I feel the need for a quick disclaimer before I start this post: some might not like what I have to say today, but ultimately this is just my opinion based on my many years spent in this industry. Plus, as you’ll note, I’m very much including myself in the more critical comments about the blogging world. With all that said…
There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether there is room for any new bloggers in 2017. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the industry is pretty over-saturated, and there are many positives and negatives to that statement depending on your outlook. It’s a question I’ve been pondering quite a lot recently, especially given the fact that I’ve seen my own platforms suffer in terms of views/reach lately – something I know so many of my fellow creators have been experiencing too. So what’s the conclusion I’ve personally drawn on this?
Yes…and no. Yes, there absolutely is room for original, exciting, fresh, new blogging talent. No, there is no room left for more cookie-cutter bloggers.
Now, hear me out. I am 100% categorically NOT wanting to exclude any single person wishing to start a blog. What I am saying – as someone who has been at this in some form or another almost since day one – is that in order to stand out in this incredibly competitive field, you have to bring something else to the table. That ‘something else’ is what makes you YOU. Not what makes you like everyone else.
This is based on a bit of an epiphany I had in the past week. I was scrolling through Instagram, slowly realising that photo after photo was starting to look the same. MINE INCLUDED. Similar locations, similar outfits, similar themes. I went back to my own Instagram grid and took a long, hard, objective look at it. There were moments in which I almost didn’t recognise myself, and I found myself questioning whether I actually liked some of the clothes I was wearing or content I was sharing. In the past year or so, I feel like so, so many bloggers have kind of merged into one kind of look and style, both fashion-wise and beyond, and I am absolutely guilty of slipping into it myself at times. It is a real shame, and to be perfectly blunt…it’s pretty boring.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand what I’m saying. If you genuinely love some of the more cliché blogger trends, then by all means enjoy them and share away! You’re not going to find me ditching my affinity for a good marble table anytime soon. But 1. the love has to be real, and 2. I don’t believe that that’s all there is to you. I want to know about your weird and wonderful hobbies, the quirky clothing labels you love, those pieces in your wardrobe you’ve had for years and adore, the music that sets your soul on fire, the TV series or film you’re current obsessed with. Setting yourself apart from the crowd should never be forced – it’s about using all of those awesome details that make you unique and working them into your online presence.
I’m not saying bloggers need to be outrageous or insincere. Quite the opposite…I’m craving that ‘realness’ from bloggers. This is just a personal preference, but the shine of the ‘luxury lifestyle’ blogging world is tarnished for me. Firstly because it’s often not all it seems, but largely because I see so many people stressing themselves out trying to present this ‘perfect life’ front online when it’s totally unnecessary. I get that people want to put their best selves forward, but the line between fiction and reality is blurring so rapidly and I’m kind of over it. There’s a poignant lyric from The Pretty Reckless’ song Oh My God which sums it up: “Don’t try for perfect, it’s never enough“. We’re seeing people going to extremes to convey this unattainable level of perfection and it’s bordering on ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, there are some people who do very naturally fit into this blogging niche and more power to them! But if it’s not for you, don’t worry about it. There’s more than enough room for you elsewhere in the blogging sphere.
In many ways I feel blogging needs to come full circle. This community started out so raw and real, and it’s gradually become something so much more preened and polished. But there is absolutely room to still be professional, have the awesome equipment, blog design, even team around you (if you’re at that stage in your blogging career) and still be your true self. I mentioned the term ‘cookie cutter bloggers’ earlier in this post, and I’m anticipating some backlash over my use of it. Not least because you could very easily (and accurately!) accuse me of conforming to this label at various stages during my blogging journey. But I am making changes, and they’re coming very naturally for a simple reason – I’m the world’s leading expert in being Chyaz. And no-one can be YOU better than yourself.
Make the most of your quirks, your sense of humour, your interests, ambitions and thoughts. It can be scary to put it all out there but damn, it’s worth it. Please don’t think that I’m saying I have this all figured out – I’m definitely working towards it and trying to be better. More so than anything, I hope this post will be useful for those wanting to start a blog. I feel a bit old and wise in this industry at this point, and feel this is all something that needed to be said.
I’d like to end this post on a high by speaking about a few people who are just nailing the things I’ve talked about in this post. One of my ultimate favourite bloggers of all time is Lima from Fashionicide – she’s the epitome of creativity and embracing your unique talents. I’m absolutely loving Jessica from Foxxtailz and her awesome style, and actually feel that discovering her blog was one element which kick-started my thought process on all of this. My lovely friend Pamela from SpamellaB strikes the perfect balance between producing super interesting, killer content and a providing fabulously honest insights into her life and lifestyle. Victoria from InTheFrow is my favourite example of a luxury lifestyle blogger who isn’t forcing anything, or afraid to admit that every moment of every day ain’t perfect (particularly in her vlogs). The same goes for Em from EmTalks. The wonderful Samio is not only one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, but has such amazing values behind her online work too. I could go on and on, but there are some truly good eggs out there.
You may notice a few changes to what I’m doing online, probably most prominently in my style, which is why I have included these photos in this post. I felt I was moving way too far away from the edgy look that I truly love, and it felt totally wrong to me. I do love my pastel colours but I’m happiest when my outfits have a bit of a rock and roll edge, and I need to be true to that. I’m working on mixing the two and I am loving the results so far. Stay tuned!
I can imagine people will have more than a few thoughts on all I’ve talked about, and I would really love to hear your own take on this subject. Whether you agree or think I’m off the mark, let me know below!
In terms of what I’m wearing in this post, here’s a little info. I know a few of you have already asked about my shoes on Instagram!
Denim Jacket: LOTD
Top: Originally River Island (similar)
Leggings: American Apparel