The first afternoon of an information- and action-packed FABB continued with a conversation between Eva Chen and the man she calls the “grandfather of blogging” and the "pioneer of fashion 2.0," BryanBoy. While he’s only 31, by his own admission, BryanBoy has been in the business for nine years, which does practically make him an elder. And since this was BryanBoy on stage for the Q&A, Eva Chen decided to go—gasp—"off script" for this one.
Actually, the talk wasn’t that crazy (unlike some of his awesomely legendary fashion week outfits), but he did share some interesting insights and tips with the eager-to-learn audience filled with ambitious bloggers and BryanBoy disciples. While Bryan strongly emphasized staying true to your own voice and your own beliefs and tastes, he admitted that he has actually evolved both stylistically and professionally over those nine looooong years.
"Obviously my style has changed," he explained. "Before I would wear all the crazy things to provoke people, but now I’ve been doing this for nine years. It’s time to grow up. I cannot dress like a clown going to the circus, you know?"
What he’s putting out there on a professional level has developed, too. After Eva asked him about any career regrets, he said he doesn’t have "regrets" per se, but maybe he should have self-censored a bit back in the day.
"Maybe I would have been more responsible with what I put out there," Bryan admitted. "When I started, there were pictures of me intoxicated and going to clubs and now looking back, I have readers who are 14 years old and 12 years old reading me, and now I’m more responsible with what I put out there."
"At the same time, I’m kind of torn because I get emails from people who are telling me, ‘Bryan, you’re so sanitized, you’re not as crazy as you were back then.’ My response is that, well, I’ve evolved as a person," he continued. "The blog is like a reflection of me, but it’s not me completely. I show people I’ve evolved as a human being, not just only with fashion things."
Since he’s been in the biz for so long, Bryan clearly has a finger on the pulse of what’s working and what doesn’t when it comes to the blogger realm. When an audience member asked Eva and Bryan if they had any pet peeves, both experts offered their words of advice instead.
Eva suggested good media training and on-camera interviewing skill development, since video is such a strong component of the online experience these days. Bryan’s suggestion was much simpler—don’t invest in business cards, spend the money on equipment that will help you build your blog. Plus, reach out to people through tagging in social media, etc.
His advice to aspiring bloggers looking to build an audience and a brand: "Link to everybody, that’s how you exchange traffic. It’s all about having a sense of community."
Despite his success, Bryan still remains a one-man machine, without an army of staffers or an assistant (although he said he’s going to hire one—but to help him with his life, not his work). Hey, he did it all on his own, so why mess with a good thing? Bryan also shared his secret to success by utilizing a very resourceful (and old school) strategy to grow his audience: late-night discussion forums. And really random ones.
"I remember back in the day, I would troll discussion forums—like straight forums, car forums," he explained. "I would post all my crazy outfit pictures. A year after I started. That’s why all my outfits back in the day were really crazy. I would buy a blonde wig from a store, I would ask a friend to push me in a wheelchair in a shopping mall, in my grandmother’s Chanel suit…and then, I would go to all these discussion boards in the middle of the night [and post the pictures] to troll traffic."
Well, hey, it worked, right? "Of course, I’m not going to do it ever again," he laughed.
This does, however beg the question: What or whom will Bryan dress up as for Halloween? (Because we seriously want someone to co-opt that wig-wheelchair-Chanel-granny-suit outfit—the visual is just too amazing.)
"Still working on it, I have different options," he told us after the Q&A. "I’m thinking of going as [bondage-outfit-wearing architect] Peter Marino because I’m obsessed with leather lately. I was thinking of doing a real, proper Anna. A proper one. I mean Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld are like the most popular Halloween costumes when it comes to fashion, but very few people pay attention to the detail. So now I’m going to get the nude criss-cross Manolo Blahniks, Oscar [de la Renta] shift dress, and maybe the jewels."
Funny he should say that, because we think that BryanBoy himself is also one of the most popular fashion-y Halloween costumes out there. So we had to find out which "vintage" BryanBoy outfit (since he’s evolved, remember?) should be the official BryanBoy Halloween costume.
"People have done this and sent me pictures!" he told us before thinking for a moment. "There’s an image of me wearing this massive Margiela fur hat. It’s like a big runway piece. I would love to see someone try to pull that off. Otherwise, trademark BryanBoy signatures are oversized sunglasses and bags, but for me to see somebody pull off a really huge fur piece, that would be [amazing]."
So there you go. Now where does one find a gigantic fur (real or faux) hat? We’re taking suggestions…