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The catwalk of life
by Nina Reetzke | 12/20/2010
Alle Fotos: Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark

A young woman runs through an autumnal forest at sundown. She wears a black cap, a grey pullover and a large black-and-white speckled jacket, bright knickerbockers, woolen socks in a shade of red and ankle-high laced booties with a wedge heel. She is posing for a camera. She will later post the photos on her fashion blog. There she writes that she got her inspiration for the shooting when visiting London's "Tabio Shop". Moreover, she reports the brand names of the various articles of clothing and remarks tersely: "This coat makes me do strange things with my arms. Sorry." The author is called Nadia, was born in 1984, lives in London and runs the "froufrou" fashion blog.

In her function as a fashion blogger, Nadia is not only highly visible online, but along with 39 other fashion bloggers has just been presented in Simone Werle's book "Style Diaries". It boasts a total of some 400 pages, and provides all the information on each of the bloggers, such as date of birth, nationality, place of residence and Internet address. The bloggers include, for example, the likes of Susanna Lau with "stylebubble", Adrian Francis Wu with "davisadrian" and Ulrike Schuman with "dottisdots". Moreover, each blogger has a page on which to her own views in the form of keywords. Each portrait focuses, however, on a series of selected images.

Fashion blogs are a phenomenon of the last ten years. Equipped with a camera and a laptop fashion nerds seek the inspiration for their blogs on the street, report on fashion events or place themselves on center stage. Today, there are several hundred such Internet pages, with the quality varying enormously. The well-established fashion blogs include, for example, "the sartorialist" by American Scott Schuman, "facehunter" by Switzerland's Yvan Rodic and "bryanboy" by Bryan Grey-Yambao from the Philippines. The declared media favorite of the month is Tavi Gevinson in the States, a kind of Blogger wunderkind at the age of only 14, who in 2008 founded "style rookie" and who catches the eye even in the fashion industry, with its craze for youth and eccentricity. The established fashion blogs attract thousands of a this a day. Meaning that it is no longer exclusively the major fashion magazines that hold sway over fashion opinion. It is thus hardly surprising that a blog such as "lookbook.nu" opted to go commercial and join forces with "Vogue". Moreover, the blog culture has now reached the world of art, too. NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, for example, recently devoted an exhibition showcasing some 1,000 photos to German-Swedish fashion blogger Gunnar Hämmerle.

The potential readership of the fashion blogs, and by extensive of "Style Diaries", include, for example, Svenja and Franziska, both aged 19 and resident in Frankfurt. While Svenja regularly reads fashion blogs, the topic is new terrain for Franziska. Both view fashion blogs as a form of diary. The focus, after all, is not just on fashion, but also on music, design, friends - and a general outlook on life. Anyone writing a blog must therefore consider carefully what he or she publishes and will invariably receive feedback from the readers - be it positive or negative. The appeal for readers is primarily that they get to see the world through someone else's eyes or immerse themselves in another person's world, although we all have to choose what we personally find interesting - and of course reading fashion blogs should not lead to personal experience of personal taste simply getting thrown overboard. Svenja personally likes the "Birds of a Feather" blog authored by Cailin Klohk, a 17-year-old pupil from Frankfurt. Svenja can readily identify with the content of the blog because Cailin Klohk moves in similar circles to those in which Svenja is at home and is not yet outfitted with clothing from (or gifted by) the major fashion houses.

Svenja and Franziska think that "Style Diaries" is an ideal introductory book to the subject of fashion blogs. Svenja comments: "There is simply so much on the Internet ... If you have not spent so much time looking at fashion blogs then you can easily be overwhelmed by the flood, which never stops. Readers have to find out what blogs they personally like and whether they are good. "Style Diaries" offers a selection from which you pick out the cherries and then continue the search on your own." However, they also find things to criticize. Simone Werle's introduction, which is only one page long, is they feel, too short. She writes two paragraphs on bloggers as an indie scene within the fashion world, but does not explore the context of or the development of the fashion blogs. A more thorough consideration of the fashion blogs would have been interesting for many readers precisely in the case of a medium that develops and changes so incredibly swiftly, one that started subversively and was commercialized almost overnight. Moreover, Simone Werle does not state what her criteria were when choosing the fashion blogs and the material. Precisely because there is an almost infinite number of fashion bloggers, with incredible differences in terms of design and quality, it would have been important to explain the concept underlying the "Style Diaries". Readers will therefore quite justifiably ask why Susanna Lau, Adrian Francis Wu and Ulrike Schuman are portrayed, but "the sartorialist", "facehunter" and "bryanboy" are not. Nevertheless, the "Style Diaries" has a pleasant feel to it; it is not an art book, is a customary paperback, and you can leaf through it as if it were a photo album. The sparse, short texts are easy reads - and the whole thing is a perfect fit for situations of relaxed downtime when you want light entertainment, for example when enjoying the sun in the garden or waiting somewhere for a train or plane. Instead of the one or other fashion magazine you might once have found yourself gazing at.

Style Diaries
by Simone Werle
Paperback, 400 pages, English
Prestel, 2010
EUR 19.95
www.randomhouse.de

www.froufrouu.com
thesartorialist.blogspot.com
facehunter.blogspot.com, www.facehuntershow.com
www.bryanboy.com
www.thestylerookie.com
lookbook.nu
www.styleclicker.net
birdsofafeatherblog.blogspot.com

Alle Fotos: Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark