The Decade of the Influencer

Remember the days we used to take fashion inspiration from Monica and Rachel?


Rachel freed the nipple and we all threw our bras in the bin. 


Monica wore bootcut jeans and we all queued outside Levi’s.


And hairdressers everywhere were inundated with requests for the “Rachel”. 


Before social media consumed us, we had to look a little further for fashion and style inspiration. Red carpet looks dictated the latest trends, and magazines told us who was lookin’ hot and not. 


In the early 2000s, blogs started to take off, with fashion blogs gaining traction from around 2005 (so I’m only 15 years late to the party lol). We all became interested in other “normal” people’s style and fashion choices,  instead of looking to Hollywood stars for our outfit inspo.


The OG bloggers like Chiara Ferragni and Emily Schuman paved the way for a new era of more attainable, realistic consumption of fashion content and style inspiration which has become one of the fastest growing careers for thousands of people. 


Now here we are, in the era of the influencer. 


I know this word makes some people cringe. 


I’m not one of those people. 


I like influencers. I follow a lot of them. I take inspiration, style tips and advice from them. 


But everybody I follow has one thing in common - integrity. 


This is the big difference. It’s what sets apart those who see their influence as a responsibility and step up to the mark, from those who will promote anything just to make a quick buck.


This means don’t promote brands you don’t align with. Don’t promote products you do not use. And don’t do a try-on haul with the tags still on, ready to re-sell as soon as you’ve finished recording. 


At least when we watched Rachel and Monica we knew they were acting. 


But influencers are meant to be real people, just like you and I, sharing their style and opinions with the world. Therefore it is their responsibility to be honest, transparent and upfront with their followers.


Now, I’m pretty strong-minded (in case you hadn’t noticed). I make my own decisions, right or wrong, and wouldn’t do something just because someone I follow did. But it’s not like that for everyone. It can be hard to identify a real one online, when everybody puts forward a facade. 


Whether it’s fashion, beauty or lifestyle, there are so many influencers who take liberties with the people who follow them. And in a world that’s always watching, I think it’s become difficult for people to make a decision without looking to someone else for their opinion and validation. This is where I disagree with the impact influencers can have. 


I think it’s important to have people we look up to, and peers we can connect with. Influencers can be both of these things, but it is their obligation to influence ethically. 


I know my sense of style can be a bit wild, but I’m happy not to be a carbon copy of the latest trend. I follow people for their voice, their uniqueness and because they add to my life in some way. 


I’d urge you to do the same.


Strength In Style, 

Stefi Cohen 


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