1+1 Makes 11
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!
KINGDOM OF STYLE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD!
Kingdom of Style is officially 11 years old. 11!
And we celebrate firstly with a blog refresh. The site is even bigger than before and now gives me plenty of room to get creative with layouts, which is what I enjoy most of all. It's a far cry from the 450 pixel container we had to worked with back when we started blogging! Creative layouts have always been a passion for me, especially since I'm a designer, so being restrained by small container widths has always been a frustration for me but now I can really get my teeth stuck into presenting content in an interesting way.
The site functions more or less the same, the only difference is if you want to see all the posts, you now hit the 'Blog Posts' navigation point in the top level nav and you'll see an archive list of all our posts and simply click the one you want to read. The homepage, as always, features our last 10 posts and if you scroll down you can see on our latest 3 posts specifically in Personal Style and House & Home. So now there are multiple ways to access your favourite content! As with most websites, it's best viewed on the desktop rather than a device.
But anyway, here we are 11 years later.
Launching in 2006, we were there at the very beginning of modern blogging and we've seen a lot in that time, not just the expanding widths of websites. We were among only a handful of fashion bloggers around at that time. There were lots of Live Journals around but very few blogs as you know them now. It was exciting and new and quite pioneering, as it turns out. We were also the first ever Scottish fashion bloggers and we helped pave the way for many bloggers you now know and love, who read KOS and were inspired to start their own blogs.
Bloggers back then wanted to offer a genuine alternative to the ad-laden and sponsor heavy fashion magazines and that's exactly what we did. We presented readers with a more realistic outlook on fashion and were never scared to say when something sucked, well we certainly weren't. Of course most blogs now feature almost entirely sponsored content so KoS is probably one of the few blogs left not doing it for money. Maybe that makes us the dumb ones but, in true punk rock spirit, authenticity matters to us more than money. And still being free to say when something sucks.
KoS has achieved many amazing accolades too - Vogue named us the 2nd most influential fashion blog in the UK, The Independent listed me and one of the most influential people in online fashion (an Influencer before the term was even coined), The Telegraph included us in the 10 top blogs in the world, The Guardian named me as one of the top 10 internet icons - the list goes on. We are very proud to have been recognised for our blogging in a way many bloggers could only dream of. We have worked so hard to make this blog a great experience for our readers but also to support the fashion industry by always striving to give a voice to independent and unknown designers and, as a result, we have helped launch countless labels, including brands like Miista. We've also worked with huge labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chloe and Commes de Garcon, but prefer working with small labels, giving them a platform to share their work. I remember when the founder of Black Milk, James, was just a blogger who happened to love making leggings. He started making leggings for me and we collaborated on many designs and after a few years Black Milk was born. I created the logo and helped get the Black Milk name out there.
Those are experiences I wouldn't swap for the world and just a few examples of some great brands we've worked with. It's also an example of how bloggers can really use their power for good - to support small businesses and labels who need our help more than Zara or Next.
As well as working with brands and labels we were also among the first ever wave of fashion bloggers who were invited to fashion week, helping pave the way for bloggers being accepted, for the most part, into the closed world of fashion weeks the world over. We owe a dept to all those designers who extended those invites, many of whom have gone on to become friends. I am proud because those invites were extended not because of blog numbers, but because of our writing and understanding and appreciation of the designers' work. We were invited as journalists. It was the same for the other bloggers who were also invited to fashion weeks at that time - Tavi Gevinson, Disney Roller Girl, Liberty London Girl, Style Bubble - girls who had a genuine knowledge of fashion that could rival any magazine editor.
Other bloggers went onto to also become friends and while many are separated by thousands of miles, those virtual friendships remain even now. Those friendships really started because blogging, in the beginning, was all about building the blogging community. That sense of shared community was so important in those early days. Everyone would drive their readers to other blogs by having links lists on our sites. We also frequently had little blog awards which we would give to other bloggers to help drive traffic to their sites. It really was about building up everyone's blogs so we could all share the fun.
THE RISE AND RISE OF
Personal style has only ever accounted for about 10% of our blog's content. Before blogging, I was an avid reader of The Fashion Spot, where people were posting shots of their outfits and sharing them in the 'What I'm Wearing' thread, so when we started blogging I knew I wanted to include that aspect in our blog, albeit in a small way. Whilst that has grown to be the most popular content we create by far, it's still not the focus for us. We have far more to share about fashion and style than simply the clothes we wear.
Nowadays personal style is the main - usually entirely - the content for 99% of blogs. This has given rise to blogs written by people who don't necessarily have any kind of in-depth knowledge of fashion but are rather more into shopping and putting together cute outfits. This is a blessing and a curse to blogging. Without blogging, a girl who dresses in jeans a pretty blouse would hardly be noticed at all, but now most blogs feature these kinds of outfits. Whilst it's good that these easy-to-replicate mainstream looks are being represented - mainstream by it's very nature is most popular - it's also bad because in a vast sea of them it's hard to discover unique bloggers who don't follow those tried and tested formulas. Believe me, I've looked! Creative bloggers are very much in the minority now, whereas in the early days those were the people who were using the platform.
With personal style, we set out to show readers that not only could you dress 'editorial' in real life, you could do so using high street clothing or doing DIY versions of looks.
DIY played a huge part on our blog back then - at the beginning 90% of my style posts were DIY. At that time the charity shops were amazing - you could easily scoop designer and vintage pieces for next to nothing and so I had an endless supply of great items to turn into DIYs. Now, I go into charity shops and they're just full of discarded Primark - not exactly good DIY fodder. But I am working on trying to bring more DIY to the blog again.
Anyway, for your viewing pleasure and hilarity, here are some very early outfit shots!
The first ever personal style posts
Oddly at first we never really thought to go outside and shoot outfits. We simply headed to the nearest full length mirror and take a photo. Selfies before there was such a thing.
My living room wall saw a lot of action back then!
PVC and Leather - There's been a lot!
The volume of posts over the years that feature PVC and leather is pretty huge! Both have been a key feature of my style since the 80's and continues even today.
My obsession with harnesses is far from new. In the beginning I had to make my own then as the only places you could buy them was in sex shops or specialist brands like Fleet Ilya.
The year I cut off all my waist length hair and dyed it turquoise (and navy and lilac and pink!) and took up ballet.
Queen Marie actually used to do quite a lot of personal style posts. The common themes? Trees and blurring!
Thank you to all the readers, old and new, who have visited us over the years. You guys are the reason we even do this in the first place. We love reading all the comments from those of you do take the time to comment - truly, every word and thought you share with us is a blessing.
Here's to another 11 years together.