A tastemaker, is one who sets the standards of what is currently popular or fashionable. Social media is an integral tool used by the fashion-forward. One Pierce student is ready to influence people with his sense of style. To do this effectively, it is imperative that he has a large number of Instagram followers.
Louis Polo, who also goes by the name Pedro, was always fascinated with fashion and began a journey that would allow him to express his individual style to the world a few years ago.
“I was a part of a blog with another person and my role was creating content based on fashion,” Polo said. “Eventually it didn’t work out because creating joint content was complicated, so a year ago I started my own project.”
That project would become his blog, louispolotv.us.
As with many new ventures, his start in lifestyle and fashion blogging started small but has now expanded to utilize newer methods to share his content with the use of Instagram.
“My followings [on Instagram] started growing and growing and I started developing an audience,” Polo said. “I was able to establish myself on Instagram and now I have over 40,000 followers.”
Fashion is big money. Americans spend about $250 billion annually according to a report in 2015 by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and popular fashion bloggers are able to profit from that industry according to Amy Roiland, CEO of FashionTap.
“You can make a lot of money as a blogger if you’re doing it right and monetizing correctly,” Roiland said.
Roiland’s start in fashion blogging isn’t dissimilar to Polo’s. Also known as AFashionNerd, Roiland was able to attain more than 50,000 followers on her Instagram account under the same name and monetize her brand when she founded and created FashionTap.
“I created FashionTap when I was working at an e-commerce site and I noticed a huge void in fashion and technology,” Roiland said. “FashionTap has an entire database of bloggers, photographers, models and designers in specific areas and you can search them out and work with them and we pay users 12 percent commission through tagged sales.”
Born in the Dominican Republic, Polo moved to New York with his mother when he was 12 and says that his life while growing up in the Dominican Republic was tough.
Known more for its export of professional baseball players than fashion forward people, things are starting to change with the help of the Internet connecting people who share an interest in fashion with Polo.
“Now there are tons of fashion bloggers in the Dominican Republic and it’s really developing,” Polo said. “Bloggers from the country have contacted me to work with them and they’re dedicated to creating more fashion content and I appreciate that.”
Though the Internet has helped connect people with like minds, there is a lot of competition, and social media is saturated with people trying to establish themselves as fashion bloggers that it’s becoming more difficult to stand out.
“I think it was a lot easier than it is now to gain a following and I was able to grow quickly because I was able to get sponsorship deals,” Roiland said. “Nowadays it’s really hard. The game is changing and there are a lot more bloggers that it’s kind of insane.”
But there’s a silver lining according to Roiland.
“If you’re a menswear blogger it is another story because they’re like the unicorn and it’s so hard to find them so when any of them come up and have good content, done. They will take over very fast and make a lot of money.”
Despite the challenges Polo may face with better establishing himself as a lifestyle and fashion blogger, Polo’s boyfriend Marlon Martinez has seen the hard work Polo has put into his craft.
“He’s always working on his blog, adding new videos and content to it on a regular basis,” Martinez said. “Pedro has been able to express himself, his style and his passion through this work.”
Martinez, who works in fashion design and has worked with companies like Calvin Klein, is hopeful about Polo’s blogging work ethic.
“He’s always coming up with new ideas all the time and I’m proud of the work he’s been doing.”
Some people may not be into fashion because they may feel uncomfortable expressing themselves sartorially, but Polo wants to be the person to break that shell by changing the general idea of what style ultimately is.
“It really is about how you wear it as opposed to what you’re wearing and to do that, you need to feel comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you can’t easily express yourself and expressing yourself, that’s style.”