Fashion bloggers are powerful and influential beacons of the digital age, capable of driving consumer purchases and starting style trends. More than that, street style and personal style blogs are helping shift the dominant visual culture of fashion to include a much more diverse array of people. We recently caught up with Dr. Ben Barry, who studies the the relationships between models (in advertising), women and self-esteem. In a study of more than 2,500 women in North America and China, he found that women “want models, regardless of age or size, to inspire them with glamor, artistry and creativity, as opposed to stimulating just aspiration.”
We asked Dr. Barry if he thought this trend had anything to do with the rise of fashion and style bloggers around the world. We think his response will make you smile, pat yourself on the back and appreciate just how powerful, diverse and amazing our community is! Check it out:
“One of the central themes in my research findings that accounted for the consumer movement toward model diversity was the proliferation and popularity of street style and personal style blogs. These blogs challenge fashion's dominant visual culture by featuring people of a variety of sizes, ages, heights, backgrounds and abilities and celebrating them as champions of style. Many women in my research explained that these blogs helped them break down that perception of fashion as something that could only be worn on tall, thin, young, white, able-bodied women; they were able to re-imagine fashion as something approachable, relatable and fun because they saw it on women like themselves. Even more, these street and personal style blogs fueled skepticism and frustration over traditional idealized imagery because they showed consumers that there was a more inspiring and creative way to present fashion.”
Say what?! If that isn't the best thing you as a blogger have possibly ever read, I don't know what to tell you. It's proof positive that there is real power in the diversity and democracy of style blogs. The way we style ourselves, embrace our individuality and celebrate these things all over the Internet is impacting how women everywhere perceive fashion.
What do you think of Dr. Barry's findings? They open up some interesting questions about diversity in the blogging community, and we'd love to hear your thoughts! Share your experience and perceptions the comments!
We encourage you to read more on Dr. Barry's findings in his recent (June 2012) article for ELLE Canada (which you can read here.) Ben Barry holds a PhD in Management from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity at the School of Fashion, Ryerson University in Toronto. PS – you can also follow him on Twitter – @DrBenBarry.