Edward Snowden has been all over the news for his decision to release details of an NSA program that some think borders on unconstitutional. Whether you think that his method of doing that was patriotic, criminal or a bit of both, it's a reminder to anyone with an audience that some of the most important discussions start from acts of independence that a person believes to be for the greater good.
For those in the US, this will be a shortened work week as people start to take off on Wednesday for a long weekend of barbeque, burgers and fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July. About a week and a half after that, French bloggers will probably be gearing up for celebrations of Bastille Day, that country's independence day.
…for many readers one of the things that makes blogs on a multitude of topics great is that they do take on things independently that the established media doesn't.
It seems like the perfect time to ask yourself what the last truly independent piece or topic you took on was. Bloggers aren't journalists, so there's no inherent responsibility for anyone to do this, but for many readers one of the things that makes blogs on a multitude of topics great is that they do take on things independently that the established media doesn't.
Remember the Bangladeshi factory collapse that killed more than 1100 people due to sub-standard construction and unsafe working conditions? While low cost retailers like H&M and Inditex (owner of Zara) signed on to a legally binding pact to improve conditions in the factories where their clothing is manufactured immediately after the disaster, others like Gap and Walmart have just proposed a solution – one which doesn't hold them responsible if any part of it fails. Maybe you don't think these companies should be legally liable for the factories where their goods are produced – after all, sourcing is a convoluted mess, where companies can end up having goods made in sweatshops without their knowledge. Though they may award an initial contract to someone whose factory looks fine, that factory owner may outsource orders they can't handle to other factory owners, who never went through any inspections. Or, perhaps you feel that the buck should stop somewhere, and it's up to the megaretailers to ensure that workers along their supply chain are working in safe conditions, no matter what.
The topics that need the most independent voices are often ones that aren't kind to large institutions. In the case of fashion, it means potentially offending very large, deep pocketed brands or important and influential people.
Either way, it's a topic worth questioning and asserting your independence on, and it's just one example. The topics that need the most independent voices are often ones that aren't kind to large institutions. In the case of fashion, it means potentially offending very large, deep pocketed brands or important and influential people. While that may mean not receiving someone's lookbook or not being invited to a show, raising questions and discussing topics that mainstream publications ignore is one of the greatest celebrations of blogging independence there is.
Concerned about the environmental aspects of fashion? Next time you see a particularly extravagant fashion show, dig into the topic of what the environmental cost of importing an arctic glacier is, and whether there were viable alternatives. While the clothes may be impressive, and the brand history revered, luxury brands shouldn't be beyond reproach. Use the fact that you're probably not going to be seated front row, or invited to the show at all to your advantage, and bring up the things other people aren't talking about. If you're writing for a magazine, there may be a legitimate threat to your income for asking certain questions. If you're writing for yourself, as an outsider, you have a far greater opportunity to provide an independent voice on topics that can spark real change.
What fashion topics do you see not getting enough attention? When was the last time you blogged about them?
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