Fashion – and fashion blogs – may seem frivolous at a time like this, but I’d argue they are exactly what we need. Of course, there are things that we can do to help, donate to food banks or spread acts of kindness for example, but more that anything we need content to make us feel better, and fashion falls firmly, in my opinion, into that category.
Another aspect that may not seem obvious to some, is that fashion influencers are also freelancers, and therefore rely on their income to pay the bills. Here, four UK-based influencers explain why it’s important for them to keen on producing content, and dealing with both positive and negative reactions.
Monikh Dale (picture above)
I’ve chosen to carry on because I have to, this is my job, my tiny company that I have to keep pushing to pay my mortgage like everyone else out there. I have always seen my online account as a work account, I rarely show anything personal, I do love keeping the two very separate. I also think it helps my personal mental state to see it that way.
Talking about mental state, we also need to keep a little normality to keep us sane. What is happening in the world right now is incredibly serious and sad, but sometimes you need to take yourself away from that and enjoy a bit of lightheartedness. My site is here to give you a break from all the real problems that are going on right now. Like all businesses we are trying to keep our heads above water but that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing good to help others in real life. You don’t need to show all the kindness you are doing on social media, sometimes it’s nice to keep that to yourself.
I think right now is such an important time to use our platforms to spread good and also to share ways in which we can help others during this time. You want to instil a sense of unity and push fun ways to engage with people who are probably going through the same thing to try to put a smile on their faces.
I have been using my platform to talk about our experience throughout this entire process, as my husband recently got sick and we have been in isolation for eight days now. I have shared a lot of the tips and facts we have received from NHS nurses, scientists, and others who are going through a similar experience during this time, which also allowed us to feel a bit more relieved knowing we had others to bounce things off of.
Fashion wise, as it is my profession as a personal shopper and stylist, I made a wise decision to finally get out of my pyjamas and start getting dressed up for the day and for my husband. I decided I would style an outfit each day and post/talk about what I decided to wear that day on my page. It’s been so lovely to see that a lot of women today have responded with really lovely and encouraging messages, some even saying that it’s brought a smile to their face, which is exactly what I am trying to do.
Lastly, I have started reaching out to the amazing women in this industry with an image of an item they have in their wardrobe which I will then share, and then asking them to send an image of that item styled to then post right after the still of the item they are styling. I think it would be amazing for all of us to come together to do something fun like this and show that we are all united.
The reason I post about fashion isn’t because I get paid to do it—I posted for years before there was any financial incentive. It’s because I LOVE clothes and beauty and I love putting outfits together every morning. As I’ve already been working from home for over five years, I know how much getting dressed improves my mental health. When I first went freelance I hardly even bothered changing out of my PJs and never put my face on and after a few weeks I realised how much confidence I had lost.
When you’re sitting behind a keyboard, running your own business, it really matters how you feel about yourself. Over the years when I’ve had crises of confidence, I found that I’d charge less for my services and do a lot of work for free, because I lost a sense of my own value. Your sense of worth as a freelancer can be really changeable, so I actually think it is so important that you keep feeding the things that make you feel good about yourself and well, just good full stop. And for me that’s getting dressed.
My content is going to be slightly different over any isolation period – I do have a couple of ongoing sponsored posts which I need to post as it is now a big part of my living, but it’s a great time to show that you don’t have to spend money to be stylish. Inspiring others to look at what they already have and spin them in a different way is one of my favourite things about my job. I hope I can inspire people that love clothes and fashion to keep making the effort for themselves and to find joy in something they love even in the midst of all this uncertainty. And I hope they all share their outfits too.
Our industry can be used for so much good – from Moncler donating €10million for new intensive care units in Italy to LVMH halting perfume production to make hand sanitiser – you don’t have to look far to find the positive message we can spread. That said, in a less literal sense, fashion – especially luxury – has long been a form of escapism and aspiration for so many who turn the pages of a magazine or look to social media for inspiration, and that absolutely has always had (and will always have) its place. Fashion has the ability to take people out of their worries or a less ideal reality even for a second; in the same way that art enables people to step into a world that isn’t theirs, the beauty and artistry in clothing or imagery has much the same effect. Our world has never suffered through anything as devastating as this in our lifetimes, and now more than ever, we need to be able to dream, be inspired and be creative, as well as dedicating time to fundraising, spreading the right message and doing the right things in a physical sense.
I’ve tried to be incredibly respectful and use my platform to encourage followers to help where they can, for which reason I’ve only posted twice in the past week or two and related to what’s going on. Friends of mine have had backlash for posting ‘normal’ pictures in times like these, but on social media, there’s no doing any right by people who feel they know better. Hopefully, we can use this time to better educate each other on how to use our platforms for the greater good, but goodness knows I’ll also be looking to lots of the people I follow for a moment of escape when I’m feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s going on.
A lot of people have donated via my stories to charities like the Italian Red Cross, the important funding initiatives for intensive care unites or Bankuet, who are a food bank in the UK helping those that need access to food the most, so I can only say a huge amount of positive has come in response to my content so far. I’m in the process of trying to work out how to continue on that path, so watch this space.