To Amena Azeez of Fashionopolis, researching and understanding the subject is the most important step in the content creation process.
Creating and consuming size-inclusive content is key to expanding what the mainstream considers fashion. Body positivity is an essential ingredient in making this a reality. With her blog, Fashionopolis, Amena Azeez hopes to create a difference in the industry.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
It all began in October 2011. That is when I officially launched Fashionopolis. Prior to starting my blog, I had spent almost 6 months researching and understanding what fashion blogging is all about.
What’s in the name?
A lot. The name is an integral part of your identity and personal brand. Your work gets associated with it and you eventually get recognized by it.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
As one of India’s first plus-size fashion blogger and body positive influencer, my goal was to create size-inclusive content, help democratize fashion and make it a more welcoming space for plus size women like me. For a long time, the Indian fashion industry has never truly represented plus size women and only very recently the industry has started to have a size-inclusive approach.
My aim, since the inception of Fashionopolis, has been to create content that represents plus size women like me and show them and the industry that style has no size and fashion is for all body sizes and types.
My fashion education and past experience as a fashion designer and stylist have always worked in my favour while creating content. Combining my fashion knowledge, my writing and styling skills and my understanding of the industry helps me give my content an edge and makes it stand out for the rest.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
Before I start any project – as a blogger/influencer, stylist and independent content creator – I make it a point to understand the subject thoroughly. I invest time in research. I research everything from the latest trends, to consumer behaviour to brand philosophy. Based on my research I make an inspiration board/document to have a clear idea as to what I wish to create. Once I am done with my research, I build my content from there. This way, I know what to not do, what to focus on and highlight and I am able to create unique content for my clients.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
As a blogger/influencer I collaborate with the brands to create content that helps promote their products. As an independent content creator and stylist, I work with different media outlets and brands to provide services as per their needs.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
It is a balancing act. I will always listen to the brand and respect their needs, but I upfront tell them that my readers need my unbiased opinion and that is what I will share. I will never demean or trash a brand as that is unfair but I won’t shower it with fake flattery either. Most importantly, I never promote a brand I don’t believe in and whose brand philosophy doesn’t align with mine.
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
As a human being, I have my good and bad days. And somedays one does wonder if it is all worth it. For me, my “worth it” moment came when a teenage girl reached out to me and sent me a message saying that she has been dealing with fat shaming and body issues all her life and because of it she has depression and also tried to commit suicide.
She said on her darkest days it was my blog, my work and words that inspired her. She connected with the words I wrote and felt that my story is her story. She told me my blog was an integral part of her healing journey and that was the day I realized the struggle, the hard work, the challenges are totally worthwhile. As someone who knows exactly what that girl was going through I am blessed that I was able to be of help to her.
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
“We don’t have this in your size, can you just hold and pose with our garment or ask someone else from your team to wear and share that pic.”
I need to keep reminding brands and designers that I am a blogger, the face of my brand, and not a hanger.
If not blogging, you would be?
Apart from being a blogger, I am also a content creator, fashion stylist and consultant. Blogging has given me an opportunity to combine all three and I love that.
A day in your life…
Mails, meetings, shoots, sourcing, research, writing and ideating.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Before starting your own blog do your research. Understand your strengths and build on that. Don’t follow the herd or do something that has already been done. Don’t hesitate to try out new things. Blogging gives you the freedom to push the envelope. Do that. Be open to all kinds of feedback and constantly keep evolving.
Your Favorite Influencer
Gabrielle Gregg (Gabi Fresh)
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
To grow and expand. I want to do more diverse content with regards to plus size fashion and body positivity. Create size-inclusive content that we don’t get to see in mainstream media. More focus on fashion styling and consultation. Brand building and strategy for startup brand and new designers, especially plus size ones. Recently, I have done a few public speaking events and I would like to do more of those as well.