Birthday Recap of my Shiniest Moments in Blogging
Well it’s that time again, when I stop and think in disbelief how fast the time has gone…and how the hell I’m already one year (or two or three or…heck, 10) years older. It’s definitely scary how our relative perception of time gets shorter as we get older compared to how many years we’ve lived, making it feel like time is speeding up. At least, that’s the theory I’ve read and tend to believe. What’s hard to believe though, is that I even got into this blogging business to begin with. Only a few years ago it was just a fleeting thought with no plans to even bring it into fruition—the last time I had even attempted to start a blog was on Blogger in 2009 when I thought I would document the planning of my wedding. I did squeeze a few denim-related posts in here and there but only had one follower (my fiancé’s sister) and I just didn’t feel a drive, passion or motivation in general to continue beyond only a handful of posts. That probably lasted about three or four months. Perhaps I wasn’t as well rehearsed on how to promote a blog—social media was already a strong point of mine, as was networking and web development, but I definitely didn’t know as much about marketing or how to properly promote posts cross-platform as I do now.
After joining Denimology’s product review team in late 2013, I immediately found that bug I was looking for. I don’t know exactly how things grew so strongly past the motivation obstacle into the realm of a driving passion that seemed to flow naturally, other than the fact maybe that finally now I had a justification for my denim obsession! Reviewing jeans and being introduced to brands I might otherwise not have discovered (at least when I did) helped give me ideas to write about beyond Denimology, although at the time I still didn’t really want to limit myself to only the subject of denim. So Decadent Dissonance was born in January of 2014 with the title representing a deliciously vast amount of interests (as I always had growing up) which don’t always really have anything to do with each other. Over time, I’ve grown a passion for not only denim but sustainable, earth-friendly, and/or charitable brands as well as independent designers. I’ve always kind of felt like I didn’t really jive with most of the population, always beating to my own drum, which maybe is why fashion blogging wasn’t much of a thought years ago. I never felt quite THAT girly and “chic,” nor did I really want to be…and I certainly didn’t want to pretend to be. I also always felt a little uncomfortable putting myself out there, even though a part of me wanted to do something influential and I always did like writing and editing. So after writing and developing this blog for awhile and falling into more of a groove of helping non-mainstream brands and initiatives gain exposure (as well as anything denim still of course), “Decadent Dissonance” to me kind of evolved into the subject of the deliciousness of going against the grain a little. Back to my roots.
Today is my birthday, and I’m almost in my mid 30s. Even more hard to believe. I figured though, instead of sitting here watching and thinking about the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years going by as I celebrate today, I’d look back on some of my most favorite accomplishments and experiences with this whole blogging thing. I’ve felt privileged to work with Denimology which has supplemented my blogging knowledge both on this blog and one I manage at work, and it’s been one awesome ride. I had a hard time narrowing my highlights down to just enough and resisting turning this post into a book, so I am really hoping I’m not leaving many out…either way, they have all been pretty shiny indeed.
First Denimology Review – AG Stilt in 10 Years Rio – January 14, 2014
When I was first being considered as a product review team member at Denimology, my first assignment was to create a review with a pair of jeans I already owned. The AG Stilt in 10 Years Rio was my favorite skinny jean at the time, and still the most relevant to what was currently on the market than any of my other jeans, so it was a go, and won me the spot as well as inspired a few new ideas for product reviewing on the website. Fast forward to now, when I actually work as a Brand Relationship Manager and also manage our review team! I still review too, and I am loving working in the denim industry so much. What a rad opportunity this has been. Read this review here!
Dragonfly by J Claire Hand Painted Jeans – First Collab – August – November 2014
As an artist myself I couldn’t help but resist writing about Dragonfly by J. Claire, a collection of custom made, hand-painted jeans by Joan Claire Smith. I can’t remember how I ran across her work, but my blog post led to introducing her to the Denimology family and an opportunity to review three of her gorgeous pieces, one being a custom paint job on a pair I already had for a review from Mia & Moss. These are so cool I’m still afraid to wear them out! See the reviews for the Mia & Moss custom pair here, and two from her online store here and here.
7 For All Mankind Slim Illusion Skinny in Icy Black 2 Review – October 16, 2015
This one was another awesome opportunity…to review 7 For All Mankind on my own blog! I had been dying for a similar wash that had sold out, and the brand was awesome enough to send me this one as an alternative. This was also one of my favorite photo shoots, and I still wear these jeans a lot today! One of the absolute best I’ve ever worn from the brand. See the review here.
Personal Story Feature on Lorna Burford’s The Jeans Blog – August 26, 2015
I can definitely give credit to successful denim blogger Lorna Burford of Raindrops of Sapphire was a huge inspiration of mine. Of all the bloggers, I felt I could relate to her the most. I first discovered her when reading her denim reviews on DenimBlog, and I think her writing style helped me realize you could do well just being yourself as a blogger and not necessarily be bound to a certain highly-reserved brand or image, if you get what I mean. Although she obviously has her own presence which all bloggers work hard for, I was drawn to her honesty, realness and down to earth, girl-next-door nature while most other bloggers seemed more disconnected and more like advertisers. This presented blogging as a much warmer endeavor than I had expected, and introduced me to the fact that more bloggers than not are willing to support each other as we all develop our own niches and styles that don’t really make sense in the world of competition after all. So after conversing with Lorna through email and social media, learning as much as I could from her about blogging and forming my own style, she eventually invited me to write my own story for her to feature on her new quickly-growing blog The Jeans Blog last year. Oh yes, I was excited. As a thank you and show of appreciation for all of her support, I often link some of her posts to supplement related articles of my own. Read the story here!
Fitcode Collaboration – June 26, 2015
Fitcode is an amazing service that assigns you a personal fit number determined by a short but sweet quiz about how jean usually fit you and your body shape. With that number, you are then matched to available jeans on the market that will best fit your shape! I absolutely LOVED this opportunity…when they were in their beginning stages, they allowed me to run through the quiz and choose a pair of jeans that they would send over to me! I chose these beautiful Citizens of Humanity Rocket in Manic, a high rise number that ended up fitting me like magic, as promised. I thoroughly enjoyed documenting the entire process and reviewing the jeans! Later on, I helped them host two drawings for new fans to win jeans through their service. I love watching them grow and continue to support them when I can! Read that review here.
TUYA (Turn Up Your Awesome) Post and Brand Relationship – September 4, 2015
One of my favorite things about attending transformational music festivals is discovering all of the incredible independent clothing designers out there, most of which use eco friendly materials like hemp, soy, bamboo or organic cotton. They are just so different from mainstream apparel due to not only the materials used, but also the attention to detail, uniqueness and obvious love put into every handmade piece. TUYA, which stands for Turn Up Your Awesome, is a brand I discovered at Lucidity Festival in 2015. Their trademark colorful, geometric pattern adorns their collection of leggings, capes, shorts, hats, and other pieces of apparel and accessories. Everything they produce is made to promote empowerment, education, leadership, the arts and leading healthy lifestyles, and the brand promises that 11% of all merchandise proceeds will be donated to “measurable direct-action social causes, forever.” After writing about them I ended up with my own couple of TUYA leggings, a shopping bag, and a new favorite brand and contact that I still hold to this day, with talks to maybe do a collab soon after a long awaited brand relaunch. Check out my post about them here!
La Clé Key Jewelry – November 28, 2014 to Present
I am always so enchanted by the little companies that somehow found cute little niches in the oversaturated online market, especially within the jewelry department! I discovered La Clé jewelry, a small brand that takes vintage keys and turns them into necklaces! Customers have the option of choosing a color from a menu which also displays each color’s meaning, then pick an already colored key or customize a key with a dip into paint that matches their custom color. A stamped word or phrase is also a custom option. They also released REFOCUS bands this year, which are colorful, patterned little wristbands with positive affirmations printed inside to remind the wearer to stay positive and motivated! I’m always watching this brand and still stay in touch, and I love writing about anything new they come up with and retweeting special deals or new releases. Check all my posts about them here!
Diego Milano S/S Number 019 Review on Denimology – July 15, 2015
Diego Milano was such a privilege to review…I hadn’t heard of this brand until they were presented to us to feature on Denimology and I fell in love. They definitely were on the highest end of the denim spectrum that I’ve ever experienced, categorized into the “luxury denim” market, with all sorts of beautiful handcrafted 3D details including different shades of leather paneling and edging. They also have philanthropic initiatives to help get kids educations when they’d otherwise be forced into sweat shops or other terrible working conditions. This was another one of my most favorite photo shoots as well, and I tried my best to keep the theme of the collection I was representing: “Tribe of Nomads.” This definitely tapped into my urban hippie spirit! Check out that review here.
Wearable Art by Sociale Revolution – June 20, 2014 to Present
I think Sociale Revolution was my first solid introduction into the world of art-meets-apparel. I mean, obviously with things like Cafepress or Society6 and The Coterie, it’s not exactly a new concept. But Sociale Revolution was the first I had discovered, as a Kickstarter at the time, and there was something so awesomely personable about them which they still hold to this day that I knew I had to present them to my readers. They have a handful of awesome independent artists of all ages that submit artwork for them to feature on tees and tanks for men and women, which is a great opportunity to help them get exposure and jump start their artist careers. I have been in touch with Sociale Revolution since I wrote my first post about them, and recently worked with them to review one of these pretty tank tops! They just released a collection of limited prints for sale, which I’ll be writing about soon! See my review for them here.
Androgenous Denim by Dapper Boi – April 27, 2015 to Present
Perhaps the most notable thing about the apparel industry is its inclusiveness…it has such a vast history which allows people to be themselves and express their individuality however they desire. Of course though, sometimes mainstream fashion tends to make some people feel put off as idealistic images flood the covers of magazines and advertisements. The denim market can especially be tough. Everyone has experienced the dread of finding a pair of jeans that fits them just right, and sometimes it can feel like denim is only marketed to certain body types. Dapper Boi is all about inclusiveness, and I also discovered them as a Kickstarter campaign! Instead of creating a line of men’s jeans and women’s jeans, they created it all in one gender-neutral package. They’ve been a joy to work with, and I’ve stayed in touch with them up to a recent post in July about their new crowdsourcing program, allowing their market to drive their product line and success rather than simply issuing out jeans to whoever wants to buy them. I think they are all-around awesome and they are another brand I absolutely love to watch! See my posts about them here.
Fran Denim Feature and Review – June through July 2015
Being fairly athletic myself, I’m always impressed with the few brands that come out now and then that cater to those who squat, lift, or generally are more muscular! I tend to be naturally a bit more toned, but I am also a dedicated fitness buff. I’m lucky that most jeans fit me just fine, but every now and then I experience the trouble with having thicker thighs and calves. Fran Denim was a brand I discovered as a Kickstarter, and featured as a post in June 2015. Soon after, I was sent a pair to review! I’m happy to see these guys still kicking butt and growing, as they are another brand I am still watching. It’s tough to find niches that haven’t already been filled in the denim market, or to do it better than others might have, and I think Fran has found their winning ticket. This was another smaller brand that was super cool to work with. See my review here!
I really could write so much more, but I only have so much room (and time)! I just want to personally thank everyone who has inspired and worked with me over the years, as well as all of YOU, my readers! I’ll say the usual cliché of “I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of you,” because I do truly believe that. So with all of that said, I hope you all enjoyed this post, and although blogging can be time consuming and slightly stressful at times (check out this great post by the aforementioned Lorna Burford, explaining that blogging isn’t always roses and shiny things here), but it’s so rare to find a passion that drives you without a whole lot of thought…one that you just do, because you love it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!