When it comes to fashion blogging, it seems to me that those who excel are either beautiful model-types, or they are women who know how to be leaders and stand out from the pack with their creativity, writing, photography or another talent (or both!). But no one gains a large following by sticking to what it seems has worked for other bloggers.
It's so much easier said than done to forge your own way, and it's something I'm still figuring out ofter four years of blogging. So I was inspired by architect Peter Marino's interview published yesterday at Style.com, in which he talked about the state of online retail versus brick and mortar, his all-leather sartorial style, leadership, and lots more—he is awesome and you should totally read the whole interview. I had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2010 when he redesigned San Francisco's Chanel store, and he was refreshingly candid and wonderfully opinionated.
What struck me in the Style.com interview was his answer to a question regarding whether what he does is art or science:
I have to say, I never look at that shit [market research]. And I think that’s for followers and I want to be a leader and I want to do something good. And if you don’t like it, OK, go to another store. You cannot be an artist and try to imagine what people want painted for them. That’s deaf. Do your work and do it well and hopefully people will like it. You can ask all of my clients. Don’t show Peter a marketing report. It’s more art than science.
Marino has been at his career for three decades and counts Chanel, Zegna, and Louis Vuitton as clients. If you've ever walked into any one of these luxury boutiques and gasped at the stunning interior, you know he knows what he's talking about. And bloggers (or anyone, really) can learn from the success he's achieved thanks to being creative and original. Trends are great, but, like I've said before, if you're wearing them the same way a million other bloggers are, no one's going to care. I actually love trends because they keep fashion fun and interesting, but the trick is to incorporate trends with a strong personal style.
And it's not only about personal style. What's your take? What is your site offering that no one else's is? How do you think and feel about things that matter to you? Look at Man Repeller. She had no way of knowing her particular viewpoint would strike such a major nerve, especially since her angle is dressing in a way that's unappealing to half the population.
That said, it seems to be a combination of art and science that has led to Marino's success. In that same section of the interview, he went on to say the following:
Having said that, retail design is incredibly precise. And I’ve learned over my 30-year career, if you move a belt counter sometimes 4 feet, you can double sales. It’s crazy.
Doesn't that remind you of blog design? You could probably move your newsletter sign up two inches and significantly increase your mailing list. Or you could go from three columns to two and see a major traffic shift. You can do lots of research to find out the best design for a fashion blog. But design alone isn't going to make or break you. Being a leader will.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]