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Chantelle Znideric asks Leon Bailey-Green about online fashion in 2009

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5 January, 2009

There was an increasing amount of independent and retail branded fashion blogs, which emerged in 2008. Why do you think fashion blogs have become so popular?
Online fashion retailers have realised the merit in producing content.

Celebrity and fashion magazines influence high street sales, so it’s no surprise that online stores have realised they can do similar features as magazines using blogs.

It’s relatively easy, cheap and practical to set up and maintain a blog, compared to publishing and distributing a magazine. Also, over time blogs attached to retail websites attract more traffic through SEO and encourage repeat visits.

Do you have any advice or tips of what makes a successful fashion blog?
There are fashion blogs showing up every week, so it’s important for style writers to find a niche.

Rebekah Roy’s blog Stylist Stuff is very image driven. She has a knack at capturing moments in her world using a camera phone and that, I feel, is her niche. A simple thing, but for me that’s what makes her blog stand out, along with her writing style.

List your two favourite online fashion stores and explain why they will carry on doing well next year despite this economic downturn.
My favourite online stores are eBay and Topman, but the two I think will do well in the downturn are Lipsy and My Wardrobe.

A lot of the current major players in online fashion have multiple demographics, so it will be tough to work out the severity of how each type of customer is affected and when. Marketing and buying departments will find this challenging the most.

Lipsy and My Wardrobe however have a more set demographic of customer. So whilst they may be affected by the downturn it will be easier to manage.

List down two prominent luxury online fashion retailers that you think may be affected by the credit crunch this year?
Luckily for luxury stores, like My Wardrobe and Net-A-Porter, their customer places value on classic pieces they can wear for years, so whilst luxury stores will face challenges they also have advantages to play upon.

This year sees the launch of Theoutnet.com, a discounted designer website from the Net-A-Porter team – an example of using the current climate to launch a discount website without damaging the premium brand.

With so many bargains to be had on the High Street - do you think shoppers will continue to search and shop online for cheaper alternatives?
I think in 2009 the motivation for buying online will be about convenience and getting the right product, as much as it is price.

Customers are becoming aware of the hidden costs of high street shopping, such as their leisure time, petrol prices and parking costs. More online stores are going to offer Free Delivery too.

Also, online retailers may attribute lower conversion rates to the downturn but some of it will be to do with the growth of pre-shopping – where customers get inspiration online, before going out to the high street.

- Do you have a question about online fashion for Leon? Email leon@leonbaileygreen.com
- Chantelle Znideric is a personal stylist and fashion blogger - http://www.personal-stylist.co.uk/

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