Fashion. Social Media. Tech. These three buzz words dominate pop culture. One of the most fascinating questions today is to ask how these three immense industries interact and what would our fashion-media-tech future look like? Alumna Yarina Yao (MA Fashion Journalism) is exploring this topic on her award-winning blog Tech Loves Style. With 23K followers on Instagram she is becoming an influencer within the segment. Fashion School Daily checked in with Yao to find out how she has managed to turn her passion into a fulltime job.
How did it start? Yao’s blogging and social media career really started with her MA Fashion Journalism final review project at the Academy which aspired “to lead the unordered development of the tech and luxury fashion/beauty industry into the right direction”. The resulting Tech Loves Style, with its provocative tagline “Excuse me, who said we are nerds?” won the Best Digital Magazine Award and $5,000 Weebly Fashion Journalism Scholarship in 2016.
However, Yao’s tech root was the day she got her Apple Watch. Intrigued by how much it could do, Yao saw a real potential in the crossover of the two worlds. “I just really love the combination of fashion and technology”, she says, “because tech makes style so much more fun than regular #OOTD”.
The fashion journalism program at the Academy equipped Yao with strong reporting skills and the Social Media Center courses taught her how to use social media effectively as a research and promotion tool. Yao claims she, “…didn’t even know about YouTube before enrolling (it is not available in China); shocking, but true.” Now she produces strong editorial content by going to the hottest tech fashion/beauty events, mingling with insiders and experts, and analyzing the market trends. She attributes her success to the greatest mentor of all, ‘hard work’. In fact, on average it takes her about 10 hours per day and most weekends to balance the roles of a blogger, marketer, photographer, and stylist, all-in-one. Add to that the brainstorming time – it’s a lot yet that’s how she has been able to achieve the status of “micro influencer” so quickly.
Every day Yao writes about tech breakthroughs and ideas that seemed too “futuristic” twenty years ago. That future is here as we are surrounded by pocket sized computers, hover boards, and even those self-lacing sneakers!
Yao believes that technology is the future of style. Although trending, the luxury and tech sectors are still largely disconnected due to differences in their consumer cultures. It is Yao’s goal to help bridge that gap. Within five years, she says that she would like to “develop [her] blog into an company that showcases [her] opinion, and launches fashion tech startups, too”.
Yao has five words for those who want to take on the fashion industry: “Do it and be special!”
Text by Justice McNeil, BA Fashion Journalism Alumna