Fashion

Insider perspectives on fashion blogging

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Have you ever wondered what a typical day looks like for a fashion blogger? Have you ever wondered how they create their content? Well, as you might already know, fashion bloggers from all over the world are expanding their repertoires and getting more positive recognition. They are branching into digital marketing, entrepreneurship, brand management and so on. They are managing successful careers and shaping the fashion industry. Fellow bloggers like Marian Chileshe and Taonga Kaonga are perfect examples of the above. They have successfully managed to stay relevant in the Zambian fashion blogging community while inspiring and paving the way for new creatives and this is why it was important for me to highlight their journeys alongside mine.

BRYAN MANDA

I started blogging in 2015. At that time, I was sharing my short stories and a lot of poetry. It was in 2017 during my freshman year at the University of Zambia that I decided to branch into fashion and lifestyle blogging. At that time it was difficult to find other bloggers or people who understood what blogging was. In the early stages of my career I paid a lot of attention to what foreign bloggers were doing. I was equally inspired by Marian and Taonga because they both brought something unique to the small Zambian blogging community.

From day-to-day my schedule is never the same. Each week and day varies depending on whether I am shooting my own content, working on a sponsored blog project or attending events or brand meetings, but I do try to maintain somewhat of a schedule to help me stay grounded and focused. With that said, my day usually starts at 7am, and I wouldn’t call myself a morning person. To help me out the door

quickly, I read a few pages of poetry and I’m usually out by 7:30 or 8.

My creative process starts with a general idea which matures into a theme. This later moves on to me creating a mood board which serves as a general reference of what I have to create. I’ll quickly set up a photo shoot and this closes the creative process. If its brand related content the process is similar, the only difference is that I follow prescribed deadlines.

My blogging career has helped me branch into digital brand marketing representing brands like Pizza Hut Zambia, Vida e Caffe, Nando’s, Beefeater and many others. It has also landed me the opportunity to write a couple of fashion articles for Nkwazi and other publications while maintaining a solid sense of style as documented on my Instagram page.

TAONGA KAONGA

Taonga began her blogging career in 2015, at that time she was a third year student at the University of Zambia.

“I have always had a strong interest in fashion and style and was known as ‘the stylish girl’ back in my uni days! So much so, that my peers would always ask for styling tips, fashion advice and all things to do with fashion,” Taonga shares.

Despite her blogging career being rewarding, she has had many moments when she felt it was overly time-consuming and not worth the effort. Nevertheless, she continued. Taonga describes her content creation process as “natural as possible.” She goes from thinking of random ideas to the execution. Once she has the idea, she then moves on to plan her outfits, location and choose a photographer.

“It is through blogging that I was handed many opportunities such as speaking at events, to brand partnerships, to writing for Nkwazi. The greatest

achievement has been landing my current job as a digital account manager,” Taonga explains.

Taonga’s advice to bloggers is to stay on track, keep doing what you do, ask for help from people you look up to, collaborate and show brands how you can add value.

MARIAN CHILESHE

Marian’s blogging journey began in 2016 at the time when she was searching for purpose. Blogging for her became the place where she did not feel confused, a place where she did not have to second guess herself. It was her ultimate get away.

What started out as a platform where Marian shared her blogging experience with her followers has now led to her owning a thrift store called Finders Keepers.

“I wake up every day and make people look beautiful and feel amazing, which is an absolute dream. Don’t get it twisted. It comes with its fair share of challenges but I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything else,” Marian shares.

When it comes to content creation Marian’s philosophy has always been to use what she has and ‘DIY’ as much as possible because this has helped her stay on brand and on budget. Marian prefers to use natural light, her phone comes in handy as well and she uses editing apps like light-room and VSCO to spruce up her content. “The key is not to overthink, have lots of fun and repeat. That’s the recipe to great content,” Marian explains.

Marian details that it was a challenge for her to figure out how to monetize blogging and this frustrated her. She did so many free gigs before she was finally paid to blog. Fast forward to now, her challenge is centered on coming up with proposals that are good enough to attract brands. Her parting words are, “When you meet a blogger, please be kind because our minds are always on over drive thinking of the next great campaign.”

Bryan Manda @iambryowww.bryanmanda.wordpress.com
Taonga Kaonga @taongakaonga www.teeblogz.wordpress.com
Marian Chileshe @quirky_indeed www.quirkyindeed.wordpress.com

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