Everyone's favourite minimalist style influencer, Brittany Bathgate, talks sustainable fashion, Instagram vs. blogs, and #gifts

She one of our favourite influencers with a wardrobe (and kitchen!) to die for, but Brittany Bathgate is so much more than that.

A real champion of the British high street, the Norwich-based writer has garnered a reputation as one of the most transparent and honest, and therefore interesting, people to be making a living from the social media platform.

She talks openly with GLAMOUR UK about the concept of #ads and #gifting, while acknowledging the high street’s sustainable capability…

Q Talk us through the way that your career took off – did the blog come first and Instagram follow, or the other way around?

A Surprisingly, Instagram came first for me. I’ve kind of done it the ‘wrong’ way round I guess. I started sharing outfit pictures on Instagram almost five years ago now and as the traction grew the blog happened as a natural extension of my Instagram.

Q You seem to have nailed high/low dressing, and you’re a huge champion of the high street, which is so refreshing in a world of hugely-wealthy influencers with unattainable wardrobes. How do you balance that while keeping conscious of fast fashion and sustainability within the industry?

A There’s such a stigma around the high street at the moment which has created this big misconception that if you’re shopping on the high street then you’re not consuming consciously and you’re supporting the fast fashion chain, which to some extent is true, but we don’t have to boycott the high street entirely. If we change our habits towards shopping on the high street, we can still stay conscious. Look for the transparent brands, the ones that are happy to share where the garments were made and who by. I love shopping at Arket for this reason! I also think slowing down is critical; we tend to associate the high street with throwaway clothing, but I shop the high street in a similar way when I shop designer. I stay clear of the trendier pieces because I’m looking for longevity, items that are built to last in your wardrobe. I’m always promoting the practice of re-wearing and restyling our high street pieces to highlight that if you buy the right thing, it will keep going.

Q You recently wrote a brilliant blog post on the CMA’s new influencer guidelines and your conflicted views about not so much the rules but the industry’s reaction to them. Could you possibly explain your thoughts for those who haven’t yet read your post?

A The whole blogging and Instagram community was up in arms earlier this year when the CMA cracked down on how influencers disclaimed adverts and gifted products. It generated a lot of conversation about what constitutes being labelled as an ‘ad’ and what doesn’t. I wasn’t too phased by it; the guidelines were set in place to protect the consumer simple as that. I sympathise entirely with the CMA’s need to do this. What I was more interested was the aftermath and how it made followers feel to see how many freebies are dished out to influencers. Although I fall into the ‘influencer’ category I still use recreationally, I still consume the content and feel influenced by it so was a real eye-opener to witness the amount of gifting going on and how reluctant some people were to be transparent around it. I wrote the blog post to generate a conversation around it because I think it’s really interesting and dicey subject that hasn’t been touched on a great deal yet.

Q As a result, you’re very transparent about what’s a gifted item from a brand and what you’ve bought yourself. Do you ever worry that, as your following grows and you’re gifted more pieces, your content may feel less authentic and therefore your followers will become less engaged?

A As my following grows, yes the gifting opportunities grow simultaneously, but at the end of the day I still have total control over what I say yes and no to. Followers are probably sick of influencers saying this, but I will only accept gifted pieces if it’s something I genuinely like. People don’t come to me to see the same thing we see day in day out on Instagram; they come to me to find something different. Whether it’s a new brand or a styling technique they hadn’t thought of, I have built trust with my audience, and they would instantly be able to recognise something that isn’t quite right or something I don’t honestly believe it. So no, I don’t particularly worry about it, everything I do, I do authentically.

Q Your followers love your aesthetic for its chic, fresh and un-fussy feel. If anyone was struggling to create a similarly simple yet effective wardrobe what would your top tips be?

A This is a tough one because I myself don’t have any tips that I generally practice. My aesthetic is un-fussy by nature, but something I do like to do that helps clarify my look, or what I want to buy is create mood boards. A mood board is especially helpful when the seasons change and you’re inundated with ‘newness’. I either use the saved section on my Instagram or Pinterest to gather images of the woman I want to be that season, so to speak. It’s a great way to identify key pieces you’d like in your wardrobe and also helps reinvent pieces you currently own.

Q And finally, what does a typical working ‘day in the life’ of Brittany Bathgate look like?

A Being self employed is quite the ride. No day is the same and as much as I try and have a typical day or week I never know what’s around the corner. When I know I have a solid week at home though, I like to start my ideal day with a class at the gym; I’ll then spend a solid hour or so replying to emails before thinking about what type of content I’d like to create that day. A lot of my images are shot at home using self-timer, so many afternoons are spent rearranging things and running back and forth from my tripod. I usually like to have everything wrapped up, edited and posted by 6 pm. Then I like to put my phone away and settle down for the evening with my boyfriend. I wish my day sounded more glamorous!

Visit Brittany’s blog to read more about your new favourite influencer…


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