Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Biblical Perspective on Why I Quit Fashion Blogging

Back in 2007-ish, when I religiously followed StyleBytes, Weardrobe, Flickr's Wardrobe Remix, and Style Bubble, I started my first blog.  At first, it was silly ruminations and random writing, but soon enough, I began sharing my daily outfits.
I sold this entire outfit on eBay years ago for ten bucks
The term we now know as "fashion blogging" was called "style sharing" back then.  For the most part, it was a small community of teens and early 20-somethings without money who shared their creativity in making the most of their wardrobes.  We did this by thrifting, fast fashion (Forever 21 and the likes), DIY-ing, and trading closets with one another.  We taught each other to wear dresses backwards, cut up tights to create makeshift sleeves, and how to borrow from men's (and sometimes children's) departments in order to have more (inexpensive) options.
Collectively, I don't think this outfit cost more than $40
The style sharing community encouraged individuality, money saving, and how to have fun with what one already has in their wardrobe.  I learned that my personal style was colorful, miss matched, and eclectic, with a plethora of vertiginous heels.  Like most style sharers, my photos were taken in the privacy of my own apartment with a timer and a cheap digital camera.   No retouching, no proper lighting, no sponsors. Just one or two photos taken at an awkward angle with poor lighting because sharing the idea of the look was more important than a professional photo.  Looking back, I feel like it was automatic for most style sharers pre-2008 to look down as soon as the camera snapped out of sheepishness.  Posting daily photos of oneself online was still a new thing.  Even though we were sharing the creative ways we pieced our looks in order to help inspire others within the community, posting our photos felt silly (at least, for me).
When I grew tired of this corduroy jacket, I cut the sleeves off
Soon enough, fashion and retail websites began highlighting some of these style sharers.  Chictopia and Polyvore were created to encourage people to shop each other's looks.  I was emailed a personal invite to try out this newly created site called Pinterest and give feedback before it launched publicly.  It was fun and interesting when my weekly blog hits increased from 100 to 1,000.  It was curious, yet really awesome when brands asked for my address so they could mail me gifts and gift cards.  Also, it was exciting to receive a $100 deposit from Google once in a while (for ads).
It's not easily visible here, but my "headband" is actually a necklace. Also, I paid 50 cents for that sweater
When word spread that you could become famous, be invited to sit front row at NYFW, or make a living off of posting your outfits online, "style sharing" ceased and "fashion blogging" began.  Around 2008, I remember a dozen or so fashion bloggers wore and posted the same exact dress on the same exact day.  They all got paid a large amount to convince others that they should wear the same dress. That same year, many of my thoughtful comments and questions from readers became overshadowed by CTRL/paste comments asking me to follow a new fashion blog.  Somewhere in between watching a reader obsessively perform late night searches on my blog for fetish terms and being asked to feature flashlights by a potential sponsor, I decided to hop off the style sharing train.  Style sharing/fashion blogging had become a three ring circus and I wasn't interested (and lacked the thick skin) in becoming a profitable "influencer."
So pensive.  The only items I still have are the Dr. Martens
Why would I quit something that brings money?  That could I could possibly do for a living?  Aside from the discomfort of knowing that my audience was no longer limited to people within the style sharing community, I missed the essence of style sharing, which was to help people figure out what clothes look best on them, and makes them feel like fantastic versions of themselves with as little spending as possible.

Fashion blogging in itself isn't sinful.  I started sharing my outfits in order to help others stretch their wardrobes.  I decided to quit when I realized that vanity, greed, and a love of money became a huge presence in traditional fashion blogging.  Below are more reasons I quit fashion blogging from a Biblical perspective.

1. Fashion Blogging discourages individuality.
Style sharing was individual.  Fashion blogging is formulaic.  Brands, sponsors, and the median readers desire specific looks from fashion bloggers.  Most influential fashion bloggers are similar in age, dress size, and income.  The Lord put incredible care and purpose in designing each and every one of us.  The Bible says, "for You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well." (Psalm 139:13-14 (NASB)) It's insulting to our Creator to try to be like any other person instead of who God desires us to be.  If you aspire to be a top fashion blogger, make sure you're only listening to the Holy Spirit's opinion and convictions on your looks, clothes, poses, etc.  Do not allow your readers and sponsors to tell you you're not special and that you need to be different from who the Lord wants you to be.
2. I didn't want to lie. In the past few years, I've become a minimalist.  At one time, I had two clothes closets and one shoe closet.  All three wardrobes were over flowing.  For the past few years, I've become minimalist and all my clothes and shoes can fit in my dresser with room to spare.  Everything I wear, I love, and is on heavy rotation.  I'm picky with body care and cosmetics.  The ingredients must be very clean and preferably edible.  My streamlined closet and bathroom cabinet means that there are more items I'll pass up rather than allow into my home.  This means that I have to choose between turning down business opportunities or lying to my readers by promoting items I actually do not care for.  The Bible is very clear about lying in saying that, "the Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth." (Proverbs 12:22 New Living Translation (NLT))

3. Fashion Blogging can promote vanity.  When I was in high school, I stopped reading fashion and lifestyle magazines because I realized they always made me feel terrible.  I had begun looking in the mirror and scrutinizing thanks to these magazines.  They told me my looks need improvement.  Even though we're aware of ubiquitous image manipulations in the media, when we fill ourselves up with this falseness and unattainable standards, sooner than later, we will be negatively affected.  It's my belief that the media (tv, magazines, advertisements, and fashion blogs) are the reason why there are 11, 12, 13 year old girls can pass for college age.  These young girls along with everyone else are being told that more makeup, specific clothes, and "knowing your angles" is essential.  Taking care of our appearance isn't sinful, but "a beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout." (Proverbs 11:22 New Living Translation (NLT))  Good looks are completely wasted on a vain person.  It would be best to make sure we fill ourselves up with substance rather than stare at photoshopped images of people who actually do not exist.

4. Fashion Blogging can promote covetousness.  Just like fashion magazines, fashion blogs are one big advertorial.  In these blogs, we see beautiful images with beautiful people in beautiful locations wearing beautiful things.  If we're not watching our hearts carefully, it's easy to start desiring what we see on the blog and this in turn, will give us discontent.  Life is better when we're satisfied with our portion.  God says “'you shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'” (Exodus 20:17 (NIV))

Fashion blogging can be a great business opportunity for bloggers and brands.  Fashion blogging can be a great source of fun and inspiration for readers.  However, like everything in life, we must be willing to give it up if it causes us to sin.  When the Holy Spirit specifies to pick something up or place something down, we must always be willing to do as He says.  For me, I'm happy to have quit fashion blogging and I pray you'll listen to whatever the Lord says about it.

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