Fashion Icons: Celebrating the Rise of the Online Beauty Community

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The fashion industry is forever changing. For years, we have tried to mimic the distinctive styles of established celebrities. The 1960s saw the rise of ‘hippie-chic’ trends, classically presented by models like Twiggy and Pattie Boyd who were the ultimate style icons of the era. In the 1970s and 1980s the popularity of New Romantic movements promoted an increase in androgynous fashion, inevitably channelled through famous stars like David Bowie.

In today’s fashion-conscious world, we are nonetheless still inspired by the way celebrities dress and behave. From the current quirky yet achievable elegance of Alexa Chung to the much more conspicuous style of the Kardashians or the cast of Made in Chelsea- the internet has without doubt changed our accessibility to these stars and their style secrets.

Nevertheless, whereas the likes of the Made in Chelsea set stroll across the streets of London in their Miu Miu or other (grossly unaffordable) designer gear, there is an insurgence in the popularity of lesser-known fashion icons; those who promote affordable and much more accessible additions to your wardrobe: the Online Beauty Community. To our American cousins, they are otherwise known as the Internet Beauty Gurus.

This explosion of the internet beauty world has its roots in the art of blogging.  The format is nothing new – and has been around for quite a number of years now. The important characteristic is that this is not an exclusive club for the wealthy or those with the greatest amount of contacts in the fashion industry – anyone can become a fashion blogger.  With the popularity of such self-blog websites such as Blogger and even Tumblr, it has never been easier to promote your own fashion ideas. With the right camera and some decent writing skills, anyone with a passion for fashion can make an impact in today’s fashion and beauty industry.

Fashion blogging has become a great platform to showcase the philosophies of industry protégés, but the steady growth of YouTube popularity has also dominated the online beauty community. The ease of watching standard ‘vlogs’ is an instant attraction: they are visual, often dynamic and very addictive, drawing in thousands of subscribers at a time.

Fashion Icons: Twiggy and Pattie Boyd
Fashion Icons: Twiggy and Pattie Boyd

The initial concept sounds a little unconvincing.  These ‘hauls’ as they are nicknamed on the web, are about showing the results of successful day out clothes shopping – an idea which sounds as though it originated from the workings of a teen chick-flick. After all, who in their right mind would want to watch a young woman sitting in her bedroom, holding items up to the camera which she has only recently bought from Primark? Isn’t it quite conceited?

But these videos are not quite what you would expect. They are insightful – we are getting a version of ‘celebrity’ that does not include the mass of press, the constant continent-hopping and string of unsuccessful affairs of the heart. Unlike the tiresome lifestyles of wealthy fashion stars like Kim Kardashian, these real-life women purposefully lay their lives out to others of the web with the intention of inspiring their audience. Hauls offer a clever insight into the items worth purchasing on the high street at the moment (store websites are an obvious alternative, but places such as Primark do not offer this feature) by documenting mini reviews on individual items. Similarly, the idea of showcasing outfit combination ideas is also popular in the form of ‘OOTD’ (Outfit of the Day). Criticisms aside, this is inspirational stuff for those who are indecisive and conscious when combining particular colours and prints. Additionally, many other videos feature interesting beauty product reviews and there are an endless amount of make-up and hair tutorials with the purpose of recreating specific looks.

The ease of watching standard five-minute  ‘vlogs’ is an instant attraction: they are visual, often dynamic and very addictive, drawing in thousands of subscribers at a time.

The main attraction of this new wave of fashion icons, aside from their infectious personalities, is that they are not promoting designer fashion which, despite that ‘generous’ loan, is out of reach to the average student. Instead, they are regular young people providing a fresh and new outlook to wearing and styling clothes found on the high street.

The ‘Internet Beauty Gurus’ may be growing in number and proving excessively popular, yet  despite their ‘normality’, exposure to thousands of anonymous viewers on YouTube will always be a tough ride. Frequently, these young beauty ambassadors are not immune to unwanted hate. Nevertheless, their fans remain loyal, encouraging them and growing in number day by day.

And why shouldn’t they? These young women are good role models. They are bright, understanding and funny – they are not restricted to showing the contents of their handbags, but also aim to tackle issues which many girls their age can relate to: anxiety issues, confidence worries and also documenting the highs and lows of the first year at university.

How we choose who to follow in fashion is based on body shape and taste. But the growth in popularity of these young women is proof that when it comes to fashion, the cult of celebrity is not the be all and end all.

 Zoella

Here is an incredibly short list of recommended examples of British beauty vloggers:

Zoella http://www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390

Barbara ‘The Persian Babe’ http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePersianbabe

Kate ‘Dolly Bow Bow’ http://www.youtube.com/user/Dollybowbow

Fleur de Force http://www.youtube.com/user/FleurDeForce

Tanya Burr http://www.youtube.com/TanyaBurr

Fashion Filth http://www.youtube.com/user/sototallyvlog

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News Editor for the Wessex Scene 2013 - 2015. I lead the news section, consistently providing the website with up-to-date news content. I am experienced in researching, reporting, writing and editing breaking news stories.

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