The fashion blogosphere bears a resemblance to a black hole. We take you inside this mysterious space and show you some of the Asian forces who have been safeguarding this wonderland.
Over the past decade, a group of fashionistas has emerged who are seen by industry experts as aliens; we don’t know where they came from, yet these aliens are impacting the world we live in every single day, especially the fashion industry, in a fun and exciting way.
Chiara Ferragni, ranked first on the Forbes 2017 Top Fashion Influencers list, started her fashion blog The Blonde Salad in 2009 in her hometown of Cremona, Italy. She became a global phenomenon, with a whopping 23.8 million followers on Instagram to date, and regularly collaborates with numerous brands while becoming a successful entrepreneur in her own right by building her own label as well. Recently, she was appointed an ambassador for Bulgari.
This fairy tale is not limited to those in the West; 28-year-old Margaret Zhang, a Chinese-Australian filmmaker, photographer, and blogger born in Sydney and raised in the suburbs of West Ryde, was just appointed
Vogue’s youngest editor-in-chief in history—despite having never edited a magazine! This should give hope to millions of teenagers who flood to the blogosphere chasing their dreams. They might just like to take a cue from these blogger-turned-powerhouses who are now living out their wildest dreams.
BRYAN GREY YAMBAO (@BRYANBOY)
Bryan Grey Yambao, better known as BryanBoy, has been blogging about fashion since 2004 from his parents’ home in Manila. The web developer-turned-fashion blogger was one of the first to gain global visibility in his genre for his offbeat ensembles. By 2006, a Fendi ad campaign featured a photo of supermodel Angela Lindvall holding a handbag up like a trophy with her left hand on her hip—a visual nod to a signature BryanBoy pose, a significant and clear sign that fashion was beginning to pay him attention.
In 2008, BryanBoy attended his first international Fashion Weeks as an invited guest in Australia and New Zealand. During the same year, he got Marc Jacobs’ attention with a fan video and post where he raved about a green ostrich bag from the designer’s autumn/winter collection. The designer later named the bag the “BB” and sent him the very runway sample he’d originally heralded. BryanBoy called the gift “the best thing that has ever happened to me”.
BryanBoy loves being able to express himself freely—he’s free to say anything he wants in his own space. While he sometimes finds himself in a strange position where he started as a blogger, the ultimate industry outsider, people within the world of fashion have come to rely on him for brand-building. He’s created many of the unspoken rules that have come to define Instagram’s influencer culture—setting the standards for designer “gifting” and maintaining the critical distance that allows you to be something beyond a paid brand shill. He has worked with numerous designer brands and has also served as a panel judge for two seasons of America’s Next Top Model alongside Tyra Banks. In September 2020, he became the director of digital strategy and creative partnerships at The Perfect Magazine.
SUSANNA LAU (@SUSIEBUBBLE)
Susanna Lau, also known as Susie Bubble, was born in North London and grew up above a Chinese takeaway in Camden Town run by her parents, who are originally from Hong Kong. Lau started her fashion blog, Style Bubble, in March 2006, which is still one of the most prolifically read blogs of its type. She loves young designers and experimental design, and she’s certainly not scared of colour and print; hence, she’s admired for her maximalist style.
In 2010, Lau left her role of two years as commissioning editor of DazedDigital.com in order to focus on blogging full-time. Since then, she has worked on freelance content creation for brands such as Prada and Gucci, and also sits on the experts panel for the LVMH Prize. Lau always wanted to promote fashion as a medium for self-expression—not to please others, but yourself.
In 2014, Lau was the first blogger (rather than the usual journalist) to be asked by the Fashion Museum Bath to select an outfit to reflect 2013 for the Dress of the Year collection. Against all odds, Lau recently opened a bubble tea cafe in London with a friend from Hong Kong, veering into a completely new adventure.
IRENE KIM (@IRENEISGOOD)
Irene Kim is a Korean-American model, beauty and fashion blogger, and TV personality. Best known by her social media moniker, Ireneisgood, she was born in Seattle and moved to Seoul when she was in middle school, only returning years later to New York to study textile design at FIT. She was coined “Unicorn Hair” when she started dyeing her hair in different hues; at times it was blonde, purple, and rainbow-coloured. She cites fashion bloggers such as Chiara Ferragni, Susie Bubble, and BryanBoy as her inspirations—that is, apart from her mother and grandmother, who were her biggest influences.
In 2015, Kim was appointed Estée Lauder’s global contributor alongside Kendall Jenner. She’s also a brand ambassador for Chanel. Dubbed by Vogue as an “ambassador to the buzzing South Korean fashion scene” and Womenswear Daily as fashion’s “It Girl”, Kim has also graced the cover of top fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Taiwan, W Korea, Harper’s Bazaar Korea, and more.
In June 2018, Kim unveiled her brand, Ireneisgood Label. Encapsulating her fashion knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit, the line’s ultimate goal is to empower people to stay true to themselves and embrace their individuality.
Known for their pink bobbed hair and flamboyant wardrobes, Ami and Aya Suzuki are Tokyo’s most recognisable fashion twins, who rose to fame from sharing street snaps of their Harajuku style. They say their matching styles actually help them express their individuality. After moving from Shizuoka Prefecture to Tokyo at the age of 15, they were soon scouted by a talent agency while walking down Takeshita-dori in Harajuku; by the time they were 17, they had become regular fixtures in popular magazines. The uniqueness of their look proved popular and their fan base grew, with many young women imitating their look. With their modelling careers taking off, the duo released the Aya Ami book in 2010, which sold more than 40,000 copies. A year later, they launched their own label, Jouetie.
“Fashion is one of our big passions,” said Ami in a recent interview with Tokyo Weekender. “The name Jouetie comes from the French word ‘jouet’, meaning toy. Seeing kids play with toys, you can sense the joy it brings them, and we want our customers to feel the same when they try our items.”
Amiaya’s first fashion show appearance was in New York in autumn 2017. Their eccentric style has earned them huge exposure on the international fashion stage and social media. Since then, you can spot them in the front row of top fashion shows as well as the pages of magazines such as Elle, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. “The hope is that one day, when people think of Japan, they will think Amiaya,” said Aya in the same interview. No doubt they have achieved this—at least in the fashion scene.
MOLLY CHIANG (@MOLLY_CHIANG)
THE REAL DEAL
This Taiwanese personality first made a splash on the TV show 'University List'. Today, she is a top influencer in Taiwan. Her road to fame in social media was not an easy one, having faced many rejections and disapprovals until she met her current manager, Henry Liao, and his team. Together, they created the brand “Molly”.
In 2016, Chiang launched her book 'Be the Best Version of You' and received an enthusiastic response from young women. One of her career highlights came in 2018, when she defeated nearly 30 international KOLs and became a representative for international beauty brand Bobbi Brown. Together, they launched a unique lipstick colour named MollyWow. In 2019, Molly collaborated with Jo Malone and the list of brands continues to grow.
Chiang is also a front-row regular at shows every season during Fashion Week. Her carefree personality and eye for fashion has earned her a great deal of respect from brands as well as friendships from around the world. As a cover star for Vogue Taiwan, the style icon has just revealed her latest venture—which she kept hidden for six months from her followers—her short hair and her first movie role. Fans certainly look forward to seeing Molly on the silver screen.