This is the age of personality. Whether it be a celebrity, brand or blogger, in order to stand out, above the digital noise, there needs to be a singular voice or personality to communicate through those all important social media channels.
I’ve always said social media is a little bit like skimming stones: sometimes those tweets or instagrams just plop and sink without a trace and other times they can bounce on and on, much further than you imagined.
These streams of digital information need to catch our interest. Everybody is competing for the same slices of people’s time and attention, not to mention wanting to broaden their marketing net by gaining followers and likes.
Bloggers have risen up into this space to become the editors of the Internet and help brands keep that stone skimming. Driven by a passion for their subject, these guys are now the opinion formers, influencers and leaders of modern menswear: real people with a real passion.
The Rise Of The Blogger
The blogosphere has changed dramatically over time. When I started TheChicGeek.co.uk five years ago, of course there were already bloggers, but it was seen as something of a hobby or an amateur form of fanning or geeking out over something.
At the time, I wasn’t happy with being labelled a ‘blogger’ as it had negative connotations and I was a professional journalist. But now I’m proud to say ‘blogger’, when asked what I do. I’m pleased to say I make a living doing something that is difficult to make a living from. Being a blogger, there is nowhere to hide – you need to know your stuff.
You’re out there 360 degrees, exposed to the world and people realise if you know what you’re talking about within five minutes of looking through your social media accounts and blog posts. After all, unlike a magazine, there is no masthead and various layers of sub-editing and correction to make you look good.
While still a relatively nascent business, the economic recession suppressed the development of the blogging industry with limited budgets and no extra money from brands for digital projects. Today, however, magazines are contracting and a vacuum is sucking in the style bloggers. It’s actually become something of an achievement to be a professional, full-time blogger.
Yet the problem with the Internet is there’s a lot of information, but too few people actually saying anything. You need to be able to tune your digital antennae to focus on those individuals you want to hear from and, ultimately, respect.
To be a good style blogger you need to have something relevant to say – whether through words, images or both – that’s different or more informed than somebody else.
With this in mind, here are some of the most visible players currently in the menswear blogosphere:
Jefferson Pires started SchoolboyCouture in 2009 as a place to express his creative side and talk about things that interested him. Since then, he has worked with brands such as Leica, Bang & Olufsen, Topman and Mr Porter.
Pires is based in Manchester and describes his style as being centred around comfort. He doesn’t tend to over-think his outfits and each piece has to be something he feels completely comfortable in. He also steers clear of overly branded clothing and is naturally attracted to pieces that are well made.
Pires’ style would probably be best described as ‘street’ with an artistic slant.
Grey Fox Blog
Feeling like the older gentleman was being forgotten in contemporary fashion, David Evans started Grey Fox in December 2011.
As a man over forty, he thought it was hard to decide what to wear and how to dress. This fashion and style blog is his response. Evans thinks that the fashion industry is blind to this large, affluent market – middle-aged and older men – and only advertises/sells to the younger fast fashion crowd.
Regularly talking to older guys, like himself, without patronising them, Evans is also a massive champion of UK plc and everything made in the UK. He understands these gents can often afford something of better quality and looks to highlight small producers still making well-crafted pieces here in the British Isles.
Hosted on Mademoiselle Robot’s site (one of the industry’s leading womenswear blogs), Monsieur Robot has been around for over seven years now.
Warren Beckett and Mademoiselle Robot worked together years ago and had so much fun that they thought they’d keep it up by blogging on their shared love of fashion. Beckett’s personal style tends to veer towards more casual street wear but Monsieur Robot isn’t particularly trend-led.
He covers runway shows, but always tries to give each post some cultural context while being a pure reflection of his personal tastes. Aiming to give his readers something they can’t get anywhere else – be it a discussion of a collection written from the perspective of post-structuralism or an outfit post inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe – Beckett states that the main reason he is interested in fashion is because of its power to alter peoples’ perception of you.
His high points of blogging so far include interviewing Mink Stole and styling with Karl Lagerfeld.
Permanent Style was founded by Simon Crompton in 2007 and is the UK authority on classic and luxury menswear.
Professional journalist and editor, Crompton has grown Permanent Style largely on the back of word-of-mouth recommendations by men looking for real journalism and intelligent advice on style and luxury clothing.
His access and experience comes from over a decade of using bespoke makers, visiting factories around the world and interviewing both craftsmen and designers at the world’s leading manufacturers.
Crompton offers men advice on the subtle things to look for and what these premium brands and tailors offer. This is a modern take on classic Savile Row dressing with all the details and codes deciphered.
Toni Tran is an architecture student who produces a colourful, image-led blog featuring his unique styling ideas inspired by architecture, hence the name Fashitects.
Founded in 2011, his style could be describe as maximalist: a mix of styles, patterns and colour, he certainly isn’t shy from making a statement or even raiding his mum’s wardrobe, at times.
He has worked with brands such as Penhaligon’s and Sony and is known for his imaginative use of photography in exotic locations.
Style & Error
Thomas Stubbs, the man behind Style & Error, is a menswear stylist (the guy who makes Dermot look good on The X Factor) and fashion writer, whose sense of humour is underpinned with years of industry knowledge.
Graduating from Middlesex University with a first-class BA Hons in fashion design, Stubbs moved into men’s styling after completing his studies, working at Loaded as a stylist and fashion editor.
During this period, in 2000, he also began writing for The Sunday Times Style and went on to become the magazine’s first ever menswear columnist.
He currently writes a regular men’s style and luxury column, The Sharpener, for The FT/How To Spend It. Stubbs has also contributed to publications including The Daily Telegraph, GQ and Man About Town.
Style & Error is Stubbs’ record of things he likes and catches his eye within the industry.
Mr Boy is Karlmond Tang, a British-born Chinese twenty-something based in London.
His style is a blend of tailoring with comfortable clothing. His look is simple, but strong. A sucker for most things blue, he likes his suiting, but not necessarily a three-piece all day, every day.
Featuring original photography and writing covering his own individual and passionate interpretation of fashion and style, he has previously worked with brands such as GAP.
I AM GALLA
Started in 2009, when Adam Gallagher was a seventeen-year-old Californian student, I AM GALLA, derived from his surname, has quickly become an Instagram sensation with over 811K followers.
Proof that model looks and preppy pieces never go out of fashion, Gallagher is known for his tailoring and refined style.
Featuring tips, trend forecasts and outfit inspiration, Gallagher is the poster boy for the new wave of Instagram bloggers. Classic Americana at its finest.
With traditional men’s magazines continuing to contract and advertisers and brands looking to reach a new audience, bloggers have become the new editors and style guardians of the World Wide Web.
For fashion-conscious gents, like you, these passionate industry experts can offer tips, inspiration and genuine insight on the future of the industry, often helping shape it.
But now we want to hear your view – who are your favourite industry bloggers, whether home or abroad? Make sure you share your daily reads in the comments section below…