I’ve been following Liberty London Girl’s blog since 2007 and it’s one of my favourite blogs. I liked that it was an anonymous blog and was surprized to learn that someone wanted to out her, so LLG chose to reveal her identity in Grazia during London Fashion Week. I recently had the opportunity to ask Sasha Wilkins a few questions.
What made you start an anonymous blog?
It was anonymous because, back in 2006, no one in fashion in the UK talked or even really knew about blogging, and I certainly didn’t think of it as an adjunct to my career. (The idea that I might one day turn it into a business was non-existent.) I was more concerned that writing a blog might be detrimental to my career, or that a future employer or boyfriend might find it through Google.
Did you only come out because you were concerned that you’d be outted?
I had always planned that at some point during 2010 I would make my identity known. Given a choice I wouldn’t have done it at two weeks’ notice. The quick decision was because there was a belief that someone else was about to blow my cover. The moment I realised that, I approached British Grazia to see if they would be willing to run my ‘official’ version. I was thrilled when they then brought the story forward for their London Fashion Week issue. And even more thrilled when they ran it over three pages.
How has the response been?
I was absolutely terrified! I re-launched the LLG interface at the same time, so I was worried that my readers wouldn’t like the new site and that they would be disappointed when they discovered that it was me who was behind LLG. Turns out that the worrying was for naught – I didn’t have a single bad comment on the site, which was an enormous relief, & was inundated with email, comments & Tweets. God I love my readers for being so incredibly supportive. It’s also helped a little bit re: access for blog stories but to be honest I’ve never been much a chaser after news or exclusives, preferring to run posts about things I’ve found out myself or through my work as a journalist.
Did being anonymous influence what or how you wrote?
No, I don’t think so. I stand by everything I write, & would write nothing that I would not put my name to. Sure I’ve posted the occasional blog about things I think are wrong in the fashion industry, but it’s nothing I haven’t said in person. I’ve never been a scandal or gossip monger, or specialized in snark or bitchiness, so I have never using my anonymity to hide behind in that way.
Do you think your writing will change in any way now that you are no longer anonymous?
I have felt a little bit weird writing more personal blog entries, as so many acquaintances in both my personal & work lives hadn’t read LLG before and now do because they read about it in Grazia. In fact, I’ve barely written a diary style post since I came out in Feb. But I started again on Good Friday, (I mentioned my parents’ divorce) and the supportive response has been incredible, so I feel I’ve taken the plunge and will get back in the groove of writing about my daily life in New York, LA & London, rather than just about things, food, dogs or places.
How do you feel about other anonymous fashion bloggers?
At the risk of sounding ill-informed, I can only think of two others still in existence: DisneyRollerGirl & Tales from the Runway (who isn’t blogging at the moment). DRG is a great blog: informed with a viewpoint. Although I’d say that her identity is more of an open secret than a mystery at this point – she’s been blogging for longer than I have, and these things have a way of leaking.
After all, you only need to be anonymous if you are actually in the fashion industry yourself, and most employed editors are too busy to blog on the side in addition to their day jobs, which these days probably involves them blogging for their publications anyway.
There was a great UK based anony- blogger/editor, Mrs. Fashion, who stopped blogging before revealing her identity, & a very insider US blog called Tales from the Fourth Row that had the New York magazine world in a tizz back in 2007. The writer very sensibly quit whilst the going was good, and her identity was never discovered. This was demonstrably a good thing as she was extremely blunt in her opinions and I suspect her blog would have been a firing offence.
Bottom line: there are no secrets on the internet, and you will get found out eventually if you blog anonymously.
Has the attitude towards fashion bloggers changed since you first started LLG?
Goodness, yes, it’s like a different world entirely. When I started LLG in 2006, it was only ever meant to be my personal thoughts & then my letters home to England, so I had no expectation that anyone bar my friends and family would ever read LLG. The idea of launching a fashion blog as a visible platform to aid my career never even occurred to me, but I suspect 99% of fashion blogs are now started with that kind of aim in mind.
I stopped blogging at the beginning of 2008 when I started as Executive Style Editor on the global launch of The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ magazine. After I left the Journal, I re-started LLG on 10 Jan 2009 and it was like entering a different world. One in which blogs were a talking point and a news item. There was absolutely no way a blogger would have been given a front row seat at a fashion show in 2007. This season at LFW front row seats for certain bloggers were a given (although that doesn’t mean that that is not a contentious issue.)