FINDING NEW FORUMS FOR FASHIONS
In the chaos that is the internet, it is all too easy to get lost in the ho-hum of everyone that insists on having an opinion on the littlest of nuances. This is especially true in the world of fashion; the amount of tumblr-based "fashion blogs" is disgusting, and the amount of quality ones is few and far between. Yet despite Vice's claim that "real New Yorkers don't give a damn about fashion," in the city there are in fact a few who do, and, do it quite well.
Enter the world of Lo Bosworth. Founder of thelodown.com, Lo is the former star of MTV's Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and its reality spinoff The Hills. Only 28, Ms. Bosworth used her platform to launch her current site, which she updates from her apartment in the Soho House today.
"I think I got into fashion as a kid," she says. "I used to play dress up all the time." Yet all childish influences aside, Lo exudes professionalism. The coat she dons is not merely an accessory, it is a statement of class and extravagance, but one that doesn't feel snobbish. "Alpaca. It is the softest thing." Online, the array of other outfits she showcases present similar qualities. Bold boots, creamy denim, sharp blazers--regardless of the look, Lo, who is the only model on her site (a main part of the brand she has created around herself), makes it look good.
Perhaps this is the reason Lo has garnered such a massive online presence. Bosworth's Instagram has over 725,614 followers (the numbers were observed at the time of press and are already irrelevant). Her Twitter is even bigger, pushing nearly 775,000 followers. "I have to keep base with my followers as much as possible," Bosworth says. "They inspire me to do my business. They deserve as such." Yet Bosworth doesn't merely integrate the social media apps as her only stomping grounds. She's savvy. On nearly every tweet or post, there is a link that shoots customers back to her own personal site for the full story of the subject at hand, generating traffic on her original site. "I'm actually quite proud of the site. It really shows everything that I love in a beautiful way."
It should be noted that Lo's grasp of influence does not lie merely in fashion. Trained at The Professional Culinary Center here in New York, Bosworth is a professional chef as well. Lo seems frustrated when breached about the subject. "I cook in the tiniest of spaces. It's literally 6 inches of counter space to work with," she explains. "But I make it work." On TheLoDown, Lo is adamant to share the newest super foods and quick homemade creations (such as iced coffee). "Health is probably my second biggest passion. Nutrition is key."
But If you think cooking in a New York City apartment kitchen is rough, try making every meal in a dorm. "I don't even want to talk about it," exclaims Nikki Tabibian. "The stove takes about fifteen minutes to heat where it needs to be." Nikki is the founder of Stars and Stripes Vintage, a retro fashion blog that she runs from Instagram and online. "I'm not really big on having my 'finger on the pulse.' I don't need to," Tabibian states. "My style comes from a conglomeration of past styles." Her wardrobe certainly reflects this. She is wearing a satin blue pair of high-rise pants that, on anyone else, would look ridiculous, but on her frame sit with authority. "They're the most comfortable things," she exclaims, before inviting us to feel the fabric.
A student at New York University, Nikki runs Stars and Stripes (SNS) Vintage between the daily challenges of being a student. "It can be hard to upkeep at times, especially now with midterms, but in the end it keeps me levelheaded." Differing from Lo's website, which only offers the latest trends in various categories, SNS Vintage also holds an online store. "I want to give people an actual means of obtaining these styles," Tabibian says. "Especially with vintage looks, a lot of blogs leave consumers hanging on where to obtain the clothes they see. I want to try to eliminate that struggle."
As with Lo, Nikki also relies on Instagram to upkeep with her followers. With nearly 1300 followers, Nikki's brand is a growing one that relies on word of mouth. "A lot of it is supported by my personal network and what they share to their peers. I like it that way, it keeps the experience intimate."
Between the two of them, Bosworth and Tabibian have different outtakes on the projection of the future. "I'm excited for what we have in store," says Lo. "Fashion is moving in an androgynous direction, and it is really interesting to see what is coming out of it." From the fashion standpoint, Tabibian basically agrees. "People are starting to find their own styles. Celebrities and ads don't nearly have as much impact as they used to. That's important." Yet when asked about communicating through social media, Tabibian looks down in a slight sadness.
"It seems it's all my generation is doing anymore."