These are the digital influencers getting their readers to shop, and landing collaborations with brands along the way. Personal style bloggers sometimes get a bad rap — caricatured as pretty, brainless girls who dress up for their camera-wielding boyfriends and post their results to a WordPress blog. But over the past decade, these independent publishers have become a real force in the fashion industry — not just snapping up front row seats at fashion shows, but landing major campaigns and collaborations with brands, becoming regular guests on TV shows like “Today” and “America’s Next Top Model,” and turning their blogs into multimillion-dollar businesses. Some have become household names.
Continuing in our annual-ish tradition, today we’re releasing our 2015 ranking of the most influential personal style bloggers in the world. This list looks wildly different than it did in 2013. Here’s why. For one, we excluded every blogger who has expanded her empire to the point that the blog is no longer only about her. (Leandra Medine, Garance Dore and Emily Weiss fall into this category.) We also chose to focus on those who write more about personal style than anything else. (That means leaving out lifestyle and photography bloggers.) We took more international bloggers into consideration, since the Internet is global and all. And we narrowed it down to blogs that cover womenswear more regularly than menswear.
Why did we change it up? Because the role of #influencers is changing, and we felt like this list is a better representation of what’s happening within a particular niche of celebrity.
To determine the ranking, we considered:
- Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest followers, as well as website traffic. These numbers gave us a snapshot of how many people these bloggers are reaching every day.
- Brand extensions. We gave props to bloggers who have used their influence to create original products.
- It factor. We talked to industry insiders about whom advertisers are loving right now, and who is moving the most products via affiliate links.
- Google News searches. Headline makers were rewarded for extending their reach beyond their own network.
After crunching the numbers — really, numbers were crunched, via Excel — we were rewarded with this list:
1. Chiara Ferragni, The Blonde Salad
The 27-year-old Italian, who now lives in Los Angeles, has the broadest reach of any individual fashion blogger on our list, with more than 3 million Instagram followers. She’s a global star, as popular in Europe as she is in the U.S. What’s more, links from her site drive traffic and conversions, according to many of the brands with whom she has partnered. She was also recently named to an expert panel that will help determine the shortlist for 2015’s LVMH Prize. Oh, and she graced the cover of Lucky magazine’s February issue along with fellow bloggers Nicole Warne and Zanita Whittington.
2. Aimee Song, Song of Style
Song, 28, is a Los Angeles-based interior designer whose straightforward street-style shots have made her popular with brands and readers alike. Song also has an incredible Instagram following — 1.9 million — and has worked hard to build her YouTube audience as well, with more than 28,000 subscribers to her channel.
3. Wendy Nguyen, Wendy’s Lookbook
Yet another L.A.-based blogger, Nguyen, 31, is best known for her YouTube channel, which currently boasts 600,000-plus subscribers. (Her 2011 video, “25 Ways to Tie a Scarf” has been viewed over 29 million times.) Nguyen’s point of view is unique in that she grew up in the foster system, and has opened up about her experiences to her readers.
4. Kristina Bazan, Kayture
This Swiss-model blogger, 21, has an impressive reach on Facebook — with more than 1.1 million likes — in addition to a major presence on Instagram, Twitter, etc. Bazan is a favorite of high-end brands: she’s worked with Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and Piaget, among others.
5. Julie Sariñana, Sincerely Jules
The 29-year-old blogger, who lives in Los Angeles, started her site in 2009 — early, compared to many of her peers. Her easy, approachable style has translated well into her own line of t-shirts, printed with often inspirational, occasionally irreverent, quotes.
6. Rumi Neely, Fashion Toast
Neely, 31, launched Fashion Toast in 2007. Her particular style of blogging — photo-heavy posts featuring cool clothes and model poses — has greatly influenced the generation of influencers who have followed her. While Neely has collaborated with established brands in the past, she recently launched her own line. Are You Am I, a collection of slip dresses, tap pants and distinctly cut tees, is notable for its specificity. For fans who want to emulate Neely’s style — and there are plenty of them — there is nothing more perfect.
7. Nicole Warne, Gary Pepper Girl
One of three bloggers to land Lucky‘s February 2015 cover, the Sydney-based Warne, 25, first launched Gary Pepper as a vintage e-commerce site in 2009. Warne started out blogging and modeling the clothes as a way to market the website, and by 2011, it was one of the largest online vintage retailers in Australia. However, the young entrepreneur’s side project soon became the main event, and in 2012 she shut down the e-commerce leg of Gary Pepper to focus on her blog-driven business.
8. Blair Eadie, Atlantic-Pacific
The New York-based Eadie, 29, is best known for her accessible, yet educated, approach to fashion. Based in San Francisco when she launched the blog, Eadie has worked as a merchandiser for brands like Gap and Tory Burch, which means she has a professional edge when it comes to outfit posts. And brands like love working with her because she has a reputation for converting readers into shoppers.
9. Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam
The San Francisco-based Engel, 23, is seen as an up-and-comer in the space. She’s already amassed a large following across platforms, from Pinterest to Instagram. Appealing to the same sorts of readers who worship Lauren Conrad’s pretty aesthetic, Engel’s site is easy to navigate, with lots of opportunities to shop affiliate links.
10. Nicolette Mason
This is not where I am right now. Moment of vulnerability/IG as diary: right now I’m wrapped up in a blanket on my couch, wearing the same sports bra and leggings I wore all day yesterday, wishing my migraine (several days strong!) would go away so I might actually be able to look at my laptop for more than a few minutes at a time and get shit done. This is also a PSA to not overwork yourself to the point that your body self destructs. Aaaand, I digress: here’s to wearing red (way out of my comfort zone) and to the memory of that little shiny black bag that broke in half after a few weeks of use. #livejournal
Mason, who writes a monthly column for Marie Claire and designed her own collection for Modcloth last fall, is one of the most in-demand bloggers working right now. The 29-year-old writer played a role in the promotion and social media around Target’s new plus-size collection Ava & Viv and is also a budding TV personality, offering style advice on programs including “Today” and “Good Morning America.” Mason is notable because she uses her blog as a platform to discuss bigger social issues, including race, sexuality and body image.
11. Shea Marie: Peace, Love Shea
The Los Angeles-based blogger and TV host, 27, has the high-fashion-meets-Southern-California look brands eat up. She’s worked with the likes of Dior, Gucci, H&M and Guess.
The OG fashion blogger and best friend of Fashion Toast‘s Rumi Neely, the New York-based, Philippines-bred Bryan Grey Yambao has transformed from an online-diary keeper to a celebrity and fashion insider. While other bloggers from his era have fallen off the map, Yambao, 32, has remained relevant by branching out. Memorable projects include a collection with furrier Adrienne Landau and a hosting spot on several seasons of “America’s Next Top Model.”
13. Elin Kling
The New York-based Kling, who is Swedish, was one of the first bloggers to collaborate with a brand on a collection. (In 2011, H&M released a Kling-designed line.) But her fantastic stand-alone label, Toteme, has transformed Kling, 31, from a blogger to a full-fledged designer.
The Stockholm-based Aussie, 28, was one of Lucky‘s February cover stars. Along with modeling and blogging, Whittington is also serious about photography. Her site is a sort of “how to” for aspiring bloggers, with service pieces on starting a blog and building an audience.
15. Gabi Gregg, Gabifresh
One of three plus-size bloggers chosen to star in the campaign for Target’s new Ava & Viv collection, Gregg started her blog in 2008 when she couldn’t find an entry-level job in fashion journalism. Now 28 and based in Los Angeles, the blogger has appeared on the “Today” show, designed a sell-out swimwear collection, and partnered with brands including Misguided, Nordstrom and Laura Mercier.
16. Danielle Bernstein, We Wore What
The New York-based blogger, 23, started her site as an FIT undergrad eager to capture the style of her fellow students. It soon transformed into a personal style forum, leading to a design project with Topshop.
17. Jessica Stein, Tuula Vintage
This Sydney-based blogger, 25, spends a good chunk of her time traveling, and sharing her adventures via Instagram. (She’s currently parked in the Maldives.) Brands like Dior Beauty partner with her for the obvious reasons: she has great taste and an enviable life.
18. Susanna Lau, Style Bubble
Forever the no. 1 blogger to fashion insiders, the 31-year-old Lau is now one of the industry’s leading voices. While her creative outfit posts are still appreciated, she is even more loved for her sharp opinion, contributing to publications including Elle UK and Business of Fashion, as well as posting regularly on her own site.
19. Chriselle Lim, The Chriselle Factor
With a massive YouTube following, the Los Angeles-based wardrobe stylist, 29, offers her audience plenty of tips and tricks via video. She’s worked with brands including Coach and Banana Republic.
20. Jane Aldridge, Sea of Shoes
Another blogging pioneer, the Dallas-based Aldridge started her site at age 15. Eight years later, she’s still at it, partnering with brands like Lovegold and Cartier on a regular basis.
Credit: LAUREN SHERMAN, www.fashionista.com