Coming Soon: Haute Visual’s Fashionista of the Month

Here at the Haute Visual office, we kind of style stalk a variety of the different bloggers and stylists that we stumble upon. To document our favorite fashionistas we decided to exhibit one haute chic a month.

Starting in January, Haute Visual will showcase a fashionista on the 10th of every month asking them ten questions and featuring ten of their favorite items of the season.

If you would like to be considered for a Fashionista of the Month,   please email info@hautevisual.com with the subject “Fashionista of the Month.”

 

The Business of Blogging – Into The Gloss

 

Nick Axelrod and Emily Weiss of Into The Gloss | Photo: David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com

Next up in our on-going series on fashion’s most influential bloggers and their business models, BoF speaks to Emily Weiss and Nick Axelrod of Into The Gloss.

PARIS, France — “I think I would wither up if I wasn’t collaborating and meeting people and talking to people and hearing their stories,” says Emily Weiss, founder of Into The Gloss, a popular website dedicated to the beauty routines of fashion industry insiders which now attracts over 200,000 unique visitors each month, generating approximately 4.5 million monthly pageviews.

“I appreciate the role beauty plays in people’s lives and how transforming it can be,” says Weiss with characteristic verve when we meet between shows at Paris Fashion Week. “I just interviewed Isabel Marant the other day, who I’ve been dying to talk to for three years because she doesn’t colour her hair or wear any make up. I am just as interested in why a woman decides that’s her M.O. in life as I am in a woman who won’t leave the house without flat ironing her hair everyday.”

Indeed, with just a few questions, Weiss has the uncanny ability to strip away the surface and uncover what daily beauty rituals and priorities reveal about an individual, drawing out interesting personal narratives that go much deeper than product recommendations. It’s the natural curiosity behind this approach, alongside the site’s impeccably professional aesthetics, that have made Into The Gloss one of the most compelling new voices in the fashion and beauty blogosphere with the potential to grow into a full-fledged media business for the digital age.

Until recently, many of the world’s top fashion bloggers followed a similar path to success. Out of personal passion and interest, they began to create words and images with a distinct point of view, striking a chord with niche audiences, then tapping opportunities to reach larger audiences through contributions to mainstream media brands. Tavi Gevinson, Susie Bubble and Tommy Ton all developed their blogs this way.

Weiss did things the other way around. When she started Into The Gloss at the age of 26, she was already something of a fashion veteran, having spent several years working in various intern, assistant and contributor roles alongside some of the biggest names in fashion media, including Teen Vogue’s Amy Astley and Jane Keltner De Valle, and, most recently, long-time American Vogue contributor Elissa Santisi.

This experience armed Weiss with the range of professional skills she needed to develop her own quality content. “I’m always observing people and their style, so I would stop girls on the street and ask to take their picture and pitch them to the magazine,” recalls Weiss of her days interning at Teen Vogue. “Quite often, the magazine would say yes and they would have me style the shoot or write the piece. I learned to see every story in a very 360 degree way, from concept to pitching to execution; from ‘Who is she? How are we seeing her? What’s her story? How are we going to capture that?’ to the layout and ultimately seeing the whole process,” she continues.

Though Weiss never worked as a beauty editor, “I was always a consumer of beauty,” she says. “I was always fascinated by products and the beauty teams — hair stylists, makeup artists — I got to work with on shoots and for shows.”

Her experience at major magazines also enabled her to identify gaps in the way the established fashion media has traditionally covered the beauty industry. And after an epiphany on Compo Beach in Westport, Connecticut, during the summer of 2010, Weiss decided to develop a plan for her own publication. “[In mainstream magazines], I think beauty is very condensed, like little sound bites everywhere. If it’s a quote from a make-up artist, it’s very small, tiny glimpses of these things. I wanted to really hear more from these people in their own words, not just the professionals, but also the women in fashion,” she explains. “I was so fascinated by the French girls, like Jane Birkin, Carine Roitfeld and Caroline de Maigret who all have that very nonchalantly sexy quality about them. I was also really into the super precise women who are so gung-ho in one direction with their look, so consistant, like Victoire de Castellane or Michèle Lamy. There are a bazillion blogs about personal style, about their outfits, but where do they go and get their hair coloured?”

Critically, Weiss also took a different approach to product recommendations, emphasising information she thought women would actually find useful, not just new product announcements. “Did you use this thing for a month and does it really make your dark spots go away?” she asks. “A lot of women, the way they learn about products is from recommendations from their friends and the people they look up to. So I think it’s as much about the mascara you have been using for eight years, as it is about the new mascara you have been using for a week.”

When Weiss first launched Into the Gloss, she was still freelancing and only posted about three times a week. “I was only posting that frequently because I wanted everything to be really, really great. I’m all about quality over quantity.”

Then, earlier this year, in a big push to ramp up the volume of content, she asked Nick Axelrod — an old friend who worked across the hall from her five years ago, when Weiss and Axelrod were both newly hired assistants at W and Women’s Wear Daily, respectively, and the two publications were still both part of Condé Nast’s Fairchild Fashion Media division — to become the site’s editorial director. The frequency of posts on Into The Gloss jumped from three times a week to three times a day, resulting in a tripling of traffic almost overnight, according to figures supplied by Into The Gloss.

Reflecting on his decision to leave established fashion media (most recently, he was senior fashion news editor at Elle) and join Weiss, Axelrod says: “The media industry that we entered into as early twentysomethings changed very quickly in October 2008. All of a sudden it was not the same thing. The way you could map out your life suddenly shifted. But I think we’ve both benefited from rigorous print training.”

With content that was simultaneously professional, authentic and sophisticated, the website was appealing to advertisers right from the start and has since expanded into sponsored content and brand partnerships.

“I’ve worked on a number of projects with Into The Gloss,” says Kerry Diamond, divisional vice president of public relations and collaborations at Coach. “When I was vice president of public relations at Lancôme, the brand was the first to advertise with Into The Gloss. Emily cold called us and, via her charm and tenacity, convinced us to meet with her. She gave us a sneak peek at the site and we were so impressed. In terms of content and design, it was incredibly sophisticated.”

Lancôme has also collaborated with Into The Gloss on sponsored content. For a piece to promote a new matte lipstick, Weiss did the makeup, took the photos and wrote the text, as well as rounding up friends to model in the story. “She’s a real triple threat,” says Diamond, who continues to work with Weiss at Coach. “Posts like this are common today, but they weren’t back then. We were thrilled with how Emily brought the product to life.”

“When Bumble & Bumble were launching a new product and decided to debut it on Into The Gloss, we did a really successful sampling campaign,” says Weiss of a recent brand collaboration. In fact, when the campaign (for Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil) was published on Into The Gloss, last August, the site became the third largest driver of traffic to bumbleandbumble.com, after social media behemoths Pinterest and Facebook, and the product became the company’s number one e-commerce seller. Indeed, with this kind of power to move product, Into The Gloss could one day become an e-commerce success of its own.

But what’s in the immediate future for the budding new media impresaria?

“When I started the site, people would ask me, ‘What’s your five year plan?’ And I started freaking out, because I thought, I don’t really know,” recalls Weiss. “Because blogging — especially at this level, where it’s a real business — is still such a new medium. I’ve been pitched a lot of things, from guest blogging for brands to designing makeup collections, but I think right now, the number one thing is focusing on the quality and breadth of our content. Expanding the website, and our audience, is what’s most important.”

Imran Amed is founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion

Source: Business of Fashion November 26, 2012

Fashion’s New Establishment: Once a stepping stone to print, blogs are now a destination unto themselves

NEW YORK (AdWeek.com) In 2009, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana made news by filling its front row—typically the sole provenance of A-list actresses and Anna Wintour—with fashion bloggers, even equipping them with laptops. Among those bloggers was Scott Schuman, creator of street style site The Sartorialist, who, in a recent profile in GQ, made no effort to hide his indignation over that show. “[Dolce & Gabbana] got a humongous amount of press. … ‘Look, we brought the bloggers in and gave them the front row. Look at the dancing-monkey bloggers!’ ” He then added, “I could barely bring myself to sit down.” But since then, style blogs like The Man Repeller, Into the Gloss, Style Rookie and Bryanboy, aka Bryan Grey Yambao (look for him judging the next season of America’s Next Top Model), have become assigned reading among the fashion set—and you’d be hard-pressed to find them missing a single Fashion Week. In just a few short years, fashion blogging has evolved from something of a novelty into a legitimate career, and one that might even be preferable to writing for a big-name glossy.

Just ask Nick Axelrod, a former news editor at Elle. Last month, he announced that he was leaving to become the editorial director of Into the Gloss, a beauty blog started by Emily Weiss, a friend and former fellow assistant at Fairchild Fashion Group. “Almost two years ago, when Emily launched the blog, I remember saying, ‘Oh really, another blog?’ and giving her a skeptical eye,” Axelrod recalled. But after realizing the site’s potential for growth, he said, he was converted.

Other print vets embracing the digital-only fashion world are Derek Blasberg, an editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar, who’s built a personal brand outside the magazine with his Mr. Blasberg blog; and Lucy Yeomans, who quit last March after 12 years as the editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK to edit Net-A-Porter’s online magazine.

(The company’s men’s site, Mr Porter, boasts former Esquire UK editor in chief Jeremy Langmead at its editorial helm. He left the magazine in 2010 to make the jump to digital.)

Leandra Medine, creator of the tongue-in-cheek blog, The Man Repeller, was studying journalism in college when she started the site in 2010 as a side project. “I definitely didn’t think [blogging] was a sustainable career, and I think that’s why I did so many brand partnerships and interviews,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to get everything out of this that I can because who knows how long this is going to last?’” But that publicity—which led to collaborations with hip designers like Gryphon and Dannijo—made her a household name among young fashion addicts and led to a book deal.

Still, for every Sartorialist, there are hundreds more bloggers whose hobby will remain just that. “I think there are a very, very select few bloggers that can make this a lasting career,” said John Jannuzzi, a contributing digital editor at Lucky who runs the magazine’s Style Collective, a blogger network. “Everyone out there has some kind of expiration date. What happens when a personal-style blogger wakes up and she’s 35 and not the cute 20-year-old girl in Brooklyn anymore?”

That’s where expansion comes in—namely, building a site to include new writers without losing the voice of its creator. (For a recent successful example of this, see teen blogger Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Mag, a popular online site for young women that grew out of a personal blog, Style Rookie.) Axelrod is in the early stages of hiring contributing writers for Into the Gloss, while Medine is auditioning new talent and “parlaying Man Repeller the blog into Man Repeller the website,” which she describes as a cross between Vogue and Jezebel.

As they expand and become a more integral part of the fashion community, bloggers are also getting greater support from advertisers. “As brands are seeing the blogs’ reach and their influence grow, they’re getting better and better access and becoming more visible as a whole,” said Amy Odell, writer for Buzzfeed Shift and formerly of New York magazine’s fashion blog, The Cut. “If you can deliver the impressions, you can play the game,” said Jannuzzi. “Leandra has a ton of traffic. There’s no reason why she can’t have great advertisers, and she does. Scott [Schuman] has Net-A-Porter, a big campaign with Tiffany’s. They’re proof that you can get to that point.”

Three years after Schuman’s Dolce & Gabbana experience, it’s hard to imagine any top blogger feeling out of place at a fashion show. “I remember at a couple of shows last season, I would be seated front row center, and across from me would be big editors that I’ve admired for years sitting second, third row,” said Medine. “I felt a little like, ‘Who am I to be sitting in this seat?’ But the more I think about it, I realize we as bloggers have these super independent voices, and it’s important for us to be out streaming whatever is going on to our Instagrams and Tumblrs. I don’t want to say that it’s normal and I deserve to be front row … but I guess I do.”

Source: ADWEEK July 10, 2012