If there’s something that I’m very thankful to the internet, it’s for fueling my interests to a fever pitch. As anyone with eyes could deduce, I’m quite the fashion enthusiast. I (or Bill Gates, rather) have mentioned in my earlier post that the internet has made the world smaller for us and thus making people with shared interests feel close together. Before the internet became mainstream, the fashion industry was something that only people in its inner sanctum enjoyed. It was an interest that was limited to people who can easily access the world of glitz and glamor (read: rich). What the internet did was somehow democratize fashion and opened its usually locked backstage doors to a broader style-savvy audience.
The early 2000s was the transitional period wherein fashion slowly made itself more accessible to the public. Among the pioneers of digitalizing the industry, I believe, is Style.com. Style.com, launched in September of 2000, was the springboard of this fashion revolution. It is essentially an extension of Vogue magazine’s editorial authority, providing an all-around experience of the industry through news, trend reports, and extensive runway coverage; this time in a digital format. The site would later on branch out in 2005 to now-defunct Men.Style.com (merged with GQ.com) in an attempt to appeal to the male demographic. Similar sites followed, like Elle.com and Fashionista.com for instance, with the same promise of a peek into the world of La Mode. However, it was only until October 2008 that a Philippine-based website of the same format was launched. Like its predecessors, StyleBible.ph aims to give women (and certainly some men) a site that caters to their sartorial needs.
With this newfound accessibility to all things fashion, enthusiasts are now given the chance to be insiders. With the internet being an avenue for free hosting of social commentary, fashion forums and fashion blogging soon became popular. In line with this, online communities dedicated to dressing well (read: LOOKBOOK.nu and The Fashion Spot) flourished. Blogs like The Fashionisto, Fashion Gone Rogue, Design Scene, Fashionologie, and Coutorture too became the go-to sites for more industry scoop. Aside from these, street style blogging (scouting and photographing “fashionable” people out and about in public) also took flight. Sites like Face Hunter, Street Etiquette, and The Sartorialist give a different perspective of fashion, showing that everyday people can pull off great style.
What’s great about this sudden boom of fashion-related websites is that the typical fashionista’s desire to know more about trends and how the industry works is somehow satisfied. It also exposes him or her to the wide world of opportunities within the microcosm that is fashion. It is not unusual nowadays for ordinary people to somehow interact with industry members and insiders, primarily because of Twitter as well as Facebook.
Certainly, the playing field has been spread out evenly. As I’ve said, the web certainly made fashion more democratic. Anyone who has a blog can easily be part of the posse. It seems every detail of the industry (from the designers, models, publications, photographers, etc.) has at least one site that is dedicated to it. Of course, this isn’t limited to just blogs; YouTube is quickly becoming a suitable platform in which the fashion-conscious can share their interests (I will go further into detail with that aspect soon in another entry). With the internet it seems, fashion goes beyond the realm of plain aspiration; to some, living the dream just became a whole lot easier.