This post is also available in: Italian
Adriana Gastélum aka Fake Leather is one of my favourite bloggers ever. I discovered her one year ago, and since then I am a huge fan. Her images have nothing to envy to the fashion magazines out there, and the copy that is accompanying them is what sets her blog apart from any other in my opinion. Adriana is very honest. I appreciated reading her piece on why she was not attending Fashion Week when she used to, and I believe this is the type of story we never hear enough from bloggers because they are too busy showing their glamorous lifestyle. Personal style blogs started to show what the girl next door is wearing but today it is far from this reality, so I find people like Adriana refreshing.
Speaking of her style, Adriana represents perfectly the working girl. She blogs while working full-time and her wardrobe is very representative of that girl who likes to dress well mixing and matching high and low. I think if you work and begin earning a decent amount of money, from time to time, you enjoy rewarding yourself with a designer piece. That is another reason why I wanted to interview her. Yes, her blog is beautiful and dreamy, but she is someone you can definitely relate to contrarily to some bloggers – she has created a platform for that girl I aspire to be and can actually be. I hope you will feel the same way reading this interview.
1.Can you introduce yourself and your blog?
My name is Adriana, and I’m a Mexican living in Barcelona, Spain. I’ve been blogging for a few years now. I started when Instagram didn’t even exist and making a living out of blogging was a crazy, almost inexistent concept.
- When and why did you start it?
I started Fake Leather in December 2010 because I was bored of my uni classes. I always wanted to study something fashion related, but my family didn’t allow it (something along the lines of “you cannot make a living out of fashion” was always the main reason). So, I studied Graphic Design which is my second passion but I wanted something more, so I opened Fake Leather as a space for myself and expected nothing but a few of my friends to read it.
- Did you start your blog back in Mexico?
Yes, I was just starting my second year in university as well.
- Did coming to Spain change the way you blogged?
Absolutely. Back in Mexico, the blogging scene was pretty small, in such a big country we could be counted on the fingers of one hand, so we didn’t compete that much. I used to post exclusively outfit posts with very little content, but when I moved to Europe, I realised there were much more bloggers than in Mexico hence a lot more competition. So I had to create and offer something unique to be taken into consideration both by readers and brands. An outfit post won’t just do it anymore.
- How would you describe the blogging scene in Spain?
Very competitive. I think it is due to two things: Spanish people aren’t as warm and welcoming as we are in Mexico/Latin America, so if they see a foreigner trying to snatch their followers away they feel a bit assaulted. The second reason is that Europe is a place with so many countries. As a consequence, the number of bloggers with different markets and goals is broader. Everybody is trying to give their best to be creative, original and honest at the same time, so it’s pretty competitive.
- You have a full-time job and blog at the same time, how do you manage both?
I schedule my time and work a lot. No real secret here, I just plan everything ahead, waste as little time as possible and some days I have to sacrifice a dinner or a party to create quality content.
- Have you ever thought of becoming a full-time blogger? If no, why?
Back in Mexico, I blogged full-time for two years, but I didn’t like it as much. You see, I’m a workaholic and have a lot of professional goals in mind, so I need to keep myself active to achieve them. Just blogging wasn’t a big challenge for me.
- All your collaboration posts are really well done, your writing and shootings are very editorial. Unlike some influencers, it feels like you are given total freedom with your creativity, does this mean you approach brands first?
Thanks a lot. While I’ve tried to approach brands by myself, I’ve learned that it’s best to wait for them to reach you. You might have a great idea, but sometimes the brand has no budget left for that semester. However, one of the biggest perks of bloggers (besides the free clothes) is when they give you almost total freedom of creativity because they need a personal voice. The truth is, most bloggers are given this creativity freedom from the first moment but because you’re your own boss, it is up to you if you want to do something simple and standard or take it to the next level. Few brands will limit your capacity, and when I get contacted by one of those, I rather pass the offer.
- A lot of influencers work with big names but looking at your blog; it feels like you are working with selected brands that are quite niche, can you tell us about collaborating with these brands? What do you find great about working with them?
Oh, I wanna work with big names, too (Hello, Chanel. I’m waiting). One of the things I like the most about my job is to introduce a new brand to my readers, especially those with designer quality at a very affordable price. At the end of the day, my readers are just like me. Girls next doors, having a normal life, making a living while trying to look good without breaking the bank. My selection process for working with a particular brand is quite simple: if I like the product and honestly believe it’s suitable for my readers, I work with them, whether they’re a small company from Singapour or a multinational from New York.
- Your followers always leave meaningful comments on your posts, why do you think it is still the case when more and more people are on social media?
I want to thank you for noticing as I’m very proud of my blog readers. While social media is indeed growing at a fast pace, it’s also getting more competitive and saturated that people on Instagram don’t even read captions and leave spammy-like comments to increase their engagement. Blogs, on the other hand, are very personal. On Fake Leather, I can express my thoughts in the most personal way, and readers who truly are there for the content can also express their feelings. That is why my blog is my most valuable platform, and I won’t let it die, unlike the trend indicates.
- Speaking of social media, what is your favourite platform and why?
I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. While I love how fast it is and the amount of inspiration you can find on it, I also hate the fact that everyone is hungry for big numbers, spiritless comments and how cat accounts receive more likes than a person creating something with years of experience and knowledge.
- What advice would you give to fellow bloggers when it comes to collaborations?
Always read the contract in detail. Don’t ever do/say anything you don’t feel comfortable with, and if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want to reject the offer, but the brand has strict conditions, propose new ideas to them. If a company is looking for you, it is because they want your unique voice and talent.
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