Blogs with style
No fashionista worth her Jimmy Choos will put together an ensemble without logging onto top blogs such as the Sartorialist or Fashiontoast to scrutinise the hottest new looks first. Style blogs are an invaluable way to keep tabs on the fast-moving world of fashion, and the candid comments, personalised images and regular updates - to be taken seriously, one must post at least once a day - are posing serious competition to the fashion glossies.
Chiara Ferragni (theblondesalad.com) is a Milanese student with a penchant for luxe labels and her own line of shoes. She was singled out as the Newcomer of the Year at this year's Bloglovin Awards, also known across the blogosphere as 'the Oscars of the fashion blogging world'. Meanwhile, the Most Original Blog went to Leandra Medine's Man Repeller (manrepeller.com), a light-hearted blog that zooms in on those high-fashion items of clothing most likely to make the guys look away (leather bow ties and green tights with blue socks, anyone?) with humour and panache.
While Hong Kong still favours traditional media, according to the city's small but dedicated group of fashion bloggers, the online sartorial scene is evolving, with several blogs worth bookmarking.
The local 'best newcomer' would be internationally renowned fashion designer Johanna Ho. The Hongkonger, who specialises in fashion-forward, eco-friendly knits, finds time to regularly update her blog (blog.johannaho.com), where she mixes and matches her creations with quirky vintage pieces and luxury labels such as Burberry and Givenchy.
Ho says a good blogger not only needs to be informative, but should also frequently offer something fresh and different, otherwise their online viewers will soon lose interest. 'My favourite local bloggers are my fashion 'sisters', Hilary Tsui and Judy Ip,' she says. Ho has also recently announced that she will be setting up a new label, Johanna&Hilary, with Liger owner Tsui via her blog.
'Also, I believe in being short and sweet rather than too wordy, and I like things to be more light-hearted - a tinge of humour helps too,' Ho adds, explaining that a lot of her readers are office ladies or busy working mothers with little time to themselves.
When it comes to originality, Hong Kong Fashion Geek (hkfashiongeek.com) leads the pack. The pithy postings are written by Virginia Ngai (hkFashionGeek) and Christina Ko (hkShoeGeek). The 'Shoerotica' postings - which feature everything from to the sultry (Miu Miu lace-ups) to the downright crazy (trainers featuring a teddy bear head and arms at the front of the shoe from Jeremy Scott and adidas) - provide great visual distraction, while interviews with local and international talents give something more in-depth. They're exploring the idea of launching what they call an 'online swap forum' - a platform for buying and selling vintage or second-hand designer items.
'We created the blog as an antidote to the sanitary and sales-driven approach to journalism that we found prevalent in most established media companies,' Ko says. 'It was a chance for us to channel our purely editorial interests into an online mouthpiece, covering the topics we wanted to in a format that we could control, with our own spin and vocabulary.'
Which fellow local bloggers do they follow? 'Cindiddy, (blog.cindiddy.com) is great; a personal-style blog featuring Cindy's own outfits interspersed with fashion likes and tidbits from her life,' Ko says.
'I also love Superwowomg (superwowomg.com), which is run by Denise Lai, a New York-educated Hong Kong girl who writes about fashion, food and whatever else catches her fancy.'
Ko says approachability is key when it comes to blogs.
'If I want formal prose, I'll read a magazine or a news website. For me to add somebody to my Google Reader list, I want to know the identity of the blogger, and understand what's being talked about in the context of something personal,' she says.
Popbee (popbee.com) is a popular Chinese-language online magazine comprising features, fashion and beauty, plus a forum where fashionistas discuss everything from Baggu bags to the Black Eyed Peas. Founder Janice Lee is positive about the future of fashion blogging, both in Hong Kong and globally.
'I think a growing number of blogs will emerge in the near future, and the format of these blogs will not be limited to text and photos but with more integrated elements. I think we'll see fashion shots not only illustrated by photos but by videos too, for example.'
Lee says the fact that many in Hong Kong still rely on newspapers and magazines for style tips, combined with the small number of fashion bloggers here, makes it easier for bloggers to stand out from the crowd.
'My personal favourites are Winifredlai.com and Cindiddy for their style sense and the professional look of their blogs.'
Janice Wong of JW Diary (hk.myblog.yahoo.com/janicewonghk) adds that fashion blogs on the mainland are ahead of the game, playing a bigger role than they do in Hong Kong.
She cites Han Huo Huo (blog.sina.com.cn/hanshang), who was present at Chanel's autumn-winter runway show and other events at Paris Fashion Week, as particularly influential. It is highly personalised, with countless photos of Han, including close-ups of luxurious accessories from brands such as Givenchy. His blog boasts 2 million followers, a market that luxury brands such as Chanel are keen to tap into as it extends its presence on the mainland.