Why I've stopped posting fashion content...

About 6 months ago I made the decision to stop going out to shoot any fashion content for my blog and Instagram. Now don't think that the title of this blog post now means that I hate nice clothes, or am unfollowing anyone who is posting fashion related content...because that's just not the case. I am however choosing to not post anything purely fashion-related on my own channels anymore, and it's all a bit complicated.

I realised recently that I have had my blog for 10 years - which is quite an incredible thing to compute. I'm only 27 so for a large percentage of my life Clashing Time has existed online and I'm super proud of it. Although I haven't been consistent in my posting, I've always taken great comfort in knowing that my blog was there whenever I wanted it. Ready to be picked back up again as soon as I felt inspired. When I started out I was sharing (embarrassing) posts about fashion and beauty from the comfort of my mum's house, which then developed to meeting other lovely bloggers and joining forces to be each other's photographers. I used to wait in anticipation for the weekends shooting with my blogger friends, getting all dressed up and heading to the streets of Cambridge or London for an afternoon. I'd buy clothes especially because I knew they'd look good 'for the gram' and would spend hours searching online for looks that I thought could create good engagement.

Those days, in all honesty, were my blogging heydey. There weren't that many bloggers around so it felt like a very different space and I was excited to try and compete. Whereas these days my feelings on my personal style and fashion content online have changed quite a bit...

I have always loved putting outfits together and finding looks to suit my shape, so that aspect of fashion is never going to go away. Yet these days my fashion sense is less about catching the latest trend, and more about finding affordable pieces that will work in lots of different ways. For example, my work dress code is a combination of smart casual, meaning that I can't exactly rock up mimicking the look of a Topshop mannequin, but there is some flexibility over what is deemed acceptable. I tend to try and find items that will work well in many situations: sat at my desk and in meetings, after-work activities, and also on the weekend. In reality it's a bit of a hard challenge, however, it basically means that I make myself buy fewer new things if I can't make them work for multiple situations.

With the way that fashion imagery through blogging/Instagramming has evolved, it became apparent to me that my new mentality to shopping doesn't really work alongside it. Creators, quite rightly so, are paid to promote the latest looks, to demonstrate how you could look if you had the money to imitate their photos...even if it's not actually a look that they like or an item that they would choose to buy themselves. You only have to look at the Depop pages of some of my favourite style inspirations to realise that they have worn an item of clothing that you thought was a 'must-have' only once, and then they are selling it to a new owner. Now, this is not at all a dig at 'influencers' or any creators online, because I totally get that they have to make a living. However, I feel like I don't buy into the idea that you're only noteworthy if you have the latest 'it' item and share a snap of you in it on your feed. My sense of style should not be dictated to by an ever-increasing number of influences, and instead, I should allow my image to be a little more natural than that. So although I'm not exactly the style icon on the century, I've decided that I don't want to take part in potentially making anyone else feel bad if they look different to what Instagram is deeming 'the norm'. Let yourself find your own inspiration, in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and confident that you're expressing your true self.

There are some really awesome people that I follow online who I feel have shared a great message around fashion, so please do take some time to follow these women:

- Hannah from EnBrogue, a sustainable fashion content creator who is on a year-long mission to not buy anything new from the highstreet
EstherRuthWyse, who although does share fashion content, she mixes it in with real-life chat and makes you feel like she's just a normal girl who happens to look nice in her cute looks
WishWishWish, who shares the most beautiful photography of her life and travels, with some vintage style quirky outfits included - but it's a mix of new and old items, and not always the latest trends
Vix Meldrew, a creator coach who has openly discussed her mixed feelings about promoting clothing items to her audience and how it doesn't allow for inclusion for all shapes and sizes

I'm very sure I could go on and on, but you get my point. If there are other people doing fashion content well, and I've got a bit of an icky feeling about it, then I'd rather leave it to the pros and focus on sharing photos of things that I care more about!

It feels pretty damn good to be back.
Clashing Time.

NB - This post has focused primarily on being influenced, however, I do want to flag that there are a number of other reasons why I've moved away from sharing fashion photos, but this is definitely the big one for me that was pressing on my mind. A few other examples include having a bit of a life shift with a house move and job change, my money being prioritised elsewhere, and also a growing education about the environmental impact of the high street. But maybe I'll delve into those at a later date...