With brand collaborations, sponsorships, and even a spread in Vogue, fashion bloggers’ transition into the mainstream market was one of the biggest success stories of last year. And only two weeks into 2011, this year is already shaping up to be bigger for bloggers than last.
In February, 20 Tumblr bloggers will be hitting the shows at New York Fashion Week — a first for the industry. That same month, H&M will be releasing its first non-designer collaboration with Swedish blogger Elin Kling. Though blogger collaborations with brands aren’t new—Coach tapped four bloggers to design and produce their own handbags last year—this marks a serious shift in thought by one of the world’s biggest retailers.
Newly-appointed Lucky EIC Brandon Holley is psyched about bloggers as well; in yesterday’s New York Times she revealed plans to form a fashion and beauty blog network, the Lucky Style Collective, and she’s even planning her own fashion and beauty blog conference. Also this week, designer Rebecca Minkoff announced that Fashion Indie founder Daniel Saynt would be joining her company as chief marketing officer.
Though bloggers are trendy right now, their ability to benefit brands has yet to be proven. Rumi Neely of Fashion Toast has designed clothing for Cali line RVCA and modeled for Forever 21. It’s unclear if she’s grown either the company’s sales or their consumer base. We’re waiting for some clear evidence that having bloggers on your team translates into higher sales, or better branding. Until we see that, we’ll stick to the view that bloggers are the current hot thing — but perhaps not much else.