Fashion and beauty is one of the biggest communities on YouTube, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. We learnt more at Summer in the City 2018…
The Fashion and Beauty panel took place in Panel Room B on Saturday of Summer in the City 2018. It featured Georgia Rankin, Anastasia Kingsnorth, Raven Navera, and Helen Anderson, with Luna Leigh moderating.
1. A LOT of effort goes into fashion and beauty videos
The first thing the panellists were keen to emphasise was that just because your content is not strictly intellectual, doesn’t make your content or you worth any less. The panel opened with a discussion of how fashion and beauty offer an escape and form of creativity that they initially did not get in their personal lives. Raven pointed out that much of the corporate world view having an interest in fashion as being ‘ditsy’ unless it is high-end and Luna observed how many people, even among their fellow YouTubers and bloggers, view it as a frivolous type of content. The concept of fast-fashion and waste was briefly discussed with Helen pointing out that other types of channels “invest in their content” and she is simply doing the same in order to “inspire and inform” her viewers.
2. The relationship between fashion/beauty and body positivity is more complicated than we first thought
Raven’s channel is described as focusing around the 3Fs (fashion, fitness and food) but she shared with the audience how her body has changed during the years she’s had her channel and that that was okay. She pointed out that “the body doesn’t come with the clothes” that are advertised in shops and learning to accept that and to be confident in the clothes despite having a different body is a very personal journey. Helen said that she now actively does not discuss body-confidence with her viewers and instead shows herself being confident in her clothes as “actions speak louder than words.”
3. Why do it? DO IT FOR YOU!
Georgia was quick to point out how important confidence is to being successful, especially in the face of stereotypes surrounding the panellists’ content. Anastasia also initially used fashion and beauty as a means of escapism when she was unable to express her individuality. They all point out that it is most important to make content that you enjoy rather than trying to please your audience. As Georgia said, you will inevitably get comments being annoyed at your choice of clothes or beauty products anyway!
4. Retaining Your Self-Worth
Ah the patriarchy, ruining things for everyone for at least the last 3000 years… hence Luna’s brilliant question to the panel about how they felt about their brand and career being inescapably tied up with a patriarchal view of the ideal woman and how this has effected their self worth. While Anastasia does believe that the appearance does have an impact on getting new viewers to click on the video, Raven pointed out that she feels like increasingly fashion and beauty YouTubers are not celebrated for their appearances but for being their authentic self. Helen agreed that she buys increasingly into people rather than beauty. Georgia also suggested that viewers don’t enjoy watching people who consider themselves superior to their audience and instead are looking for someone that they can relate to and seek the same values in influencers as they do in their friends.
5. Brands and Integrity
Brand deals were then discussed as the panel agreed that most people do not buy into the idea that celebrities really use many of the things they promote. Helen expressed her dislike for being told what to say by brands regarding their product. Raven told a story about how she once negatively reviewed a brand and they attempted to bribe her to remove the video but she considers her integrity to be worth more than money. However, she says she makes an effort to support small businesses for free if she has a genuine interest in them but that they should be willing to accept critique. Luna agreed that she won’t promote products that she wouldn’t promote to her friends if they are poor quality. Unfortunately, they don’t believe that all influencers feel the same.
6. Income isn’t the be all and end all of being on-trend
After a question from the audience, Luna led the discussion into elitism over non high street products and how people with lower incomes can be inspired by fashion and beauty. Georgia pointed out that in many of her videos she does not specify the brand of the beauty product she is using beyond stating the colour and what it does in order for her audience not to think they have to buy a super expensive product when there are cheap versions available. Helen also mentioned how while she does now invest in some products that have a long life span (bags, jackets and boots), most of her wardrobe comes from the high street and that people shouldn’t feel pressured to buy expensive products.
Want more from Summer in the City 2018?
Check out our Summer in the City tag, where you’ll find all of our coverage.
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