how to write a fashion blog by susie bubble
Susanna Lau, better known as Susie Bubble, started her blog Style Bubble in March 2006. Inspired by Diane Pernet's musings and emerging talent showcases on her own blog A Shaded View on Fashion, she was part of the first wave of fashion bloggers to bring personal style and an outsider voice to a global audience. Over the last decade, Style Bubble and the subsequent bloggers Susie inspired has created a worldwide web of industry democracy. What began as a hobby — an escape from a 9-5 office reality to ponder, reflect, and share fashion daydreams — has helped her become part of a new fashion world order. While reporting from NYFW for her blog and a number of publications, Susie invites us into her world to shed light on what the world of blogging is all about.
What I do and why I do it:
I'm a fashion blogger which is really a sort of all-encompassing, hard-to-pin-down job title. We're talking about a field that has only really become a profession in the last decade. I write, create images, style (myself and others), and do bits of consulting. It's a hotchpotch of a lot of things. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I was younger, and waffled my way through a history degree, giving me an open-career road to embark upon. Despite my love of fashion and personal style, I never ever thought of fashion as a potential career. It felt like a very closed-off field to me. So during my very boring marketing day job that I fell into after graduating from uni, I started Style Bubble as a hobby, something to do in my lunch hours, before work and after work. It wasn't pre-architected and I didn't have a grand plan. I just loved writing about fashion in the way that I wanted to, focusing on young designers, personal points of views, and having fun with clothes! I thank Diane Pernet for blazing the trail and showing me that you could write about niche fashion subjects. I was very lucky that Style Bubble got traction pretty much within that first year, which I put down to timing. Starting today is definitely tougher but not impossible. There's just a lot more architecting.
A day in my life:
If I'm in London, then it's quite straightforward. I'm at home, writing, transcribing, editing photos, and researching. I might be out and about meeting designers, seeing things to get content. I write for other people too so I sometimes put my journalist hat on, which is perhaps more serious — writing the blog is always a pleasure and an escape for me. If I'm traveling, then I'm generally scoping out young designers, checking out shops, and just getting the vibes of a city. Fashion is for me a very globalized thing and I love discovering new scenes around the world; I'm lucky that I get invited on trips to do so! I'm going to be embarking on more TV/video work on my travels so I now get to work with film crews which is a new challenge.
If you just looked at my Instagram page, it just looks like I'm on the go all the time or poncing around in nice outfits. It's because I post sparingly and omit the boring bits. Like sitting at home, watching Homes under the Hammer while procrastinating in my PJs. I think people seem to think I get flooded with freebies which is something I try to actively curb — it's not great to accept a load of free stuff when you're not a) going to wear it b) sell it later on and c) has no relevance to what you're all about.
The moment that made me:
I can't pinpoint a singular moment as the uptake to digital and blogging has been quite a gradual one, played out between 2006 and 2010. I can think of maybe being invited to certain shows, or getting praise from journalists who I respect as highlights! Finally making it to a Comme des Garcons show really made me giddy! Shaking Rei Kawakubo's hand also made me weep a little (afterwards of course in the privacy of a side alleyway…).
I think it's now that I've only finally begun to feel like what I'm doing is legitimate and respected — and I've been doing this for ten years! I would say numerous editors and writers over the years have given me some amazing advice — they know who they are — but to be honest, it has at times been a bit of a lonely profession as you're forging through something that didn't have a precedent to begin with. It's great though that I now have a group of fellow bloggers — people like Bryan Boy and Phil Oh — to call upon to chat through the machinations of the blogging world.
To degree or not to degree, that is the question:
It's difficult because there are now so many different degrees out there and I'm not sure if there's equal value to all of them. Solid experience in any part of this industry counts for so much, I think. I find it funny that there are now blogging courses or digital journalism arms to fashion journalism courses. It's great that there's that legitimacy given to fashion blogging.
For me, university gave me curiosity and a thirst for detail and research, which comes handy in what I do. People skills though are something that can't really be learned at uni and I think in this industry, when you have to deal with a range of personalities, it's really only something that comes with live work experience. And I'd say being willing to proactively contribute in a work experience or internship environment is quite important.
What I wish I knew then that I know now:
The great thing about this weird career path of mine is that you have to react to what's going on in real time. Reacting to new platforms, new ways of doing things, taking in new technology is something that makes fashion blogging so exciting. Once you're in that generation where the internet was the norm, I think taking in these new developments comes more naturally.
I do wish though that I didn't spend so much time being caught up my negative comments on the blog. It's not necessarily right, but learning and accepting that this is the nature of the internet is something I've had to deal with. Like I said before, starting today in a much more crowded field is difficult. But there's never been more ways to stand out, be it through YouTube, Instagram, great Vines, or DIY e-commerce sites. It makes the playing field very exciting!
I'm excited by tomorrow because:
You never know what's going to happen. For the last ten years, I've felt like I've been coasting it. Part of me has been waiting for the day the digital bubble bursts (excuse the pun) but if anything it's becoming more splintered than ever before with new platforms, new opportunities, and new ways of bringing fashion to life. And fashion itself has become more fractured. Confusing perhaps but also energizing and diverse in a way that it wasn't before.
Photography Susie Bubble
Images via Instagram