Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Fashioning February: At Your Liberty

Being a fashion blogger can be quite contentious at times but being an anonymous blogger has got to be pretty tricky. But this is exactly the role that Sasha Wilkins held on and off for a good few years before she decided to come out around this time last year with a brand new spanking website. Sasha wears many hats such as style journalist, editor, broadcaster as well as social media consultant and divides her time between London and New York. During her time in blogsphere she has become one of the big guns in fashion blogging and gathered a lot of media clips in newspapers and magazines; you will meet very people in the industry who have not heard of her or come across her blog, Liberty London Girl (LLG). So I just had to have her as my Blogger of the Month for Fashioning February and I was ever so delighted when she obliged.

What made you start blogging?
I started LLG in September 2006 as a place for personal writing. I only managed a couple of entries, and re-started it when I wanted to keep a journal of my life in New York for my family and friends when I moved to Manhattan in January 2007

Describe the concept behind LLG.
For the first three years of LLG there was no concept, no grand plan. I just wrote…I didn’t speak to publicists; I didn’t plan my posts…it just happened. Now that LLG is my full time job, I describe the site in two ways now: beyond the personal blogging about my life, firstly I see it partly as an insider’s guide to all manner of things, taking readers to places they might not necessarily either have access to, or the means to explore themselves, be it backstage at a fashion show, on the road with a rock band in America or inside an extraordinary hotel room.  I also describe it as, “What to read when you want to know where to go, where to stay, what to do when you get there, and what to wear whilst you are doing it all.’

Over the last year bloggers have really made their mark at fashion shows and in the media, how do you think they will continue to push the boundaries over the next few years?
I don’t know that that many bloggers have really made their mark at fashion shows. Access is still pretty limited, and it’s a small band of bloggers that really gets to see it all. (I don’t think any access I get counts as I’ve been in the fashion industry for years.) But I do think that blogging has changed the way we look at news gathering. The immediacy and personal voice of blogging have changed the media landscape forever. It is certainly true that bloggers are one of the main reasons that we no longer perceive print journalists as the gatekeepers to news and information, and I am sure that bloggers will continue to set the agenda for change.

You have a huge following; do you ever get stressed about maintaining such a high standard?
I’ve written for publications like The Wall Street Journal, which has an audience in the millions, numbers which I don’t even dream of for LLG, let alone aspire to, but the difference between print journalism and blogging isn’t about numbers: it is that it is so personal, so direct. I know how strongly I engage with the blogs that I read and I presume that readers do the same with mine. That is an enormous responsibility and one I don’t take on lightly, but I just continue doing what I have always done, and hope that my brilliant, funny, engaged readers stay along for the ride.

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I have a company, LLG Media, which encompasses the blog, and my thriving consultancy business, LLG Consults, which helps luxury goods brands and public relations agencies engage effectively with the world of social media. I do still occasionally file copy for print publications as a journalist.

Describe a typical day in the life of Sasha Wilkins.
My blog has become my business, so much of what I do is connected with it in some way. But to be honest, apart from the actual blogging, my working day is pretty much identical to what it was as a fashion editor, as the people I work with and talk to don’t seem to treat me any differently from when I worked on magazines. A typical day would start with a 9.00am working breakfast in one of the places that style PRs like to take press, so in London that’s The Wolseley, Dean Street Townhouse or Cecconi’s, and in New York Balthazar or CafĂ© Cluny. After that I will either go home to deal with my giant, headache-inducing admin list, research stories, take photographs, read a vast amount on–line and, of course, blog, or I will stay in town to take more meetings, visit designers and showrooms, probably do a lunch or coffee with a designer or PR and then work in the afternoon at Soho House in either London or New York, which I use as a base and which are very useful for sole entrepreneurs as they have wi-fi and lots of power points, before going (very briefly as I loathe parties) to an evening event, maybe a launch or store opening, or heading to a studio to appear on a news programme for the BBC World Service. I rarely turn off. But I did write recently about making time for a work/life balance and I am trying to keep to that resolution, by going out for dinner with friends or heading to my lovely sister’s for supper with the dog in front of the TV (and not writing about doing either!)

From where do you source your stories?
I write about everything in which I am interested. That could come from off the top of my head, a book I am reading, a comment a friend has made, a press release, a publicist’s phone call, or something I have seen in the street. The simple answer is everywhere.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?
I have every copy of British Vogue dating from 1989 onwards and a huge affection for Conde Nast Traveller as that is where I started my career. I’m very interested to see what both Stefano Tonchi does at W and Sally Singer does at T, as they are clearly both brilliant editors. I do like a good read and The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Red in the UK are perfect for that. And, of course I take Grazia weekly.

Name five blogs that you read religiously
Fashion Editor at Large, Kingdom of Style, Textbook, What Possessed Me and Backwards in High Heels.

Last year you switched platforms from Blogger to having your own website, how do you see LLG evolving over the next two years?
I have lots of plans! Exciting ones, for me anyway. I can’t divulge most of them I’m afraid, but I can tell you that there will be a lot more video on LLG, and that I am collaborating with Mercedes-Benz UK in February at London Fashion Week for the third time on the Voices of Fashion project, where I will be Tweeting at @MercedesLFW from 01 Feb, and blogging for them here.

You can read Sasha"s blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

5 cool comments:

Giulia said...

This was fun, thanks. I read LLG & follow Sasha on Twitter...from where I just arrived. And must go back for all things Egypt. But when I have a moment, I will definitely be back. xo

Yazzselena said...

Nice scoop Ronke : )

I also enjoy Sasha's blog and love how grounded, honest but filled with the colour and breadth of the world of fashion and life it is. She's made fashion interesting for me, quite an achievement as I'd always dimissed it as elitist. x x

Yazzselena said...

Nice scoop Ronke : )

I also enjoy Sasha's blog and love how grounded, honest but filled with the colour and breadth of the world of fashion and life it is. She's made fashion interesting for me, quite an achievement as I'd always dimissed it as elitist. x x

Rollergirl said...

Great stuff, LLG was one of the first blogs I read!

fashion raccoon said...

great interview, how lovely to blog as a full time job :) love LLG, and your blog is very good too!