For all the countless debates over the past few years revolving on who matters more in the world of fashion—editors or bloggers—WWD is now reporting that it’s the latter who are apparently, or increasingly, gathering the gold. And, no, we’re not just talking about the innumerable gifts thrown at bloggers by both emerging and established brands alike. Rather, they are reaping what has remained elusive to even the most influential editors of our time—and those of our past generations, too (Andre Leon Talley, long-time American Vogue Editor-at-Large, moved onto Russian Numéro because he was finally offered “real money” and iconic Harper’s Bazaar and American Vogue Editor, Diana Vreeland, reportedly never made a substantial salary at either publication). In the words of Tom Cruise’s famed character Jerry Maguire, bloggers have demanded that brands “show them the money,” and according to WWD, brands have acquiesced, and in some cases, to the tune of a million dollars or more.
But before young hopefuls throw out their university journalism applications with the expectations that diary-like prose with sentences starting with “amazing” and ending with “fashionista” will bring the big bucks, they should first ask themselves, “Am I willing to move to Utah?” As with all markets, money moves according to the laws of supply and demand and bloggers who are swimming in the green are writing to audiences who, in some cases, may have never even traveled to New York, London, Milan, or Paris.
Amber Venz, President of RewardStyle, a performance-based monetization platform for digital publishers, told WWD that brands team up with bloggers whose clicks are proven to turn into sales and that the top bloggers are “not who people think they are.” To wit: Nashville-based Mary Seng of Happily Grey and Utah-based Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies are some of RewardStyle’s top earners. And though Parcell would not divulge her actual income, according to RewardStyle she could easily make well over US $900,000 per year. “I’m not up in the millions, yet I convert higher than some of these girls who have millions of followers,” Parcell told WWD.
Bloggers with legions of followers, such as Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine (over 600,000 followers on Instagram) and The Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni (over 2.3 million followers on Instagram) are examples of bloggers who have turned their web platforms into veritable brands themselves—in which they rotate various hats: model, influencer, best friend, and art director.
Popular blogger “Bryanboy” Bryan Grey-Yambao, who was in Dubai this past April as the special guest of the third season of Fashion Forward, was quoted in WWD stating, “I’ve made enough to live comfortably and be able to not wear samples and buy my clothes retail.” But if being able to purchase an outfit at full price isn’t enough to get the parents bragging at the golf club, then maybe venturing out into fashion’s no man’s land might be a viable option.
Notably, none of the bloggers interviewed for the WWD article stated that they adhere to the traditional journalistic code of ethics, and instead write about whatever they like at the moment—and voice an opinion that can be swayed by whichever brand is willing to pay them the most. With this in mind, perhaps editors and bloggers don’t have much, if anything, in common, after all—except, of course, for a presumed shared love of fashion.
Style.com/Arabia has reached out to Fashion Forward for a statement regarding the fee paid to Bryan Grey-Yambao for his appearance at Fashion Forward Season Three and will update this post when confirmed.