Power To The Bloggers: We’re Changing Fashion’s Visual Culture

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.

[Image credits: Song of Style, Gabi Fresh, That's Chic, Girl With Curves, Viva Fashion, and Where Did You Get That.]

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11 Responses

  1. MJ

    Indeed that’s awesome to hear! We as bloggers just have to remember that our diversity and our point of views is what makes us special (and keep our readers coming back) It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercial machine so staying authentic is key.

  2. Jeanine Brito

    I’m a student in Ryerson’s School of Fashion and have sat in two lectures given by Ben Barry. He’s such an inspiring person and a fantastic speaker.

  3. Judy

    Yes, we come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages! Fashion does not end at 40 or 50 or 60…
    Check out the new book, Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen, if you want to see some true styling and creativity. Amazing!
    And there are groups of us between the 20 somethings and these ladies, who continue to be fashionable. We are not invisible1

  4. Urban Jungle Fashion

    Fantastic post. I agree. Now when I want style ideas i rarely go to magazines to get that information… i go to my fellow bloggers. Bloggers are real woman. I’m not saying real woman can’t be 5’10 and a size 4… but I’m 5’7 at size 4 with natural hair. I want to see a woman like me style clothes.

  5. Georgina

    It’s fantastic if bloggers are helping women feel better about the fashion world. For me, it’s also about hearing what a ‘real’ person thinks about clothing. A styled model might look great in a dress I’m looking at, but it’s unlikely she’ll tell me what the shop’s delivery service was like or whether the seams are coming undone after ten minutes wear. But do I get that from bloggers.

  6. Cynthia

    It’s still not nearly as diverse as it can be. As a petite, size 0 blogger, yes, I see a lot of other people who look like me and are my size, but what about that 5’2″, size 6 girl? I’ve seen “normal” sized bloggers, but I’m not sure whether they’re petite or not. It seems that petite bloggers – at least those who are OUT about being petite – are overwhelmingly East Asian, under 35 and size 2 or smaller, with the majority weighing at 100 lb or less.

  7. TheStyleKaleidoscope

    I shoot photos of people on the streets in my hometown for my street style blog, they are just normal people going about their business, so it’s definitely content that people can relate to if they are searching for ways to style themselves, and I’m glad the creativity of people on the streets is being recognised!