|Fashion Cream of the Crop (Source)|
Few days ago I posted a rant concerning the changes I have observed over the years in the meaning and usage of fashion blogs. I was wondering if major fashion bloggers were still true to themselves posting about things they like or didn't like or they rapidly became advertisement boards for companies. Interestingly enough, I have stumbled on a new blog called Lawyer in Lanvin which explores the intertwinement of fashion and law. She recently post an entry on endorsement.
Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) , whose main role is to protect American consumers, have made recommendations concerning endorsement strongly advising bloggers to disclose when a blog post, a tweet, an Instagram post or Facebook post is endorsed by a brand. These recommendations validate the increasing power of bloggers on consumers. There are no judiciary action in place for those who do not disclose. But if any is put in place, this might become a very slippery slope and raise many questions...
Although, some bloggers seems to comply to these regulations, I really don't think that most big bloggers follow them... Also the blogosphere is an international environment with several international stars to follow. Those FTC recommendations only apply to American to my best knowledge and I am not aware of other countries guidelines on the subject. The average American fashionista can also be influenced by British, Swedish or French bloggers. Would those recommendations apply to them if their blogs is visited by Americans? Besides celebrities have been known to tacitly endorse brands for a very long time from high end gala dresses to the new trendy diet. Would these recommendations apply to them also eventually? I also wonder if it is in the interest of the blogger to fully disclose all his/her endorsements. I am certain that a growing number of them mostly post endorsements posts now. How would that affect their "genuine" unique style as perceived by their followers? Isn't this authenticity the main advantage for companies to pay these bloggers, so that their posted looks seem genuine; coming from their own imagination?
Although I praise the role of organizations like FTC, I also
believe hope that most consumers are not stupid and can navigate through their favourite blogs identifying what they like and dislike, but maybe I am being too optimistic.
As Beeta concluded in her post, we have to wait and see what happens with that.
The FTC has a FAQ page concerning endorsement in general. Here are some interesting questions and answers that apply to fashion blogs :
All this is very interesting! Although they are no judicial consequences to not disclose endorsement, it can have a great impact on your relationship with your followers. Even though most many of the current it-girl blogs have lost their appeal to me, they start little and their fanbase has been built on their authenticity and accessibility. And a lack of the former could take that fame from them. So disclose when you should; you will be happy the day problems knock at your door.