Similar to U.S. politicians chasing the Latino vote, it’s the Latina bloggers and their thousands of followers the fashion industry is now coveting at Fashion Week.
When it comes to who’s who at New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, it’s the fashion bloggers who run the show. And similar to U.S. politicians chasing the Latino vote, it’s the Latina bloggers and their thousands of followers the fashion industry is now coveting.
Almost holding more sway with designers than reporters, editors, and socialites put together, these “high-profile style influencers” as they’re called, get the best seats at the biggest shows, are often paid big bucks by brands to wear the coolest clothes, and turn street-style photographers into impromptu paparazzi – scrambling to get a shot of them.
Carmen Ordenez of the site Viva Fashion started blogging in Miami in 2008. Like most bloggers, the 28-year-old Colombian beauty is a freelance writer. Her blog began, she says, as an outlet for her work. The theme is “looks for less” aka “you don’t have to spend a million to look like a million.” It didn’t take long for the blog to grow into a full-time job. She says she immediately connected with her fans because, as a curvy Latina, they felt she was real—like them.
Ordenez’s first paid gig was for David’s Bridal; she was the first Latina spokesperson for the company. Since then she’s been paid by brands like TJ Max, Marshall’s, and Arm & Hammer. She does TV segments for them, hosts Twitter parties, and writes about them for her blog.
“I think I’ve built an audience because I’m credible. I speak Spanish, so I’m authentic to that community. I’m helping the brand’s reach into that market,” says Ordenez. She’s said she can make five figures for a campaign, and averages close to six figures with all of the brands together.
Cubana fashion blogger Annie Vazquez of the site The Fashion Poet has become almost an icon in Miami. She started her blog two years ago as a way to cover local designers and boutiques she loved. She was the official Mercedes-Benz Swim Week blogger-spokesperson for 2012. Her blog is really about her looking beautiful and touting brands and local stores/designers she endorses.
Vazquez has done campaigns for Coach eyewear, Tresemme hair products, and L’Space swimwear. This season, she’s been invited to over 40 shows for Fall 2013 New York Fashion Week and she’s currently in the works to become the brand ambassador for a huge brand—she can’t say who since it’s still in the works.
“I feel as if I’ve started a fashion movement in Miami and helped the city to become recognized in the industry…While I’m at the shows in New York I’ll be looking for trends that fit with our Miami style,” Vazquez says.
She was recently hired to be the blogger to help style and promote the Oxygen Channel fashion TV show starring Naomi Campbell entitled “The Face.”
Mercedes Sanchez of the site Be Chic Mag is a Dominicana and native New Yorker. Launching her blog in 2006, Sanchez has worked as a freelance reporter with the New York Post, El Diario/La Prensa, and Vista Magazine. She’s done large campaigns with Procter & Gamble and has been covering New York Fashion Week for several seasons, even producing Be Chic TV in 2006, covering backstage and conducting interviews with designers.
“Personally, I tend to focus a bit more on the Latino designers. Naturally, I gravitate to them, you have to dig to find them, they’re not always just at the big venues like Lincoln Center, they’re around New York presenting in smaller venues as well,” Sanchez says.
The road to today’s blog has in many ways come full circle. The first Fashion “blogger” was arguably Diana Vreeland, in 1936 with her column in Harper’s Bazaar called “Why Don’t You?” From then, the column format in many ways evolved into online blogging with mommy bloggers, to artistic photo-blogs like the Sartorialist, back to what today’s fashion bloggers do—take a stylish photo of themselves and attempt to engage readers in a dialogue about a variety of brands and lifestyle.
Flor de Maria Rivera of the site Flor De Maria Fashion, a Peruvian and former sports anchor turned fashion blogger says fashion has always been her passion.
“Like many blogs, they start humbly enough with people asking me what I was wearing and where did I get it? In 2010, I realized that although there were quite a few street-style blogs, none in the US were in Spanish. I’m still one of the only ones,” Rivera says.
Rivera quit her job in the Bay area as a freelance sports anchor with Univision and Telemundo, and moved to New York to chase her dream. Building a brand and a following, Rivera has been a brand ambassador (meaning she’s compensated for writing about the brand with sponsored posts), for companies like Neutrogena, Bobbi Brown, Cover girl, Macy’s, and Old Navy.
She’s been on the cover of People En Espanol and featured as favorite blogger in Cosmo For Latinas. She has over 30,000 followers on Facebook and 10,000 fans on Instagram.
One of the most talked about Latina bloggers is Andy T. (Torres) of the site Style Scrapbook. Born in Mexico, but residing in Amsterdam, Torres’ following is mythic—with over 124,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter, Torres’ blog easily takes brands into every corner of their desired markets.
Though she rarely does interviews, this month she’ll appear as a judge on the E! Entertainment TV series "ELLE Mexico Diseña", she’s been the face of Mango and designed a capsule collection for the retail giant, and in 2011, she was asked to give a TED talk in Amsterdam on the subject of the “Keys to successful blogging.”
Years ago, it was socialites and Hollywood types angling for the front row at the shows. Now, more and more, those coveted seats are being taken by fashion bloggers. Experts say it’s not surprising bloggers are getting so much attention – especially since street style rather than high-end fashion couture is becoming more of a focus in Fashion Week.
“Being a street style star and getting attention from larger brands is important for bloggers, but it's also benefits the brand,” said Daniel Saynt, co-Founder of the digital Socialyte Collective, a marketing company that connects bloggers to brands. “They like having the living billboards to promote their product.”
Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.