There are blogs covering fashion at all levels, from big labels and indie designers to clothing found on the street.
Many fashion blogs could also be categorised as shopping blogs as "most of the conversation is shopping advice, liberally laced with consumer recommendations", and some fashion retailers have now started blogs of their own to promote their products.
Blogs that occasionally mention fashion, such as many "personal diaries of teenagers", are not categorised as fashion blogs.
Fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry that has considerable impact on the way ordinary people clothe themselves. As fashion is trend-driven and fashion blogs provide a new way to follow these trends, it is likely they will have a considerable long-term influence on the industry.
These are some of the things fashion journalists have said about fashion blogs and the impact they are having on the industry:
In a February, 2006 Women's Wear Daily article, Corcoran stated:
There is an enormous, and growing, number of fashion and shopping-related blogs: about 2 million, according to Technorati Inc., [...] or slightly less than 10 percent of the 27 million blogs the company tracks. (That number includes blogs in languages that use the Roman alphabet and that contain anything fashion-related, including sites such as Pink Is the New Blog, which focuses on celebrities.)
It is likely that this figure is inflated by a substantial number of personal blogs that mention fashion. These are not considered fashion blogs using the criteria above.
All other estimates of the popularity of fashion blogs are considerably lower. In September 2005, La Ferla stated that "as little as a year ago, the number of [fashion bloggers] could be counted in the dozens. Today there are hundreds." Lara Zamiatin estimated in November 2006 that there are now "several hundred fashion blogs".
Insiders are people who work (or have previously worked) in the fashion industry or for the traditional fashion media. In addition, some fashion insiders blog occasionally as guest on larger sites. For example, the fashion designer Nanette Lepore has contributed to Glam.com.
Outsiders are people who know a lot (or at least have strong opinions) about fashion, usually by virtue of being very dedicated consumers of fashion.
Aspiring insiders are people who want to work in the fashion industry or media and believe their blog may provide a ‘back door’ entry into a mainstream fashion writing job. Examples of people who have been employed within the fashion industry on the strength of their blogs include:
The types of individuals running fashion blogs are listed above.
The types of companies now running fashion blogs include large mainstream media organizations and fashion retailers. Mainstream media organisations that own fashion blogs include The Times (UK), Condé Nast Publications (US), Variety (US) and the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). Fashion retailers with blogs include Bluefly, Queen of Suburbia and Splendora.
Fashion blogs first appeared in the blogosphere prior to 2002 Both the number of fashion blogs and the number of media mentions of fashion blogs has grown considerably since then. Published accounts of the growing number of fashion blogs are mentioned above, and a Facteva search reveals that media articles mentioning "fashion blogs" grew from one in 2002 to over 100 in 2006.
In 2006, the commercial success and growing profile of fashion bloggers have been the two main themes in coverage of fashion blogs.
Fashion blogs first appeared in the blogosphere prior to 2002, and at least one fashion blogger was invited to New York Fashion Week as early as September 2003; a short time later, the Fashiontribes.com blog was being seated fourth row at shows like Bill Blass.
The fashion blogs that attracted media attention in 2002 include two that are still in existence: LookOnline Daily Fashion Report and She She Me.
In 2004, the first accessories blog, Manolo's Shoe Blog, was launched. While it has been stated that Manolo's Shoe Blog was the first fashion blog, Manolo himself disputes this. He says he read a number of fashion blogs in 2003, and these inspired him to start blogging.
Later in 2004, Michelle Madhok introduced SheFinds.com, "an online shopping publication". By 2005, the site earned $300,000 per year, although most of that revenue went towards running expenses and Madhok paid herself just $40,000 per year.
Fashion blogs are increasingly becoming a part of the mainstream fashion press.
An increasing number of fashion bloggers were invited to designers' fashion shows in 2006 compared to previous years. Large advertisers like H&M and Gap have bought advertising on fashion blogs, and other large companies like the underwear-maker Jockey are targeting fashion blogs in their PR efforts.
Many big media organizations have started fashion blogs and the best fashion bloggers are now also being offered mainstream media positions. (See above for more details.)
Fashion blogging is also now regarded as worthy of mainstream media coverage. The reference list below shows the very high caliber of media publication that have written about fashion blogs. These publications include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Fashion blogging is rapidly becoming a highly profitable new media business, with a mixture of independent blogs and well-funding fashion blog networks competing to dominate the space.
Manolo's Shoe Blog is believed to be the most profitable independent fashion blog, "rumored to be [earning] around $700,000 a year" by 2006. Manolo has confirmed he earns a six-figure salary through blogging. Other commercially successful independent fashion blogs include The Budget Fashionista, which reportedly brings in $150,000 a year in revenue and The Bag Snob, which "generates a five-figure income, mainly from advertising". More examples of independent fashion blogs that have achieved commercial success can be found in the references listed at the end of this article.
There have also been a series of business deals have brought serious investor money into the fashion blogging space. These include:
The London fashion blog Style Bubble has also attracted media attention with her "guide to trends, designers and shopping hot spots in Britain's capital city".