Bethan is a recent addition to the fashion blogging world, and SUBCULTURED caught up with her to ask about starting her blog, pushing herself to write those first few posts, and student life in London. Her blog, Week of Wonders covers not just fashion, but beauty, travel and more.
Can you give a brief description of what your blog is about and the kinds of things that you post?
My blog is basically an online diary/scrapbook where I document anything that interests me. I’ve always loved clothes and makeup and developing my personal style so I guess it fits into the traditional ‘fashion blog’ category, but I aim to develop it beyond that. You can expect outfit posts and product reviews but I also try to include more personal posts dealing with issues that affect me and others like me. There’s a lot of falsely constructed perfection in blogging and social media in general, and I’d like to contribute something more ‘real’.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I’ve read blogs since I was about fifteen and actually set up this blog around that time, but never got round to posting on it. Back then I was really interested in high fashion, and had the dream that I’m sure every girl has at some point, to work at Vogue. Blogs were a way for me to see the ‘secret’ side of the fashion industry, like behind the scenes at fashion shows, which you might not usually see in magazines.
This time around, I was attracted more to the fact that a blog would provide me with my own personal space to share whatever I wanted online. I’ve always loved any kind of writing, but it’s nice to have somewhere I can publish more personal or fun things, as opposed to the academic writing of uni. Obviously I still love fashion, but now I prefer to focus on my own style and discover sources of inspiration, rather than follow the trends set by designers.
How did you push yourself to write and publish those first few posts?
I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my own work so for a while I didn’t share anything I posted publicly, because I didn’t want anybody to see something that I wasn’t 100% happy with. Eventually I got over myself and realised that nobody else would actually be that critical of what a random 20-year-old was writing on her blog. I think it’s better when starting out to approach everything as more experimental, which reflects back to the idea of creating something more realistic too. If I look awkward in a photo it’s fine because I’m not a professional model, my photos aren’t perfect magazine quality because I’m a student who can’t afford a £2000 camera. Eventually it gets to the point where you know it’s almost impossible to capture an idea exactly as it is in your head, and that you can’t improve unless you actually make a start.
Is there a general theme to your blog other than fashion?
I don’t want my blog to fit into too much of a rigid theme so I’ve tried to keep the actual design of it quite simple. When you have full control over the entire look of a website it can be easy to go overboard with colours and pictures and different widgets etc. but I think too much of that a lot of the time distracts from the content. A really fancy blog design is all well and good but that isn’t what’s going to make people come back and read it time and time again.
What subject do you study at uni and where do you study?
I’m going into my third year studying History of Art at Goldsmiths, which is in South East London.
Do you find studying History of Art helps to inspire what you blog about or the other way round?
I wouldn’t say they directly inspire each other, but I think studying anything creative, whether practically or theoretically, makes you naturally tuned into the smaller details that make up the bigger picture of something. It would probably be more accurate to say I study Visual Culture in general rather than Art History, because the material we look at ranges from art in the traditional sense to TV, film, theatre, music and everything in between. I think because we study such a massive variety of stuff, you eventually start to see the links between them, like how certain artists and art styles have referenced each other throughout history. This mass of visual material and information can then help inspire your own ideas at a deeper level, beyond the basic concept of something like an outfit looking either good or bad.
Is it hard balancing blogging with uni life?
It’s as hard as you want it to be, in the sense that if you really want to do something, you’ll make the time to do it. Bare in mind though, that I say that as someone doing a classically low-in-actual-teaching-hours humanities course, so I do actually have a bit of free time, whereas people doing more intense courses like medicine may not. If you do happen to have a particularly busy time with deadlines or exams etc. though, I do think it’s good to take a break from blogging to concentrate on it or at least lessen the time you spend on it. You’re paying way too much for your education so you may as well get the best out of it.
What are the best bits about student life in London? What do you find hard about living in London?
The best bit is just the sheer amount of things to do here. I’m lucky with where I live because it’s fairly easy to travel to most parts of the city, and you can go to any random place and just walk around and stumble upon an interesting shop or café or sight. Obviously for me studying History of Art, the cultural stuff is great too. I think a lot of the time we take it for granted that most of the main museums and galleries here are free entry, but also so many smaller independent galleries are too, and they tend to offer something a bit more unique and interesting than what you see in the Tate Modern. The worst bit for me is the obvious one; how expensive it is just to live here. I don’t think I’ll be able to afford it once I’m no longer a student, so I’m trying to make the most of it now. Also there are way too many Prets.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? Does your blog relate to this?
The further I get through uni, the more jobs I discover that I would like to do. I definitely want to work in some kind of creative industry though. I love writing so maybe something to do with that, and I’m currently trying to think up ways that will let me work for myself. I’d love to be able to organise arts and creativity based events like talks and workshops outside of London. A lot creative of industries are often way too London-centric, so you’re missing out if you live elsewhere, especially if you’re young and don’t have the means to travel. I think blogging definitely contributes towards what I want to do, as it allows me to have complete creative control over something, and develops my writing skills and ability to come up with new and creative ideas. A blog is a good way to get your name out there for whatever you want to do, it basically acts as a place you can direct people to that shows them what you’re about, what you’re interested in, and what makes you individual.
Tell us a bit about your style, the kind of things you wear, or you don’t, where you shop from, any influences etc.
I find it really hard to describe my style because honestly it’s a complete mish-mash. I’m going to say it’s ‘eclectic’ because that makes me sound fancier. I think the fact that I’m not snobby about fashion at all contributes to that a lot, because it means I’ll buy clothes from absolutely anywhere. I’m also not really ruled by fear when it comes to shopping; if I see something I like, I’ll try it on and buy it if it looks cute. You don’t have to commit to one exact style. My favourite high street shop is Topshop because they are yet to fail me, and I like vintage stuff but buy most of it from charity shops because vintage stores can be really expensive. I also seem to bulk buy stuff from American Apparel when they have sales, because everything goes from overly expensive to dirt cheap. I always wear comfortable shoes because it would be stupid not to in London, I wear trainers or Dr. Martens 90% of the time. People I think dress very well are Florence Welch, Chloe Sevigny, Jemima Kirke and Lorde.
What tips would you give to anyone who also wanted to start a blog?
Just do it! All you need in the beginning is a Blogger or WordPress account (which are both free), a computer (which you definitely have) and a camera (the one on your phone is fine for now). It’s a lot better to just start creating things and putting them out there in a more trial-and-error experimental way, than trying to perfect something from the start and never meeting your expectations. Also, you definitely shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t have many readers or followers; blogging is massively over-saturated which is both a blessing and a curse. Of course you want readers but it will take a while to find and develop an audience. Sharing your blog on other social media is usually a good way to do it. Your small initial audience means there’s less people to see your inevitable initial mistakes, so it’s best to look at it that way.
Can you recommend some cool places to go in London that are student friendly (price range)??
Any of the free museums and galleries as I mentioned before. The V&A is great and you could stay there for a whole day. For cheap food, there are street-food markets everywhere now that are usually reasonably priced and far more interesting than any chain restaurants. Peckham is good for nights out. Brick Lane has loads of cool vintage shops, but East End Thrift Store near Whitechapel is dirt cheap if you don’t mind rummaging.
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