They found their calling blogging about their sense of fashion and lifestyle – and they’ve gone on to become some of the biggest influencers in the fashion market in South India today. RITZ features some of South India’s most popular fashion and lifestyle bloggers and finds out what exactly makes each one of them tick.
Blog : www.thegirlatfirstavenue.com
Monthly unique blog views: 60,000 +
Do you feel South Indian bloggers are sidelined by top national designers and big-ticket international labels? And why is that?
First of all, every city has a few well-established bloggers. But if you look at cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the sheer number of quality bloggers is way higher than in South Indian cities. Any brand/designer would first look to collaborate with a blogger who has great content, significant influence (whether through the blog or social media), and is in sync with the brand’s vision and ideology, irrespective of which city the blogger is based out of.
In Hyderabad particularly, I feel it is more of a vicious cycle. You need more quality bloggers for national/international designers to take notice. And you need brands and designers to start engaging bloggers through events and campaigns, to make the audience more aware of the concept, and encourage brand-blogger interactions. There needs to be a significant push and growth from both sides.
The other side of it is that, I have had experiences where brands have sometimes simply refused to collaborate simply because I was based in Hyderabad. Even some of the top designers who are from Hyderabad are keener on collaborating with bloggers from Mumbai as they find better scope there!
What do you feel bloggers from Mumbai or Delhi possess as advantages over their South Indian counterparts?
A blog is an online platform that is accessible to everyone from any part of the world. Your audience is not restricted to a particular city. So it depends on you how you manage to engage people on your blog. Having said that, as a city both Mumbai and Delhi are much more fashion forward, both in terms of having a fashion conscious consumer base and in terms of having a thriving fashion industry. There is no denying that. Certain brands and multi-chain retail stores aren’t even present in Hyderabad. So in terms of the industry and the blogger events that brands keep conducting – there could be a disadvantage there.
There are also instances when brands/designers blindly go by which “city” you are based out of, conveniently forgetting that a fashion blog can have a reader base pan India! But between the bloggers themselves there is great camaraderie. I have blogger friends from all over India. Everyone is in it because they are passionate about it, and everyone is always very supportive and encouraging.
There is criticism that fashion and beauty bloggers are far more exposed and knowledgeable in the north than here. Comment.
Really? This is the first time I am hearing of this! I feel city or location has absolutely nothing to do with how much knowledge you have. I know some stellar bloggers from South who are very well knowledgeable in their respective fields.
How lucrative is blogging even as a part time hobby?
Blogging is hard work and requires a lot of time and dedication. It really depends on the direction that you want to take it. You can have a full-time job and dedicate some time to blog on the side. Or you could become a full time blogger and build your personal brand. Either way it takes time, sometimes years. There are very few cases where bloggers have tasted overnight success.
Have you been part of mainstream campaigns by big brands to popularize their products/lines? Tell us about the experience.
All the campaigns I’ve been part of are up on my blog. So it’s an open book! Some that I’ve really enjoyed working with are Label Ritu Kumar, INCOCU, Limeroad, Max Fashions and ASUS. It’s more about the kind of campaign they have in mind, and whether they are giving you the creative freedom to execute it, rather than about big brand names.
What are your future plans?
Right now it is to continue working on my blog and various other projects. Since I am also an artist and I paint, I have started a new venture where I am trying to promote my work and various other artists as well. I am also working on a web magazine + creative lab venture along with my partner.
Miroslava Duma has made a career out of her social media presence as the fashion blogger par excellence. Do you see some such figure emerging from India?
Yes, definitely! Social media influencers are increasing in number day by day, and it is very lucrative as well.
How strongly are you influenced by Bollywood trends?
It’s part of my job description to be up-to-date on trends of all sorts. But I don’t really follow trends blindly; my personal style is more casual and laid back.
How do you understand what your readers/followers prefer or want?
After a while you get to know based on their reactions and feedback to various posts. Sometimes you just ask them what they would like to read/see.
How do you keep yourself abreast of fashion trends, beauty trends etc.?
A lot of browsing and reading of various fashion portals!
Who are your favorite bloggers and what sites do you visit for on-trend info?
Nicole Warne, Chiara Ferragni, Emily Schuman, Leandra Medine and Aimee Song to name a few.
In an age that encourages the most unconventional career choices; do you see blogging emerging as a viable career option?
Definitely! But you need to consider a lot of factors before deciding to take this as a full time career. Just like any other business it has its share of risks and rewards; and requires a whole lot of time and dedication.
Who are your favourite brands?
The list keeps changing quite frequently. Currently I love Kanika Goyal, Anita Dongre, Quirk Box and Doodlage. And some high-street brands like Topshop, River Island.
What names are you most often seen wearing?
Hard to say! I keep mixing it up in almost every outfit. I could be wearing a Ritu Kumar dress with a bag that I purchased while street shopping. I like to mix and match and not stick to any one brand.