The ethics of fashion blogging

The fashion blogger is the one who sponsors a product or a brand through his images. Most fashion bloggers are women, although an interesting number of male fashion bloggers are emerging lately.

We ask ourselves (and you): is it right for a fashion blogger to use retouching to better expose the products he or she is sponsoring?


The question is inspired by a question posed by one of my Facebook contacts, and I think it opens the door to a discussion of professional ethics that, at least as far as fashion bloggers are concerned, I feel is not taken into consideration.

Let’s start from the beginning; in this way, ethics will probably be clearer.
Based on what criteria does a brand choose a fashion blogger?
If we read the “bloggers search” of the various brands, we notice that, for the most part, the criteria are twofold:

  • number of followers on Flickr (and relative high views for each image posted)
  • image quality.
Coffee time

If the first data is objective (generally, brands require a minimum of 2k followers), the quality of the images is a completely subjective value.
Or rather, some criteria define the quality of the image, such as the correct use of shadows, camera angle, windlight settings, and parameters that allow obtaining a quality image (other resolution, LOD, etc.).
All other parameters are subjective: what an image can convey varies from person to person, and not everyone likes the same thing. That’s why brands prefer to stick to “what the community likes,” so, once again, the number of followers, favorites, and views becomes the main parameter to evaluate the quality of an image.

The problem is that there are tricks to get your Flickr account off the ground regardless of the quality of the images you submit. The main ones are often commenting on photos that have high views, post in many groups, use the effective Flickr SEO node, add many favorites (so you create a sort of debt of gratitude), and, last but not least, follow as many people as possible (because this also creates a debt of gratitude and who sees a new follower is often curious to see who he is and what images he shares).
Anyone who hangs out on Flickr knows that there are bad images with lots of views and favorites. These are people who prefer to use their time in the fast growth of their followers instead of improving the quality of their images.
However, it is undeniable that using both techniques, i.e., improving the quality of images and using tricks that allow our Flickr to take off, will greatly increase our followers in a reasonable time.

Some bloggers, therefore, use retouching to improve the final result of the image; in some cases, shadows are added that would be non-existent in Second Life, or hair is drawn, or even the skin is corrected. The end result is a distorted image that has little to do with the raw shot.

The question that some are asking is: is it ethical for a fashion blogger to distort their image to make it more appealing and induce the viewer to buy?

It would be interesting to hear the community’s opinion, so I’m posting a poll and asking you to express your observations in a comment.
We will talk about the results of this poll in a later post.
Thank you for your participation!

Oema
360gradi.sl@gmail.com
I love communication in all its aspects. I like to share my experiences, explorations, and knowledge with the Second Life community. I created the VIRTUALITY blog and 360 GRADI Magazine with this goal in mind.
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4 thoughts on “The ethics of fashion blogging

  1. I think too many retouch. If you’re meant to be showcasing an item or items, what you show should be what they can look like when they buy the product. Otherwise it’s false advertising. Obviously whether it looks identical will be down to graphics settings and pc capabilities, but making it look better than is possible inworld is just wrong. You might find this opinion piece interesting: https://avadelaney.co.uk/musings/avatars-brands-and-personas/

  2. I always show things as much as they are, and its my joy also to create the best look, what I have in my mind, inworld instead in post processing. A chosen environment setting could change a whole look. I rather blog limited stores, so I avoid designers that do’nt make quality products in the first place, even if you are a new designer, quality is better than quantity ????
    But of course anyone is free to do as they like and what designers want from bloggers is variable. For my personal shopping I never get stuff from designers that are not like in the add, that is just too disappointing and makes me never want to shop there ever ????

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