Slowly but surely, I think things are changing where older women in fashion are concerned. Representation is getting better, but I’d like to think I’m doing a little bit towards increasing our visibility.
So when this post goes out I’ll be at the UK Blog Awards – probably the biggest date in a blogger’s calendar for those who attend.
As many of you may know (and know perhaps because you voted for me, for which I’m eternally grateful), I’ve been shortlisted for the third year in a row for best Fashion & Beauty Blog. It’s going to be a big night and one I can’t wait for, for all sorts of reasons. I thought for my Saturday Share post I’d share my thoughts on industry awards, what being shortlisted means, and most of all why the visibility of older women in the fashion and beauty industry is so very, very important.
The importance of the UK Blog Awards
Basically, these awards are the biggest in the UK – every single genre of blog is represented, and awards are given to both individual blogs and company blogs (so I won’t be up against any clothing brand’s blog, for example – just other individual bloggers). So you can imagine just how many people will be there if you consider there are 17 categories, 8 finalists in each – and then double it for companies and individuals… so yeah, 272 finalists alone. That’s a lot of movers and shakers.
While many people do get annoyed about bloggers asking for votes (which okay, I do get when it’s incessant), I think it’s important to remember just how hard bloggers work, most of whom do everything themselves: Photographing, writing, editing, marketing, networking, accounting, administration, negotiating…
Most of us cannot afford the luxury of an assistant, or an administrator, or even an accountant. So to be recognised for all the hard work you put in – and to actually be able to say you’ve been nominated for/have won an award – is a very rewarding way to allow ourselves that pat on the back that we quite rightly deserve.
Most other industries have awards nights and presentations for services within their industry, and blogging is just as worthy of recognition in the same way.
The representation of 40+ bloggers in the Fashion & Beauty category
This year is more than just my third nomination in the Final 8 (it was a Final 10 until last year, so it was even harder to get shortlisted!) – it’s the year that not one but TWO over 40 bloggers have made it to the final 8. I couldn’t be prouder that older bloggers have made up A QUARTER of the fashion and beauty finalists… that’s no mean feat, considering our [fashion] industry is still very youth biased.
For me, therefore, it was important to be shortlisted because I wanted to make sure that 40+ bloggers are represented and seen to be making waves in the tough world that’s saturated with Chiara, Leandra, Aimee and their equivalents. Blogging is another branch of the large tree that is fashion and beauty, and one that is gaining rapid momentum in this world of powerful influencers.
We NEED older women to be visible in fashion. The amazing Lyn of Accidental Icon has recently been modelling for Mango – a brand known for having a very young target market. This is fantastic news and certainly shouldn’t be the last time a major high street brand picks up on how chic and ageless older women are these days.
Middle-aged women of today are not the same as the middle-aged women of yesteryear. They are, look and feel much, much “younger” – and are less constrained by society’s expectations on them.
So I’ll be there tonight in all my “dolled-up” red carpet-worthiness (the best I can manage, at least). Not only that but my fashion blogging husband Keith will be there along with several other 40+ blogger friends who are not nominated, but all there to support us (and, ahem, drink a glass of champagne, or two. Or nine).
So we may well be older and we may well all need our glasses to see our phones and send out tweets and post to Instagram(!), but we can rock sequins or a gown just as much as the younger bloggers can. We can show the fashion blogging industry that we’re a force to be reckoned with, that WE’RE the ones that brands should be collaborating with in order to reach the age group that have the most disposable income.
And I know it’s not about the winning, but I really want a 40+ blogger to win the Best Fashion and Beauty Blog Award, even if it’s just once (though more often would be the goal). If I win I definitely won’t be cool about it AT ALL – I promise you I’ll be dancing on the ceiling afterwards (someone peel that girl off)!! It’s unlikely I’ll win, but we NEED a winner to show other older women that we CAN make waves in this industry.
And if neither of us win this year then maybe we should ALL enter every year until one of us wins… let’s saturate those shortlists with old gals! Until then I may be the Leo DiCaprio of the UK Blog Awards, though he did win eventually 😉 #fingerscrossed