept. One person with barely any experience telling another person how their limited experience makes them an “expert” on the rules and regulations associated with the look they are trying to accomplish. Another aspect of it is the strong, repulsive reaction garnered by some people when someone breaks their definition of the ideal look. You need to critique and you need to express that disgust because this is your style being represented in a way you do not think is correct. Alternative fashion, because it is by definition “alternative to the societal norm”, can be owned, something that we need to constantly defend because it is so misconstrued from its original intent. So, you form the idea of what is “right”, and then you find that “right” being destroyed by someone who clearly “does not get it”.

A friend of mine has expressed multiple times how she cannot stand the excess of labeling in alternative fashion. I did not see it as a problem before, but now, I agree. I get having a standard of certain terms, “This is the average summation of how a Lolita fashion coordinate looks like.” This helps meet like-minded individuals, gives a brand a sense of direction of their consumers’ likes and dislikes in an outfit, and puts a name to that thing that is so off kilter from what we expect to see when we walk down the street.

But to completely dismiss an outfit because it does not fit the mold loses me. Like I said before, it is the ones that break the mold that make the statement.

As long as you are happy with what you are wearing, then you are doing it right. Do not try to put a name on it, do not force down people’s throats that this is the “right” way of doing things, and do not flounce your arrogance about how much you perfected your outfit. You can completely avoid dealing with “haters” if you just avoid those three things. Post your coordinates and love what you are creating, but let people enjoy (or dislike) them for what they are. Everyone else that wears the average outfit will think you are crazy looking anyways. Seriously. They think you are insane (or in a play, or going to a funeral, for the goths out there).

Unless you are wearing your outfits specifically to attract attention – I do not have a blog post for you because I do not understand your mindset. 😉

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Rebirth

After being very involved with the online alternative fashion community, I took a huge step back in all of my activity. I had a very interesting last few months of 2014.

I ran the first year of RuffleCon successfully with my closest friends. My personal finances took a dip. My relationship with my husband went from non-existent to amazing. But most importantly – I lost my only sibling, my brother, and about a half hour later, I gave birth to my only child, my daughter.

To say I was a whole mix of emotions from depressed to elated is an understatement.

My interest in life went to zero. I was getting emails about my old blog that I literally laughed at because I kept thinking, “Really? Is that so important?” – I just had no desire to express myself whatsoever. I went into my little cocoon, and I did not plan on coming out. With my towel ready to throw, I was done being a part of the world. Being a part of anything was the last thing on m mind.

To be honest, the community got to me too. I was tired of seeing myself being torn apart by girls half my age who had no idea what they were talking about. My friends who had given so much voluntarily to the community in many ways were being stepped all over as well. And for what? What drives you to want to make the community a better place to be when it feels like you are always meeting resistance? The idea of this warm bubble that once existed was dismantled. Community? More like a pack of wolves. After everything that had happened to me personally, there was no desire to provide more fodder.

I deleted all my online presence related to my old blogging profile. It is not that I removed it because I was trying to take away what I had accomplished in my time under that blog, but more that I was no longer that person. Seeing that blog and what I used to write was no longer a representation of the type of person I was. The person who ran that blog no longer existed. I was completely different.

Almost a year later after everything happened, I have slowly opened myself back up. My perspective is different, and I do miss the creativity that was sparked from blogging, especially in the alternative fashion world. I can only hope that my old followers accept this new view, and my new followers can enjoy what is to come. This is me not giving up on the world, and hoping that I can pull together some semblance of a life again in a culture I am still incredibly passionate about underneath my personal pain.

I do not think I will be jumping back on the survey wagon again (sorry!), even though my inbox was flooded with “where did the surveys go?”. Not really sure what this new blog will be at all for the moment, but I hope that I can continue to write about what inspires me about alternative fashion to help me break through what is going on in my personal life. Hopefully you will enjoy the journey! :)

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