Monday, 7 February 2011

Fashioning Februray: Evolving Influence - A Q&A with Founder Jennine Jacob

You know an activity is here to stay when suddenly there are loads of events about it springing up all over the place. Over the last couple of years we have seen the emergence of blogging conferences such as BlogHer. Blogging While Brown and Blog World Expo. This Thursday Evolving Influence - a fashion blogging conference kicks off in New York covering topics such as the business of blogging, working with brands and the issues surrounding blog content. The event is in its third season and is now hosted by New York Fashion Week. I remember watching the first ever Evolving Influence this time last year and it was all everyone was talking about (well fashion bloggers anyway); the event was an instant hit and was totally over subscribed. So it is really inspiring to see it go from a one day independent blogging event to a two day one that is supported by one of the biggest fashion weeks in the word. Evolving Influence was set up by Jennine Jacob as a way of bringing the blogging community together and share best practice. An avid fashion blogger, Jennine is also the founder of Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) which is a portal that creates a community for fashion bloggers to share anything from their experiences to technical advice. The lovely Jennine took time to answer a few questions which I was so grateful for as she is a pretty busy lady.

What made you decide to set up Evolving Influence?
IFB started doing events at New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week in February of 2009 called Dress Up. While it was a lot of fun to meet everyone, there was something missing, Dress Up didn't have the educational component that made IFB what it is. So we had an idea to do a few panels before Dress Up and the first time, we filled the venue, there was a line around the block and people were so excited to be there. The energy was infectiously delightful, as we bloggers made it clear we're hungry to learn. It was then it became clear that two hours weren't enough to talk about everything., so I expanded it to a day.

What criterias do you use in choosing the speakers?
That's a very good question. At first I wanted to get the top of the top bloggers in the industry, and that's been really great, but at the same time bloggers are really tired of hearing about the same five people. This time I've tried to get a good mix of the up and coming and the established. Finding people who have something to say, who have energy and savvy. It's a bit difficult, because some of the most famous bloggers do well on screen but in real life, they're shy, while some of the more dynamic people in real life don't have as established a blog. Even then, it's finding the dynamic people who really want to share their experience. It's a challenge to find the right combination. Strangely enough, I get very wary about people who volunteer to speak. Not really sure what that is about, if it's a personal preference or not.  But I prefer to let the community do the talking for the potential speakers.

What should we expect from Evolving Influence February 2011 and are there any plans to bring it abroad like say London?
We are honored  Milk Studios has invited us to host our conference right there. It's the first time a major Fashion Week venue has invited bloggers in, this is a huge step towards legitimization of the fashion blogging industry. We're not only hoping to get in to see the shows, we're part of the show, and that's huge. There are some exciting people on the panel. It is a great mix of bloggers and people from the established industry, and a special pair designers. Stay tuned! My goal this year is to bring Evolving Influence to the UK. IFB gets more traffic from London than any other city (even New York) and I want to make sure our community has an opportunity to get together. I've been working on building contacts and getting everything together, so hopefully that goal becomes a reality.

Evolving Influence takes place in New York on Thursday 10th to Friday 11th February.

For more information and to book tickets go to the website. If like myself you cannot make it down to the event you can watch it online here.

Image by Saga Sig

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