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Not your mother’s L.L. Bean tote



L.L. Bean psycho tote

“Boat and Tote sales are up 30 percent over last year and have been one of the top drivers of new buyers this spring and summer. It’s been really fun seeing a new generation of customers taking our classic tote and making it their own.” L.L. Bean spokesperson, Amanda Hannah.

Everybody’s talking about how young peeps have co-opted the WASP-ish L.L. Bean Boat and Tote®* as a cheap-n-chic self-expression device.

The classic Maine-manufactured canvas tote can be monogrammed with initials, but thanks to IG and TikTok jokesters, the new thing is to subvert the #oldmoneyaesthetic heritage and emblazon it with a short sassy slogan instead. The beauty of the L.L. Bean tote was always its amalgamation of function and personalisation. You can pick the size of tote and colour of trim, as well as initials or slogan and font. Hundreds of possibilities if not thousands.

I have an L.L. Bean tote from a NARS launch many years ago and use it regularly. (It needs a clean though – thank you Town & Country for this how-to.) As a piece of merch, the slogan isn’t anything witty or pretty but simply ‘motu tane’ the name of the range. No matter, if you tire of your slogan, just wear the bag reversed until its time comes round again.

Read more here.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Juliana Salazar/Instagram
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
CLICK HERE to buy my beauty book, Face Values: The New Beauty Rituals and Skincare



What’s next for old-school fashion influencers?



Veronika Heilbrunner by Tommy Ton

What does the post-burnout, algorithm-fatigue influencer landscape look like? Vogue Business posed the question to me last week and I was happy to share some insights.

Vogue Business’s article is part of a series looking at the evolution of the ‘creator economy’ and this article looked specifically at how ‘influencers’ (i.e. bloggers and Instagrammers) are maturing in today’s fast-paced Gen-Z obsessed world.

When I started Disneyrollergirl in 2007, it was simply a bit of fun. No agenda, certainly no commercial gain and early blogging felt like an altogether purer community of like-minded fashion enthusiasts coming together around a shared interest. We didn’t even post that many photos of ourselves so there was no unconscious bias around age, size, looks, ethnicity etc. Ahhh different times!

Vogue Business future of creator economy

Then the brands and advertisers came along and turned this grassroots culture into a business. C’est la vie! Over time bloggers moved onto social media platforms and monetised their content and audiences with paid posts. What’s happened over the years is that these platforms are now run by unpredictable algorithms. Instagram has segued to prioritise video content (i.e., ‘Reels’), an attempt to compete with its younger competitor TikTok, thus grabbing share of that Gen-Z audience.

One thing I’ve learnt from being on social media for 20 years (starting with discussion forums, which to me were the precursor of social media) is that you must keep evolving. Even when you find the magic formula for success, platforms can switch tactic at any time. From posting casual in-the-moment photos in the early Instagram days, we had to learn to create more professional-looking imagery to appeal to brands. Then it shifted to raw again (hello Stories!) and then to Reels. (And OMG, remember when comment pods were a thing?)

Quite rightly, people who use Instagram professionally are pissed off at being controlled by the app. If you don’t pivot to how it wants to be used, it will stop sharing your posts to your followers. A disaster for influencers for whom views and Likes equal fees. As a result, early influencers are looking elsewhere to develop their communities.

Vogue Business future of creator economy

I’ve been reading a bit about ‘post platform communities’, where creators have a two-way dialogue with their audiences rather than being in one-way broadcast mode. The newest one is Geneva, a Gen-Z oriented app that groups conversations around themes. These are more personable and allow for a real ‘community’ feel where regular interactors feel valued and part of a tribe.

And it’s interesting to note a shift to newsletters like Substack – blogging by another name! Newsletters are considered more intimate as they land directly in an inbox. This and blogging appeal to me as an alternative to the ‘performing seal’ nature of TikTok and Reels. (Where is the social media app for introverts, I want to know…)

In the end though, my main takeaway is that algorithm aside, the user is the person who controls the platform. Every new app that comes along thinks it’s going to be used in a certain way. And then never is! Users inevitably adapt these platforms for their own use, hence TikTok is far more than silly dances now. It can be a comedy platform, a search engine, a study aid, a self-help refuge. So creators just have to learn to be innovative whatever platform they use, avoid the complacency trap and keep evolving their content in their favour – just like any media does, I guess.

The Vogue Business article is here (paywall) and it’s Part 2 in a six-part series on the Business of Influence.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Veronika Heilbrunner by Tommy Ton; Vogue Business
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
CLICK HERE to buy my beauty book, Face Values: The New Beauty Rituals and Skincare



The culture of fashion: the 90s heritage obsession continues



Raf Simons Fantastic Man cover

More on the 90s vintage story I wrote about in June.

Friday saw 26 pieces of vintage collectables land at Dover Street Market New York from the archive of stylist David Casavant. Curating pieces from the last 20 years by designers including Prada, Helmut Lang, and Raf Simons, highlights include a Raf Simons AW00 bomber jacket (example below) loaned to Rihanna for an event, a piece that Casavant acquired after seeing it on the cover of Fantastic Man (above).
Raf Simons patched Jacket AW00 David Casavant

Why should we care?

As I wrote a few weeks ago, the 90s and early 00s are officially vintage and that era of minimalist and conceptual designers has become lionised overtime. The appeal of Casavant’s curation-collection is a combination of fashion history for culture nerds meets celebrity memorabilia. As such, the storytelling aspect of buying and selling vintage becomes increasingly relevant.

It means you can charge more for a piece that has some sort of cultural history associated with it, even if it’s a seller saying they wore it to a particular club, or bought it from a once-iconic store and then relaying the memories attached to it.

Reinforcing this idea, David Casavant was adamant he wanted to sell the pieces in a store. “I wanted to begin small and I wanted to start where you buy them physically in store and not online,” he told WWD. “Having to buy the pieces physically in the store adds a more democratic as well as a more exclusive aspect because you have to actually go there in order to see and buy them. Dover Street Market is the perfect fit for me as they really understood and were excited about the vision. Resale is going to be a staple to stay in fashion and I wanted to be able to provide them with the highest form of…what resale could be like in their store.”

For a customer to buy one of these already special pieces in this way adds to the heritage story and cultural relevance of the piece. And so the chain of value continues.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Fantastic Man; Grailed
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
CLICK HERE to buy my beauty book, Face Values: The New Beauty Rituals and Skincare



Quote of the day: Michael Bise on 90s Gap



Gap quote Michael Bise

“Being at Gap in 1998 and 1999 was like being Tina Turner at the 1985 Grammys. She won everything that year. She was the most celebrated. The most eyes were on her. Everyone was looking at her and following her every move. And that’s what it was like at Gap.” (more…)