What’s all the hoo-hah about River Island’s ‘blogger-inspired’ collection?
There has been quite the brouhaha over River Island showing a ‘blogger-inspired’ range to the press at its AW12 press day. Consisting of statement accessories and clothes (think texture clashing, fearless colourplay, bold prints, embellished everything) a few style bloggers have taken umbrage at being thought of as people who just throw on gaudy mis-matchy outfits to get attention from streetstyle photographers or other bloggers. To this I say, lighten up! Keep calm, keep your head down and carry on. River Island (and H&M with its forthcoming Anna Dello Russo collab) are just thinking commercially with this idea. Because to achieve this look (which I’d say is a particular experimental-eclectic blogger look than a general blogger look) you do need to buy things in multiples. So River Island, H&M et al will maximise on sales of say, a top, a bag and three necklaces, rather than just one piece. It’s smart business thinking innit!
Having missed the press day and the chance to appraise the AW12 collection myself, I asked River Island’s press office for their thoughts. Senior press officer Melissa Collins says, “the blogger story is representative of a look that’s interesting, exciting, not afraid to experiment, not afraid to try looks that break boundaries and to push limits and fashion forward. Bloggers are ambassadors of street style which has become such a key element of the fashion industry today. As a brand, we are defining what real people are wearing and we feel that bloggers are the voice of the real people.”
I think the debate is quite an interesting one as it does beg the question, where does style blogging go next? I’m sure this one will run and run and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the debate discussed further in Grazia next week…
Image: River Island Instagram
13 May, 2012 @ 8:07 am
interesting how high street brands try to benefit financially from bloggers. what they don’t get is the fact, that a “blogger collection” fundamentally contradicts the indivuality of these people and thus won’t work. at least not the way they think…
13 May, 2012 @ 11:46 am
I guess it’s just the fact that they’ve explicitly branded it; the whole eclectically layered, individualist, exuberantly clashing aesthetic has undeniably sprung from the surge in fashion blog popularity – just as you could argue that the return of minimalism, and of the interest in traditional couture has something to do with more traditional press and the desire to counteract this new anarchy with something more rigorous?
13 May, 2012 @ 12:20 pm
My take is that it’s not aimed at bloggers but regular high street consumers, who maybe aren’t that adventurous but aspire to be an eclecto-clasher. Having someone like River Island break it down for them gives them ‘permission’ to take it on as a trend… maybe? Especially if you live in a small town where this sort of look isn’t mainstream, having it presented to you by a store like River Island makes it more mainstream.
And yes I guess the style bloggers themselves are purists and like any purist doesn’t like to see their carefully nurtured aesthetic labelled, packaged and sold as a commodity…
I’m quite good at seeing things from both sides and having spoken to the PR, the vibe I’m getting is that this is their way of reflecting a fun, upbeat styling trend not a cynical dig at bloggers. They’re simply cashing in on a fashion phenomenon.
the style crusader
14 May, 2012 @ 12:54 am
Love this post and that you got a reaction from Melissa.
I wasn’t even aware that RI had done a ‘blogger trend’ until I saw it on FE&L’s blog. Quite funny as RI is a brand I’ve been working with lately. While I took issue with some of the points in the article I read, I don’t actually have an issue with what RI has done. It’s the way what they did was presented that I had a problem with.
I really appreciate that a big brand like RI is embracing bloggers. Obviously it’s their goal to use whatever they can to increase sales and get ahead of the game. As a blogger it’s actually flattering that they’d value our medium enough to transfer it into a trend for the season. xx
14 May, 2012 @ 9:14 am
Thanks for clarification Jen! x