By Jenni Sellan

It’s been said that” Fashion is the only game you can win by breaking the rules” and it seems the new formula for success is indeed with breaking tradition and going against the grain of perfection; authenticity wins and the new IT bloggers are creating a space for people to unapologetically be themselves!

The rise of the blogosphere… beyond picture perfect; unrestricted & uncensored, telling us the new fashion stories in real time in the absence of ‘bought’ opinions and the freedom of expression through collaborations with like-minded brands. Bloggers are bridging a gap that the fashion industry has to date has been unable to successfully close.

There’s nothing new about the fact that global fashion enterprise has long been criticized for its lack of diversity in its representation of women and for it’s promotion of unrealistic ideals. But in the last decade, we have witnessed the closing of a gap into a seemingly impenetrable industry. Welcome the rise of fashion’s digital influencers, ‘a.k.a bloggers’. Instant feedback, real time reporting. The blogosphere has changed the business and given new life to fashion and style demonstrating once and for all that it is not restricted to a size below zero.

Today’s digital influencers are sitting front row, fronting campaigns, launching clothing lines and landing covers; Established as brands unto themselves, bloggers have built influential platforms having fought their way to become legitimate voices in the industry. There is no question they are rolling the winning dice, occupying significant fashion real estate in spaces once considered sacred and reserved only for models who had fiercely fought to be at the top of the game.blogger vs model

Of course there are bloggers whose look resembles model-like perfection, but the girl next door, those uninhibited by their imperfections are quickly rising and equaling their force as they make their way through a saturated spaced.

There was a time when the fashion industry chose for us; often resulting in a sense of exclusion and even identity crisis for those who just didn’t feel that they measured up, failing to fit the mold. It could be argued that bloggers have swung wide open the door that was once shut to diversity and given us inclusion in a once, very elite room.

One such blogger babe who is swinging wide open that door is Natascha Cox – carving a way through the blogosphere and championing the body image cause. According to Natascha, “it shouldn’t just be the ‘ethereal looking goddess fronting media campaigns” and along with others influencers, Natascha is successfully edging her way past the traditional modeling agencies which she puts down to the fact that people want ‘real people’ portrayed, in real life circumstances and with 85,000 + followers (and growing), she’s clearly speaking a language that people want to hear.

The fashion landscape is saturated and remains vehemently competitive, and professional models are finding themselves in competition for exposure. To cite just one example, in September this year, Australia’s Super blogger Margaret Zhang came alongside models Cameron Russel and Toni for the new Kerastase campaign and in 2015 was the face of the #faceforward campaign for cosmetics and beauty giant Clinique.blogger vs model

As Natasha points out, we no longer want to be sold to, and as a result, “bloggers and influencers are becoming even more important to brands than the models themselves”.

The competition for professional models has doubled if not tripled against a social media force that has a flexible landscape with the ability to change direction in a heart beat; not only are models competing against an unrestricted platform, they continue to compete against peers within their industry for the type of exposure that was once exclusive.
With the lines becoming increasingly blurred between blogger and model as influencers, perhaps the answer lies in the not so secret, secret; in creating and building a personal brand. Lets be honest, we all knew Gigi and Kendall before they hit the catwalk!blogger vs model

Even as little as ten years ago fashion was calling the shots and making choices on our behalf, but now as consumers we no longer buy unquestionably into the fashion fairy tale and have assumed a proactive position in terms of what we choose to be influenced by.

Our social media feeds are made up of a following of choice and we are seeking out those that feed validation, connectedness and personal alignment….

Kate Moss was chosen for us – the question is, would we have chosen Kate Moss?