Rounding off the series we take a look at the lovely Zephyr of College Fashion and find out the inspiration behind her ever popular blog. From it being one of the very first blogs I started reading to watching it grown and take on a staff or writers it is an honours to have her featured here.
Home town: I'm originally from Cape Cod, MA, but now reside in Boston, MA.
Blog: College Fashion (http://www.collegefashion.net)
How did you choose your blogs name?
Originally, I was inspired by the site CollegeHumor, which my boyfriend read all the time. It was a great name that really summed up what the site was about and made it easy to understand. When I started my site, I wanted a name that would immediately let people know what the site was about, too, so that's why I chose College Fashion.
How long have you been blogging for?
It'll be 3 years on March 1st, 2010!
What made you start your blog?
I was in college and was reading tons of fashion blogs in my spare time, when I realized that NONE of them catered to my demographic - college students! All the blogs and magazines were for either 40 year old women who could afford couture gowns or 16 year olds in high school. So that's how College Fashion was born - it's the first fashion blog exclusively written by and for college students.
When you started your blog did you ever think that it would develop into a full time job?
Not originally! I just did it for fun at the beginning, and once the site started to become more popular, that's when I realized I really needed to work on it full-time. At the beginning, it was really just a hobby.
What made you expand so, and employ interns to write for you?
Well I've always wanted to have more voices on the site, because I want CF to cover lots of different perspectives on fashion. I know trends and styles can be SO different across the globe, and I want every college girl to be able to relate to the content we feature. The immediate change for me, though, that made me hire interns when I did was that I was no longer a college student as of this spring, and it didn't feel right to keep writing a blog about college fashion by myself when I wasn't even a student. I want the site to be authentic and real, never out of touch.
Even though you have a staff of writers your blog still manages to maintain a lovely cohesive quality about it, how do you manage that?
Thanks! That's something we really work hard for. It really comes down to the attitude of our blog - our posts are always positive, always helpful, and always relevant to college girls. Also, I edit and approve everything before it hits the site, so I always have a hand in the content.
Do you allow our writers to come up with their own topics or do you assign them articles to write? We collaborate. I want to know what they want to write about, and I tell them what I think would be cool and we discuss. I think that's the best way to do it - it's easy to tell when people are writing about things they don't care about, and I don't want that to happen on CF.
I think that all of your readers were so excited about the fashion week posts and all secretly wished they could be you, how did it come about that you were invited to fashion week?
It all comes down to how popular your blog is. I've applied for press credentials at fashion week in the past and been denied because I didn't have enough traffic coming to the site. Since we have lots of traffic now and people know about our blog, I think that's why we were invited this year(2009).
What keeps you inspired to keep blogging?
It's all about the readers and helping them out! I get so many emails from girls who love the site, saying it's helped them become more stylish or feel better about themselves. That's the biggest motivation for me - helping people with their questions, educating people, and making fashion accessible to everyone.
What are the three blogs that inspire you the most?
Hmm, that's a tough one! WhoWhatWear (http://www.whowhatwear.com) is great because they have such a unique blogging style, and the content is always relevant and pretty cutting edge. It's just a great daily fashion blog. Next I would have to say Jak & Jil (http://www.jakandjil.com/blog) because everything posted there is just droolworthy. I get so much outfit inspiration from that site! Finally, I love Gala Darling's blog iCiNG (http://www.galadarling.com) first because I reached out to her for blogging advice and she helped push me in the direction of a really positive change. Second because I'm a big fan of all things pink and sparkly, and third because I'm a virgo and she's all about the virgo power and obsessive organization/list-making!
What would you say is necessary for a successful blog?
An original idea is number one. There are so many fashion blogs out there that it's impossible to be relevant if you don't have a unique perspective. And don't copy another blog's concept! You will always be seen as a copy, which just makes you look desperate and will never lead to success. Find your own perspective, do your own thing, and be unique! Also, you have to have quality content. You could have the best blog idea in the world, but if you don't have content that's helpful, relevant, and unique, you have nothing. They say content is king, and it's really true. Also, be nice to your fellow bloggers - don't spam them and say "LINK TO MY BLOG!!", beg them for link exchanges, or plug your site in every comment you leave on their site. That stuff is annoying, people see right through it, and it won't get you anywhere! Be a friend first, treat them like a person instead of a tool to help you promote your blog, and funny enough, they'll be more likely to want to help you (and your blog) out in the future.
Why do you think your blog is so popular?
I think College Fashion is successful for two big reasons. First, we do well because we are different from all the other blogs out there. We are the only fashion blog out there that's exclusively written by and for college students, and people know and respect that. If they want info on college student fashion, they know where to find it! Also, we ALWAYS keep our readers in mind with everything we do. We don't do paid blog posts, cover irrelevant topics, or ignore what they want. We cater to our readers and always strive to write content that either solves a problem for them, entertains them, or gets them talking. They are the most important thing to us.
What do you friends, family and loved ones say about your blog?
They think it's cool! They are always bragging about it to everyone they know, which I think is really cute. Even though my mom and dad are not tech savvy or into fashion at ALL, they totally support what I'm doing and even check the website from time to time. They're all very encouraging and awesome about it.
Do think that you will continue blogging for years to come or are you contemplating selling and entering the 9-5 work world?
I'm not really a 9-5 type person, and the idea of "getting a job" has never really appealed to me as a creative type. Also, CF is doing really well, and I really love my job right now. I think I'll continue to do it as long as it continues to make me happy, and I can't see that changing anytime soon.
From your blog, we all know you were a fashion student, what made you go into fashion and what school did you study at?
I actually wasn't a fashion student! I majored in Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Fashion was just an interest I had on the side and I never planned for it to be a career at all!
Who taught you about fashion and style?
I am pretty much 100% self-taught when it comes to style, although my stepmom is probably the first person who got me into fashion. Growing up, I never really had anyone around me who was very into style or fashion, so I kinda had to learn about things on my own. It was a LOT of trial and error. Then I moved in with my dad and stepmom as a teenager and my stepmom really started to get me into fashion. She was always bringing home cute clothes and shoes from the boutique she worked at, talking about the brands she liked and the finds she scored on eBay - it all just rubbed off and I was soon obsessed too.
What are your basic wardrobe essentials?
A great pair of dark-wash jeans (I love my J Brand skinnies!), a solid, comfortable pair of boots (my current faves are Frye "Veronica" boots), plenty of lightweight tanks (LNA makes my favorites), cardigans in solid colors, and standout jewelry. I just got a great two-finger ring that's a great conversation piece.
What are your top shopping tips?
Know what you have and what you need! Make a list if need be, and think about every piece and how it will fit into your closet. Also, do "cost per wear" calculations. I wrote a blog post on this.
What does your daily make up routine consist of?
Tinted moisturizer, brow pencil (I'm a natural blonde so my eyebrows are practically invisible without it), a little eyeliner, blush, mascara.
What is your evening/going out make up routine?
I am an eye makeup addict - I love to do smokey eyes or black liquid liner and usually wear lip gloss at night, too. Nothing TOO crazy, though.
What is your favourite colour?
Definitely pink. If I didn't live with my boyfriend, my apartment would be the ultimate girly, sparkly bachelorette pad.
I love reading and am always curious as to what peoples favourite books are, what is your favourite book?
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami - it's a really interesting story that sucks you in. Also, he makes great references to American culture, despite being a Japanese writer.
What is your favourite food?
Vegan nachos or vegetarian sushi. Also any sour or gummy candy.
Of all the places you have travelled with is your favourite place and why?
It would have to be Ecuador. My grandfather built banks and hospitals there when my dad was growing up, and my dad brought our family there to visit when I was just 7 years old. To go from small-town America to a 3rd-world country at such a young age completely changed my view of the world, and made me so much more aware of other cultures and appreciative of everything I have. Even today I remember it SO vividly - that trip really changed me.
Do you read College Fashion? What do you think of the new writers? Share your thoughts, leave a comment :)