Fashion bloggers these days are a dime a dozen, so it’s always interesting to meet the ones that have been doing it way before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.
Los Angeles based Rumi Neely is one of the originals. The California native studied political science in San Diego but was more interested in sourcing vintage clothes from the city’s thrift shops. After running a successful vintage store on eBay she decided to launch her own blog in 2007, inspired in part by the Scandinavian style blogs and their easy-to-digest outfit posts.
Since then Rumi has become a fashion icon in her own right, collaborating with a host of brands on design projects and the like. Her blog gets over one million visitors a month.
She was recently in Hong Kong where she curated her own travel wardrobe for retailer I.T mixing items from their stable of edgy brands like Comme des Garcons with in-house labels like Izzue. I managed to grab her for a quick lunch to find about how blogging as evolved and her favourite fashion must-haves.
Why did you decide to launch your own blog?
When I started out, blogging wasn’t exactly a career. There were only a few people doing it like Susie Bubble, Scott Schuman and Bryan Boy. I launched Fashion Toast because no one that I knew in real life cared about fashion the same way I did, and I couldn’t express my love for it socially.
How has the industry changed since 2007?
Back then it was so difficult to get people to work with bloggers – it was considered a bold move. Now it’s so normal and accepted. How you blog today has changed drastically in terms of how people want to process content from you. Thanks to instagram you can see things at an even faster speed and it’s important to develop different content. At the same time instagram is becoming a big channel in itself. It’s all about being able to use these tools in the right way to talk to your readers
Ok we have to ask – what did you think of Suzy Menkes’ controversial peacocking article?
Honestly it didn’t bother me as I am not one of those people that goes to shows and dresses up to make a statement. I am not going to layer 10,000 things just to get attention from someone. But it doesn’t make sense to say that bloggers are the only guilty ones – it’s the whole industry. Everyone is involved in that, blogger or editor.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s a marriage of Venice Beach, Paris and Tokyo smooshed together. It’s minimal and casual but very easy. I don’t want to overthink what I wear.
What item in your wardrobe are you currently obsessed with?
These chunky Marni brogues I got a few weeks ago. I love shoes on steroids. And it kinda looks like a penny loafer.
Personal style icon?
Gaia Repossi. She always looks like herself but she always evolves slightly. She does the storm trooper, butch-chic thing so well.
Jonathan Simkhai. His designs are really clean and fresh, and sexy without being gross or obvious.
What are you hoping to achieve with the blog moving forward?
Expanding and creating an empire is a path that makes sense at this point. I have a sunglasses collaboration with Sunday Somewhere coming up but I would love to design my own range of products. As for the blog, I hope my main message is to inspire people to embrace their own unique vision and style. I never started the blog for people to copy me. This is how I found myself and what I like.
Best style advice for your readers?
Don’t be too literal when it comes to following trends. You should always feel comfortable as that makes you look confident. Also always experiment – it’s good to change things up.
Visit Rumi’s blog on www.fashiontoast.com