Yep even bloggers experience that feeling of not fitting in, but you know what, no matter what 'they' say, it's more than ok to just be you...always.
This is a topic I've wanted to talk about for some time now but until this point I've struggled to get my thoughts down in words that make any kind of sense. Sometimes it's difficult to express a feeling, because that's exactly what it is, a feeling. I'm going to make a very clear statement here...I do not fit in with the fashion industry. Over the last decade the fashion industry has changed massively and it's expanded to now include digital influencers and bloggers but it's still that harsh industry which scares the shit out of me. You all know my feelings on Fashion Week and why I don't attend but it stretches further than that, it's an all year round feeling and maybe when I explain some things it might make sense as to why I don't get involved in this industry directly and why I keep myself in my own little bubble.
I started my blog back in 2007 but it took a year or so before bloggers started being invited to events and even press days which is so hard to believe because it's made a total 360 and now blogging events are a thing of their own. But back in those early days I did go to a lot of events, it was new and it was quite exciting. Coming from a retail background where I spent my days planning months of staff rotas, analysing figures and statistics and trying to figure out where that missing 10p had gone at the end of the day when cashing up, getting a little bit dressed up and heading off to an even was a big deal for me. Funnily enough I've turned a total 360 and that's now my worst nightmare.
I remember one event in particular, it was for H&M and it was a launch of one of their conscious collections and I came away from that night having learnt several life lessons. I attended the event on my own, something which I rarely did as it was always good to have back-up and have a buddy to chat to. Not many bloggers existed at this time so there was a risk of turning up to an event and not seeing anyone else you knew amongst all the press and 'important people'. Sure enough that's the exact scenario I found myself in, I walked into a crowded room full of 'important people' and soiled myself...not literally of course, but wouldn't that have been the icing on the cake. I was like a deer in the headlights, no one turned to look at me or anything, in fact I probably didn't even exist to the majority of the people in that room but there's only one word to explain that feeling, intimidated. Now yes you might say that this was my own issue, my own insecurity, and yes you'd be right but I had experienced similar scenarios to this before and I kind of knew what was coming. I carefully negotiated the stairs in my ridiculous heels and went off to a corner on the right hand side, grabbing some elderflower crap in a glass (why is it never just a Diet Coke?) as I went. I stood there for 15 minutes just surveying the room, trying to see if there was anyone I knew, no luck. However I spotted the canapés start to circulate the room so being the absolute gluten that I am, I found my feet start to pull me toward the moving platters of miniature food. I took some kind of mini quiche thing and a napkin and started to munch, it was grim obviously, because if it's not a chicken nugget, it's not going to impress me. By this point I was now almost stood in the middle of the room, 'holy shit how did I end up here?' and then a woman who was stood in a cluster of other 'important people' turned around and handed me her napkin and half a dozen cocktail skewers. Now, if you watch my vlogs then you'll know my face is very expressive, it's the one thing I can't really control, and so my facial expression must have indicated a severe amount of distaste and/or shock upon being bestowed these blessed gifts. She hovered for a few seconds and then said "You are an intern?". It was uttered as more of a statement with a hint of a question which left me confused about my own being...am I an intern, why am I here? I snapped out of my disbelief and said very politely and yet uncomfortably, "No, I'm not, I'm here for the event" #awkward. She laughed it off, never said sorry fyi, but opened up her circle to me. I stepped in confidently, I had been accepted, this was like getting a letter to Hogwarts. I began listening intently to the conversations happening around me, I had no idea what any of them were talking about but I was waiting for my moment to join one. The woman facing me came to the end of her conversation and said to me, "which publication are you from?". The next few words out of my mouth, I said with pride, I still do, and yet this moment in time was something which will stick with me forever. "Oh, I'm a Blogger". To me this was something to be proud of, I was at this swanky event, drinking this posh elderflower shit, eating the miniature food, amongst all these people who had probably gone to university to do a degree in journalism or fashion something or other...and there was me, there off my own back. That circle closed up smaller than a cats arsehole, but not before I saw the look of absolute disgust from every single face glaring at me. So there I was, outside the circle once again, back in my rightful place, still holding her fucking napkin and cocktail skewers.
I can look back on that moment and laugh about it now, and hopefully you guys will have a chuckle at that story too but the truth is 'Blogger' was a dirty word. It took a good few years before it became acceptable to be a Blogger but even to this day I still think that we're not widely accepted by all members of the press (or what's left of them) or the general public. That's fine, I completely understand not everyone will have the same opinions towards Bloggers but there were so many occasions where I was made to feel worthless and that wasn't just by the press, it came/still comes from other bloggers too.
As a Blogger it is quite easy to look at the Blogosphere and see certain cliques and certain groups/categories which people will fall into. The pretty and flowery girls, the grungy girls, the bikini clad girls, the cool girls...the list goes on. This spans worldwide, it's women that fall into a category of a certain style and a certain aesthetic. There are hundreds of thousands, probably even millions of Bloggers across the globe now and it's virtually impossible for everyone to be 100% unique, myself included. There will always be similarities in style or similarities in blog design, hair, make-up, photography, editing style etc etc. Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing, putting people in a box will always happen, it's how we analyse things and how we decide if it's something we like, and it's human nature. But what happens when you don't fit perfectly into one of these boxes? What happens when an arm is sticking out of one side and a leg dangling out of the other? Well this means you're a hybrid and that's not something you should try to change.
My style is very similar to a whole host of girls who are in a specific box but there are trends, and yes Bloggers (all of us!) will follow or become inspired by those themselves, before bringing them to the masses. There are certain points of inspiration; Tumblr accounts, Pinterest, selected magazines which are still in circulation, cities, countries and then certain individuals which we all turn to, so yes, there will always be similarities, despite some people claiming ownership of certain things *rolls eyes*. For me I've discovered it's my personality and my lifestyle that doesn't quite fit in. No I don't have a membership to Soho House, in fact I shudder every time I step foot in one of those places, although in beautiful locations, they are so not my scene. I eat McDonalds and KFC and my idea of fine dining is Nandos. I still think farts are hilarious. I live in South East London, the least pretty/hip/trendy/cool area of London. I hate elderflower (who'd have guessed), matcha, or any other healthy but 'in' drink. I don't 'do' art or anything that is deemed to be cultural; my worst nightmare would be visiting an art gallery or going to the ballet. I do not have a summerhouse in France or a countryside getaway. I don't own vintage furniture, I love Ikea. It's all of these things which make me, me. Unfortunately though I have had many an experience over the years where I might have expressed any of the above points about my personality or lifestyle/taste and it's pushed me further and further out of 'the box'. Even to the degree where people think I don't have the right to own luxury goods, because I'll wear them with high street and I'm trying to 'be someone else' in their opinion. Or I can't wear a certain brand because I'm just not 'cool' enough. Well no, but thanks for caring enough to make these comments, I'm flattered. The funniest thing I've heard (third hand) is that people have an opinion on how I run my business. Apparently affiliate links aren't 'cool' so when I post my outfits to Liketoknow.it to let you guys know that you can shop them easily in one place, that's not acceptable to some because it's not how they do things. Well that's cool, hows about you do you and I'll do me.
There's always going to difference in this industry, in fact, in the world in general and there will definitely always be bitching and shade throwing. But I guess the moral of the story is that whatever you do you shouldn't ever try and fit into one box if it's not 100% you, just to please others or to feel like you belong. I'm happy just being me, sitting in a KFC in my Chanel slingbacks (worrrrrrrd), more than likely dripping gravy down my high street dress, on a Friday night...because that's how I roll.