STARTING FRESH

 

When you've been tied to something for seven years it's hard to consider leaving it. Especially when it changed the course of your life. Not to be dramatic but starting The Style Crusader back in 2009 moved me in an entirely different direction than I had expected.

It was the summer before I began my masters degree in Political Theory at the London School of Economics. I decided I needed something light and cheery to balance out all the heavy reading and essays that were about to land in my lap so I started the blog. A few months into the degree, I found myself at Somerset House, just down the road from LSE's main campus, at fashion week. I scored a ticket to a show off another blogger and the next thing I knew I was sitting at a fashion show. Ok, that's a lie. I wasn't sitting. I was standing at the back straining to see over the hoard of heads in front of me. I was there though and I knew that was where I wanted to be. Only not standing at the back, I wanted to be sitting in the front row.

 
 

Starting my blog, The Style Crusader, back in 2009 moved my life in an entirely different direction than I had expected.


 
 

Six months later, I had finished my degree and moved to Zurich. Only speaking English in Switzerland meant finding a proper job was pretty much out of the question. I wanted the freedom of working freelance so I trolled the internet looking for writing gigs. I landed one at Yahoo where I got a daily column and wrote news pieces on hot topics like the Kardashians. Over the next few years I continued to take on new projects, working with brands including Topshop and Gap while developing more substantial relationships with American Express and eBay. I kept attending fashion week (even upgraded to front row), travelled a lot and met some incredible people. None of that would have been possible if I hadn't started the blog. It provided a world of possibility but with it came a lot of pressure.

At its height, The Style Crusader was receiving thousands of visits a day and close to a hundred comments on each post. That kind of traffic and engagement didn't last though because I couldn't handle the expectation to be constantly connected. Knowing that so many people were peeking into my life everyday made me feel uncomfortable. The pace of attending fashion week and trying to keep up with tracking everything I ate, wore, saw, felt on social media was overwhelming. Some people relish the exposure. I didn't.

When I came onto the scene in 2009, the blogging world was relatively small. In London there were just a few of us. We'd meet up weekly for cupcakes, attend press events and often help each other shoot outfit photos. We didn't have DSLRs or $2,000 lenses. Brands weren't really aware of our presence. We weren't getting paid for the content we created. But something changed. Social media exploded, blogger/brand collaboration took off and freebies seemingly started falling from the sky. Everyone was getting an agent, a personal assistant, a professional photographer. Likes and followers became the measure by which our worth was found. What once felt organic, natural and authentic started to become overtly strategic. 

 
 

What once felt organic, natural and authentic started to become overtly strategic.


 
 

Homogeneity took over and I tapped out of the game. For the last couple of years I've been half-heartedly blogging. Updating every now and again with the nagging thought that it would be a shame to close the door on something I invested so much time into. But the truth is I no longer identify as a fashion blogger. I'm not attending press events anymore or even going to fashion week. I now live in a city in the US that isn't particularly fashion forward or photogenic. I don't post #OOTDs or enthusiastically Snapchat all the gifts that brands send me. But I still crave a creative space where I can connect with people and produce engaging content. That is why I decided to start hey ENNUI.

This space is intended to be a collaborative endeavor that focuses on more than just me. Its aim is to encourage the reader to slow down, think about things differently and get inspired. 

If you'd like to hear more or want to get in touch head here. We'd love to hear from you.

by Jennifer Inglis

 

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