Fashion week job swap: could I become an Instagram star?

he front row is a world divided. Montagues and Capulets, in bare legs rather than doublet and hose. Between the two blocs – editors on the one hand, “influencers” on the other – there is little love lost. Last autumn, American Vogue staffers branded the influencers “pathetic”, describing the job as “turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching in your seat as you check your social media feeds”. The influencers hit back, branding their Vogue attackers as haughty and out of touch. (“Get back to your Werther’s Originals,” was a particularly choice comeback.) We think they are airheads; they think we are fogeys. So, to find out who’s right, I have arranged a job swap at London fashion week. Doina Ciobanu is 22, has 225,000 followers on Instagram (at time of writing), and attends shows as a model, VIP guest and brand ambassador. Ciobanu grew up in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where she began blogging aged 16. She moved to Bucharest at 19, and now lives in London. For Saturday at London Fashion Week, I will do her job and she will do mine.

My job is to write about the shows. Writing to deadline frames my days and everything else – designer interviews, checking out up-and-comers, analysing emerging trends – has to fit around that. Doina’s job is to provide online content, mostly self-portraits with fairly brief captions, some of which are arranged in collaboration with labels whose clothes or beauty products she wears in the photos. I am an expert; Doina is an avatar.

Julien Macdonald is interviewed by Doina Ciobanu.
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Julien Macdonald is interviewed by Doina Ciobanu. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

The unspoken fashion editor dress code is low-key. Black trousers and a navy jumper is fine. The goalposts have shifted over the past decade, as fashion week has become a more public event – but still. Today, however, I am an influencer. So my first outfit is a new-season Gucci logo T-shirt, Mih wide-legged, floor-sweeping jeans, a checkedSimone Rocha jacket with puffy sleeves, to which I have added my own black Nicholas Kirkwood shoes and a cherry-red Alexander McQueen bag that is many years old. The outfit feels cumbersome, both literally (I can’t get the belt to sit right, and I’m terrified of tripping over the hem of the jeans) and figuratively. It takes up a lot of mental space, being dressed like this.

I meet with Doina in a Pret near London Wall, around the corner from the Julien Macdonald show. She has come dressed as a journalist, in jeans and a black sweater, with her hair in a bun. But she doesn’t look like a journalist at all, not just because the sweater is a fancy one that Julien sent over this morning for her to wear to the show, but because she is 22 and, like most of the new wave of influencers, absurdly beautiful. Imagine Kendall Jenner crossed with Emily Ratajkowski, and you get the idea: not just gorgeous, but with a specific aesthetic that is millennial catnip. Eyes disproportionately large, cheekbones defined even in repose, she looks like an animated Snapchat filter.

Doina’s favourite book, she tells me, is Plato’s Republic. She reads newspapers in English – the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times – but fiction in Russian. (“A lot of things in life, you can express them better in Russian.”) Her life plan is first to build a brand along the lines of Chiara Ferragni, aka The Blonde Salad, the 29-year-old Italian influencer who has built a personal brand worth an estimated £10m, and then to become the first female president of Moldova. “I have plenty of time,” she says. “I will do this first, and then, when I am 40, perhaps I will go into politics.” I am 43. What have I been doing with all my time?

Outside the show, Doina greets the streetstyle photographers with kisses before obligingly recrossing the road so they can get a better shot of her arriving. And then crossing the road again, so they can get the shot again. And again, and again. She does this eight or nine times, allowing each photographer to capture the same reportage-style shot of her, apparently serenely indifferent to the lens. These images will appear on streetstyle blogs; the photographers will tag her, so she can find and regram the images.

Jess outside a show at London fashion week 2017.
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Jess outside a show at London fashion week 2017. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

Being Doina is a complex business. Some brands pay her to model in their social media marketing, others pay her to endorse their products. An agent negotiates fees. “He looks at what a regular model would get paid, and at what a top celebrity would get paid, and pitches me somewhere in the middle,” she explains. A brand will send Doina images or samples of a new season’s products – it could be a mascara or a piece of jewellery – and “if I like the brand and it fits my aesthetic”, she will select pieces she is happy to endorse. But many posts are unsponsored, starring Doina in clothes she has bought or borrowed. These reinforce her aesthetic and voice, and build following.

The resistance of the fashion establishment to the likes of Doina is one part anxiety (the elite always fear becoming obsolete), one part snobbery (there have always been It girls who got photographed outside shows, but they used to be debutantes, the goddaughters of the elite, not young women from Moldova), and one part ethical suspicion that there is something compromised or false about the influencer role. This last part is tricky to unpick. Authenticity means something different for Doina’s generation than for mine. A tiny example: halfway through our day, a shot appears on Doina’s Instagram account of her in a cafe, captioned “much-needed coffee between shows”; we haven’t stopped for coffee. But when I bring it up, she is politely nonplussed by how baffled I am. In the run-up to busy periods, she explains, she will often prepare posts so as to have appropriate content ready to go. That the photo wasn’t taken on the day doesn’t strike her as in any way fake. Her social media isn’t a logbook of her life, it’s a contemporaneous brand-strategy document. So long as she’s the one calling the shots, then it is true to herself, because it is true to her vision of herself.

To Doina, being independent of commercial alliance is not aspirational. A generation who have grown up dreaming of becoming personal brands do not treat brands with suspicion. Now that every man and woman is her own brand, The Man is the bogeyman no more. If the designer of a dress she likes will pay Doina to wear that dress, that’s not a compromise, it’s win-win. Indeed, she sees herself as a force for good. “I want to get involved in female rights in eastern Europe, because no one is fighting for this,” she says. Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and its female population face significant discrimination. A 2010 study by the National Bureau of Statistics found that 63% of women had experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence from their husband or partner. In her efforts to use her profile to help the cause, Doina has been in touch with UN Women in Moldova, “and with Versace, who are very interested in talking about female empowerment”, she adds, as if the UN and Versace were two comparable platforms.

Doina’s business model is resolutely digital, but her aesthetic is absolutely within the glossy magazine tradition. Her Instagram is all bubble baths in chic hotel rooms, soulful evening strolls along the Seine. “My content is always aspirational,” she says, “and that takes time. I can’t take a photo if there’s litter on the pavement.” So there is, inevitably, a disconnect between the carefree tone of her content and the effort required. The Julien Macdonald show runs half an hour late, so it’s a race against the clock across to London to a meet-and-greet for influencers with Gigi Hadid at the Tommy Hilfiger store, an appointment that is as significant in Doina’s diary as any fashion show. Hadid, with nearly 32m followers on Instagram, is digital fashion royalty.

Doina greets photographers outside a London fashion week show.
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Doina greets photographers outside a London fashion week show. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

During fashion week, my life involves a lot of small talk with whoever I happen to be seated next to. But in Doina’s world, communication through a screen trumps talking to the people who are around you every time. It’s a numbers game: if an influencer has to choose between talking to the thousands of people who are with her on social media or the three people in her taxi, she will naturally prioritise the thousands. In the cab on the way to Knightsbridge, she breaks off our conversation to post a video on her Instagram story telling her followers that she is in a cab on the way to Knightsbridge. At the Tommy Hilfiger shop, influencers nod greetings to each other and get on with the business of posting photos to their followers. After the rush to get here, Hadid is running late and I am now regretting having passed up the opportunity to eat at Pret. The room is lavishly catered with beautiful food that does not seem intended for actual consumption. There are miniature burgers, but the beef patties are sandwiched between macaroons rather than bread buns. It looks shareable, but only in the digital sense. When Hadid arrives, she and Doina say hello and then, even before Doina has lifted her phone aloft, they both automatically fluff their hair and position their faces next to each other for a selfie video, which Doina immediately posts on her Instagramwith the caption “keep running into this beauty”.

By now I am starving. But there’s no time to stop, because we are racing back along the river for a fly-by visit to the Astley Clarke presentation at the Institution of Engineering next to the Savoy hotel, before a two-mile dash north to Bloomsbury and the JW Anderson show. Doina’s sweet face clouds over when she realises she has been neglecting her Snapchat over the last couple of hours. “If I forget,” she says, “my mum or boyfriend will text to nag me about it.” She works “every day from morning until midnight or 2am”. At Christmas, she took three days off from social media. “Those were my only days off in the past three years,” she says. This is the only time I hear Doina being remotely negative about anything. Being an influencer might be hard work, but to make it lucrative it has to be aspirational, so you have to look like you are having fun at all times.

Doina and Jess arrive at a show.
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Doina and Jess arrive at a show. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

One of the key differentiators between editors and influencers is that while we wear the same clothes all day, give or take a 9pm black tie upgrade, influencers will often change into an outfit by the designer of each show they attend. So, on the way to JW Anderson, I commandeer the backseat of a British Fashion Councilcar to change into a skirt and shirt by the designer. The stress of being in my bra and knickers in broad daylight, fumbling to fasten shirt buttons in time to make the next show, rattles me more than any copy deadline does. I completely forget to put the coordinating earrings on, and give up on changing shoes, because the skirt is much too long and has a tentacle-shaped hemline that I swear is trying to kill me. But it turns out you do have to suffer for fashion. The killer skirt works. The photographers outside the show love it, and my picture ends up on American Vogue’s Best Street Style Pics from London’s Fall 2017 Shows. Still, you can tell I’m not meant to be there: everyone else in the gallery is studiously avoiding eye contact with the photographer for the preferred “candid” format. I am smiling at the camera. Total sophistication fail.

Doina is much better at my job than I am at hers. After the show, we head toEmilia Wickstead, and soon afterwards she files her reviews to me for feedback. They are excellent. From her Julien Macdonald review: “Female empowerment is a term du jour. But where New York’s designers offered up feminism in the guise of slogan tees, Macdonald interpreted it through his concept of a future where clothes are made on-demand, tailored to the shape of every woman.”

We go our separate ways for a short time, and when I see her again at the 9pmVersus show, I am reminded of the famous quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: that she did everything he did, backwards and in high heels. Doina has used the hour to change out of her jeans and into a fuchsia tuxedo suit with a black lace camisole and spike-heeled sandals. And me? I ate a pizza.

 

Doina’s week as Jess: ‘I’m probably having more fun’

I work hard at the fashion shows, but I’m not going to pretend it’s not glamorous. You can see that on my Instagram feed, where I’m skipping down a crumbling staircase in Paris or posing in a Louis Vuitton minidress in Milan. What you don’t see is the behind-the-scenes effort: the months of meetings beforehand, the Google doc full of contact details for designers, so I don’t end up wearing the same Gucci loafers as everyone else. You don’t see the last-minute panics on show day: changing my outfit in the car while my driver tactfully waits on the pavement; shoving protein bars into my mouth between appointments.

Doina Ciobanu at a launch party in London.
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Doina Ciobanu at a launch party in London. Photograph: David Benett

I’ve always been fascinated by the journalists I see at fashion week. I like how serious they look. They are in their own world, while I’m talking to my followers on my two phones. We’re both working, but I feel like I’m probably having more fun. I love print journalism; I love to feel a magazine in my hands; I know some people think it’s irrelevant these days, but I really hope that is not the case.

The Guardian’s fashion team asked me to make like a journalist and wear one simple outfit, rather than get changed between the shows. That was a liberation: no desperate rush to find somewhere to change. I even had time to buy a coffee.

At the Julien Macdonald show, it felt very strange to be taking notes, rather than pictures. It’s such a tight space on the front row that a notebook and pen were useless. As soon as the clapping had finished, I rushed backstage, as instructed, to grab a quote. Macdonald was friendly, but I was in a crush of other journalists, everyone is muscling in, trying to congratulate him or ask questions. I had to manage all that, and say something intelligent, and take notes, too. It’s very different from meeting a designer as an influencer, when I’ll kiss them on the cheek and say, “I love your clothes”, and they’ll say, “You look beautiful”, and that’s it.

I wrote the review on my phone, while walking down the street between shows. It was stressful. I’m used to writing one thing quickly on Instagram; I don’t need to give that a lot of thought. But a lot of people are going to read this, and there’s an additional layer of stress that comes from knowing that it’s the Guardian.

My next assignment, an Emilia Wickstead report, was harder. We were short of time, so I didn’t go backstage to speak to her and had to come up with an analysis on my own. It was the end of the day, I was hungry, I was tired, my brain wasn’t working. I started writing the piece on the way home; the deadline seemed impossibly soon and I was anxious to make it good.

I studied political science and history, so I love understanding the cause of events. Being a journalist for a day gave me a chance to flex those analytic muscles; as an influencer, you simply look at what looks good on people, what you think people would like. I’d love to use my brain more in that way in the future, by getting more involved in activism, using my following for good. But I wouldn’t be a journalist. I’m an independent soul. Usually, when I’m working, I’m the brand. As a journalist, it’s not about you.

Doina’s Julien Macdonald review

All hail female empowerment. Or so indicated designer Julien Macdonald backstage after successfully debuting his autumn/winter 2017 collection.

Female empowerment, feminism and their ilk are the terms du jour for the fashion set right now. New York fashion week gave collection after collection where women’s rights were the focus. But where New York’s designers offered up feminism in the guise of slogan tees and underwear surely destined for fame as a hashtag, Macdonald interpreted it through his concept of a future where technology has such an impact on fashion that clothes are made on demand, tailored to the shape of every individual woman.

For Macdonald that is, of course, a particular style of clothing and a particular type of woman. One empowered, one confident. If feminism is a thread that runs through Macdonald’s winter 2017 collection, it’s the same feminism that the likes of Emily Ratajkowski can be found celebrating: that a woman can express herself and her person at a time of her choosing, Laura Mulvey’s “male gaze” be damned. Appropriate, then, that Ratajkowski has done much justice to Macdonald’s designs before now.

Macdonald does a style and he does it well. His hallmark spiderweb dresses are still to be found, but increasingly with straighter lines and alongside dresses offering a sleeker and more futuristic vision. Macdonald told me that his inspiration was “modern architecture, big cities [and] the metropolis”. His autumn/winter 2017 may be inspired by a future landscape, but there’s also an air of the imagined future that the likes of Fritz Lang once saw for us. Nostalgia, the present, and the future always go hand in hand.

 DEAL MAN

Canadian Fashion Reaches for Its Spot in the Sun

Chicago Style, 1929: When Women Chopped Their Hair And Grabbed A Fur

DOWNTOWN — Chicago in 1929 was the city of gangsters, jazz and drop waists — lots and lots of drop waists.

The city’s fashion for spring in that year is on display in a video from the Moving Image Research Collections at the University of South Carolina. The film is silent, but it shows women modeling cloche hats and head wraps with loose, flowing skirts and dresses or fur-lined jackets.

The video, featuring outtakes from a news story, was meant to show what was en vogue for women the spring and summer of ’29.

The decade was a major turning point for women’s fashion: hems rose, waists fell and outfits became less form-fitting as an extension of women gaining more independence. Makeup became more popular and women curled their hair and trimmed it into bobs.

The video’s not all serious, though: The models laugh, talk and smile while twirling around or standing together.

DEALMAN

Island Estates Women’s fashion show breaks records

CLEAWATER – The Island Estates Women’s Club in its 55th club year, with the assistance of its board, its members, and their guests, along with community support from businesses, has broken every club record this year for their Spring Fashion Show & Luncheon at the Belleair Country Club.

This yearly event aids their Island Estates Women’s Club Charitable Trust for the scholarship fundraisers and saw an additional 66 attendees at the program with more than 200 members and guests present. Outfits from La Boutique on Island Estates were modeled by several of the club’s members.

In addition 50/50 tickets, Mega tickets, a Gift Tree and Silent Auction included some prizes donated by our local businesses and restaurants, whose support also made this fundraiser so successful.

About $10,624 was raised to go toward the Scholarship Fund Charitable Trust for selected, graduating young women from Clearwater High School.

“It was another very successful event which could not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of president, Lynne McCaskill and Committee Chair, Debbie Christofferson, as well as many member volunteers and the generosity of our community partners,” a club news release said.

DEALMAN

2017: a new era for hijabi women in fashion

Walking in mega shopping malls around the Arab world is often a journey among the world’s number one commercial campaigns. From ethnic models to Caucasian women and men that equally fail to relate to Middle Eastern beauty aesthetics, shop windows and flashy ads often display an obvious neglect of many countries and ethnicities. Manal Rostom …

Walking in mega shopping malls around the Arab world is often a journey among the world’s number one commercial campaigns. From ethnic models to Caucasian women and men that equally fail to relate to Middle Eastern beauty aesthetics, shop windows and flashy ads often display an obvious neglect of many countries and ethnicities.

Manal Rostom is an Egyptian pharmacist and athlete that refused to stay unrepresented in her favourite brand’s campaigns. After years of growing up in a world that stereotyped her nation and women she could relate to, Rostom wanted to change what she considered unacceptable.

In 2014, the successful long-distance runner became the first hijabi woman to step into Nike HQ to be featured in the brand’s global campaign. Today she is part of a campaign taking the fitness and fashion industries by storm—the world’s first pro-sport hijab by a world-class brand.

Even though many Arab-based brands already have a wide range of alternatives, this particular move from Nike is widely celebrated as a gesture of acceptance and tolerance.

Daily News Egypt talked with Rostom to discuss her courageous endeavour, her struggle as a hijabi athlete, and the importance of the Pro Hijab.

What encouraged you to contact Nike for the first time back in 2014?

The first time I contacted Nike was in November 2014; after I founded my support group on Facebook for women surviving hijab. It was basically founded to reach out to women in Egypt and other Arab countries, which are dealing with having to take off their hijab or not being comfortable with it.

For many reasons, I did not want to be one of these women that were going to take off their hijab, so I decided to create this group. It grew so rapidly that we reached 40,000 women in the time between August and November.

I thought that it was a great opportunity to contact Nike and introduce myself through the Facebook group and the fact that I was an athlete that took part in several triathlons. I simply told them that I wanted to see Arab Muslim women running in their campaigns because as a hijabi runner, I wanted to see somebody that represents me.

Rostom was the first Hijabi woman to work with Nike in 2014 (Photo Handout)

What was the main message that you hoped to communicate through your first collaboration with Nike?

The main message that I wanted to communicate was that we are here and that we do exist in this context: we are active; we run; we are neither confined nor oppressed. I wanted to let people know that we are not limited to raising kids and spending our days in the kitchen like the media portrays us.

I wanted to let everyone know that we are interesting, at least some of us are. Generally speaking, no one should judge a woman based on how she looks or what she chooses to wear to display her faith.

I was the first Arab hijabi athlete to be invited to Nike’s HQ in July 2015 to attend their trainer summit. They recognised me as a sportsperson that lives in the Arab world and they wanted me to represent Arab women.

My images were all over the stores here in the UAE. Meanwhile, I am also the first hijabi Nike run-club coach in the world and the first hijabi trainer in the world as well.

How would you evaluate the impact and importance of launching the Nike Pro Hijab now amid all the political tension and increasing Islamophobia?

The product is crucial for me and my sport as well. I want any woman, who is already veiled, to feel confident that she now has got the product that will support her sport; whatever it is. I want women, who are thinking about wearing the hijab, to not be reluctant or confused.

I was born to Egyptian parents and I grew up in Kuwait. I was always confused about the hijab because I wanted to wear it, but the rest of the world was never supportive. However, as a kid, if I had me or any other successful hijab-wearing athlete to look up to, I would have never hesitated about my decision.

It is actually the perfect timing to launch such a product to the world. For the world’s number one sports brand to support Muslim women is going to change Islamophobia and the way people perceive us. It is going to make people more tolerant and less judgmental regarding hijab-wearing women.

The Egyptian long-distance runner was one of the key Muslim athletes featured in the Nike Pro Hijab campaign (Photo Handout)

I am a certified pharmacist and sports instructor. I have an Egyptian passport, but then also multiple US visas due to my work in the pharmaceutical industry. Nonetheless, last time, when I was there earlier this year, they stopped me and I was held for three hours in a room full of Arab and Chinese travellers—I missed my connecting flight just because I wore hijab.

For you as an athlete, what are the main positive features that the new Pro Hijab offers to veiled women?

I am an athlete that trains mostly outdoors; I run very long distances in brutal weather. I live in the Gulf area—in one of the hottest countries in the world. When you train for a triathlon or marathon, you train mostly outdoors with limited opportunity to train indoors. The reason why most hijabi women find it difficult to train outside is the heat.

Some women have very sensitive skin so the area around the neck gets agitated and develops a severe rash. The material with those athletes choose to cover their head is quite essential.

The Nike Pro Hijab is coming with dry-fit material that is used in running gear. It is going to impact long-distance training outdoors and heat tolerance. It is going to improve the performance of hijab-wearing athletes drastically.

What are the main characteristics that you would like to promote regarding Middle Eastern women in general and hijabi women in particular?

First of all, Middle Eastern women are not confined to setting up families and catering to domestic life or even raising 5 or 10 kids. Sadly, this is a stereotype that we grew up being scared of. We have many examples of hijab-wearing Middle Eastern women that excel in many fields.

 DEALMAN

Here’s how to win Sydney’s Fashion Chute Comp as it’s revealed $40K of prizes is up for grabs

EVER wondered how to enter The Fashion Chute Competition? Frocking up for the races could win a man and woman more than $40,000 worth of prizes. Here’s how to get a chance to win as well as tips from this year’s judges on what they’re looking for.

HOW TO ENTER:

Sydney’s fashionistas will be photographed for immediate entry to the competition and the chance to be selected and crowned overall winner in The Fashion Chute. Simply visit The Fashion Chute on either Championships Day 1 (Saturday 01 April) or on Championships Day 2 — Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Saturday 08 April) at Royal Randwick and you will be automatically entered into the competition.

Amanda Macor celebrates after winning the Fashion Chute competition. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir

WHAT YOU WIN:

The first 40 contestants to enter the competition on each day will receive a personalised fashion illustration by either Stephanie Baynie or Alexandra Nea. The lucky overall winner will win more than $40,000 worth of prizes, including return Emirates flights to Europe, a Vogue Australia styling session, a Ginger and Smart voucher, a Longines Chantilly race day experience and a luxury Moët & Chandon VIP cellar tour in France.

Model Georgia Fowler laughs during the Fashion Chute competition. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir

TIPS ON HOW TO WIN

Robert Carroll, designer behind Strand Hatters (advice for men)

1) I like people to wear local designers, if possible

2) I’m really into mixing fabrics, specifically with accessories, such as a pocket square, tie, or

bow tie.

3) No white shoes, that’s a red flag right off the bat for me

4) I love a hat, but it’s not absolutely compulsory for a man. Since men’s grooming is so big

now, as long as their hair is properly styled, men can go sans hat.

5) If opting for a hat, make sure it is felt, not straw.

Leave your white shoes at home fellas.

Alexandra and Genevieve Smart, designers behind Ginger and Smart (advice for men/women)

1) Create a modern and unique interpretation of race wear

2) Polished grooming

3) Style your look with a clever edit of elevated accessories

4) Be brave. Explore print and colour combinations or play with new proportions

5) Enjoy yourself

Alex Smart and Genevieve Smart are the sisters behind Ginger & Smart.

Nerida Winter, celebrity milliner (advice for women)

1) Investing in good quality really shows. You don’t necessary need to break the bank, but

having an eye for luxe fabric and construction is essential.

2) Make sure you’re dressed in season appropriate attire, that goes for your apparel as well as

your accessories, specifically headwear.

3) Look to the runways for inspiration, but be sure to remember that while being bold is

important, there’s a fine line between looking chic and looking like you’re going to a

costume party.

4) Enlist the advise of an expert when selecting your head piece and avoid the temptation to do

it yourself.

5) Accessories are the key to creating your own personal style. This year, there is a return of

the statement piece, but be sure to focus on just one statement, whether it be an accessory

or your frock.

Nerida Winter (centre) with Alexandra and Genevieve Smart.

Chronicles of Her blogger Carmen Hamilton’s fashion month secrets

Travelling to all four fashion weeks sounds like an absolute dream, and for Carmen Hamilton it was, but there were a few hairy moments between the Instagrams.

When you’re stuck outside the wrong airport in Milan with 100 kilograms of luggage and there’s a taxi strike, you’re not going to feel particularly glam.

“This is what people don’t see about fashion week,” the Chronicles of Her blogger says. She landed in Auckland in the small hours of Friday morning.

Hamilton and Lainy Black, who works on her site, made it to their apartment at 3am that night after an hour-long bus ride and lugging two suitcases each through the Milan metro.

It was worth it, though: Gucci’s Milan show gave her goosebumps.

“There was just something about it – the ambience in the room, it was just one of those pinch yourself moments,” Hamilton says. Sitting behind A$AP Rocky and Florence Welch definitely helped.

Chanel in Paris was another highlight.

“It was crazy. There was a rocket that legitimately took off. That show is always the pinnacle,” Hamilton says. “It’s one of the hardest ones to get invited to, so that was a bit of a career milestone for me.”

More than a lot of bloggers, Hamilton has always kept an eye on her audience. With a degree in marketing and journalism and several years at Vogue Australia’s website under her belt, she offers her readers tips they can actually use as well as beautiful imagery.

“When I first started blogging, people would be posting beautiful outfit photos and the title would be something like ‘Wanderlust,'” she says.

“Now people are more aware that readers are coming to you to see how to wear something, or to see how to build this functional but exciting wardrobe.”

Hamilton’s site has a genuine street style section as well, called Street 365. Rather than the same old fashion insiders, Hamilton features artists, students, bakers and filmmakers she sees around.

“You see the same faces all the time. Now it’s the same people, they live these crazy lives, they’re not wearing things they own. For people who aren’t in the fashion industry, you can’t shop it,” she says.

Instead, Hamilton wants to offer the same sort of posts that got her excited when she first started blogging.

“We’ve shot nail artists and illustrators – all types of people. It’s more about, what do you wear when you roll out of bed in the morning? Has your style always been like that, has it changed?”

Breaking up the fashion echo chamber gives Chronicles of Her a point of difference, and Hamilton sees a similar twist when it comes to New Zealand labels.

She rates Wynn Hamlyn, Paris Georgia Basics, Eugenie, Georgia Alice and Kate Sylvester. Her favourite hoop earrings are from Meadowlark.

Hamilton is in Auckland for a Fashion in the City event at Coach on Queen Street on Friday. She’ll be in store from 4-7pm offering styling tips.

 DEALMAN