Believe it or not, there was a time not so long ago when bloggers and social media stars didn’t have front row seats for fashion week. In fact, during the early days of street style, before social media influencers started to actually have more influence in the industry than almost anyone else, those who wanted to make a name for themselves simply hung out in front of the venues vying for the attention of photographers. Along with Scott Schuman, Tommy Ton, Vogue.com’s Phil Oh, and Garance Dore, Marko MacPherson was one of the first to document this fashion phenomenon, particularly with his series “Five Days, Five Looks, One Girl” for Vogue.com. Now, MacPherson has compiled his work into a new Rizzoli book out on April 11th titled [email protected] Girls: Fashion’s New Tribe.
The tome is a compilation of portraits and bios of savvy women who have built enormous success on the virtual back of the Internet. There are familiar names and faces like the ManRepeller Leandra Medine and Chiara Ferrangi of The Blonde Salad. MacPherson also included a diverse range of ladies with powerful messages, like the activist Jillian Mercado and outspoken models Barbie Ferreira and Paloma Elsesser. It’s a mix of original bloggers and current Instagram sensations and, according to MacPherson, there is a difference between the two. As he explains, “The early adopters had to create a blog, which sometimes required a template that could handle different types of media and that often took a lot of time and money to create.” He adds, “It slowed the rate of speed that new content flowed from their sites or brands. Today it feels like they are their own broadcasting companies, with content demands that must be attended to at all times.”
[email protected] Girls is a visual representation of that constant stream of what is now ubiquitously referred to as #content. These women run businesses, ones that MacPherson refers to as “modern day Martha Stewart-like empires.” “If you look at someone like Irene Kim or Michelle Phan, they’re becoming real powerhouses with clothing lines and makeup deals.” To their millions of followers, these women are muses in their own right. “I think the reason for their success varies,” MacPherson says. “Some just have that It girl style that makes their followers go crazy, while others have a deeply inspirational message, a purpose, something that makes their followers feel that they too, have a place and voice in the modern world of fashion.” He adds, “I think before that point, many women felt invisible, overlooked or left totally outside of the fashion scene.”
Inclusivity and the democratization of fashion are two of the most inspiring things to come out of the blogger wave that began back in 2009. While one can hope that this positive influence on the industry will continue to grow and spread, MacPherson’s understanding is that it’s nearly impossible to predict who will be the next big thing in the digital girl sphere. Still, the platform as a whole isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “While no one, including the influencer, magazine editor, designer, or advertiser truly knows where this revolution is heading, my feeling is that voices will grow louder and digital platforms will continue to be used more to raise awareness around social justice, environmental concerns, mental health, body awareness, and more. This can only mean good things for the world—beauty and creativity will always find a place within optimistic activism.”
Above, take a look inside the pages of [email protected] Girls and meet a few of the passionate, stylish women changing the way that we embrace fashion.