Navaz Batliwalla is the Top 10 Fashion Blogger behind Disneyrollergirl. Launched in 2007 while Navaz was working as fashion director at CosmoGirl!, Disneyrollergirl is the go-to platform for insights on the fashion world, through the eyes of an industry insider. We spoke to Navaz about London Fashion Week, fashion trends, collaborations with brands and all the wonderful blogs she reads.
How would you describe your blog?
Disneyrollergirl hasn’t changed that much since I started it ten years ago. It’s still a place to share my informed opinion on goings-on in the fashion, beauty, media and retail industries. I also publish original fashion editorials, films and shopping pages, sometimes in collaboration with selected brands. What’s changed is the community.
I have a great community of likeminded enthusiasts across several platforms so rather than considering just the blog, Disneyrollergirl extends cross-platform to offline including, recently, a style book. I try to keep my focus on the brands that speak to me on a personal level but I’m very interested in emerging movements and product categories. Currently that includes the rise of affordable fine jewellery, non-gendered beauty, positive fashion, re-commerce and niche fragrance.
Why did you start your blog?
I was working full time as fashion director of CosmoGIRL! in 2007 and simply fell in love with this new, immediate and opinionated way of speaking to likeminded fashion enthusiasts. I had a background working with online communities since contributing to Handbag.com as far back as 1999. In this case I liked the rawness of uploading content in real time and having a direct dialogue with readers.
What are the latest fashion trends we should be aware of?
There is a big growth in women buying luxury jewellery and watches for themselves. It’s no longer just the husbands buying for their wives. So the designers doing well are those creating simple, beautifully-made pieces that are adaptable, that can work from day through to night and can be worn as a signature piece, even if it’s understated.
How does London Fashion Week fit in with your blog?
I attend LFW mainly as part of my freelance work as a fashion writer and editorial consultant. And then I’m happy to support my favourite designers on my platforms as well as keeping my readers up to date on trends. LFW content can be industry news, it can be catwalk highlights (from my personal point of view), consumer-based news (see now, buy now or buying a beauty look straight from the show), or tech innovation such as shoppable social media. I will go to events to support PRs and meet clients but I don’t cover parties or celebs on the site.
What’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ in fashion?
Currently I feel like there’s a real sense of product and content fatigue. I think we’ve all over-consumed so people want a breather. So there’s an interest in slow, considerate fashion, buying things to keep long term, an appreciation of handmade craft or ‘circular fashion’ – i.e. having frequent clearouts via eBay, Depop, Grailed or Vestiaire Collective. Arket will be an interesting business to watch as it’s based around building a wardrobe, not chasing trends.
Content-wise, the ubiquity of social media has caused the downfall of many legacy print magazines. They adopted the same mediocre tone of voice and forfeited their point of view in the process unfortunately. Niche magazines have stepped into that ‘meaningful’ space and are disrupting the traditional magazine market. I imagine a similar thing could happen with blogs and influencers.
Consumers are getting bored of glorified salespeople who don’t seem to have any other interests and the algorithmic changes of popular social platforms has caused disillusion among users.
What makes your blog successful?
I measure success by creative fulfilment and I get that by doing work that interests me. I work to build relationships with brands and PRs that have the right fit to gain access that my readers wouldn’t get otherwise. If you focus on producing editorial that has meaning to you and your readers, rather than successive sponsored posts, then you win the long term game. It hasn’t been smooth by any means but I’m still enjoying it and I’m still here!
How do you like to work with PRs?
I’m a fan of the targeted approach. I like to get to know PRs and their brands over the long term so that there is a mutual understanding. I’m happy to give pure editorial if I’m genuinely passionate about a story. I’m also happy for PRs to send me general info/press releases etc. if it’s a brand/product/category I’ve expressed interest in. I hate being added to generic mailing lists and I instantly unsubscribe! I’m not a fan of being sent unsolicited product – that’s unnecessary and wasteful. The dream is to be asked to collaborate on a multi-platform project that’s well researched with ample time to deliver quality content. However, I’m equally very used to last minute briefs!
What collaborations are you proud of?
I love the series of Petit Dejeuner shoots and films I have made with filmmaker and photographer Emma Miranda Moore. They celebrate new beginnings and reinvention or interesting morning routines and can be stills shoots or short films. I’m also very proud of my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman, published last year by Laurence King Publishing. I worked with the PRs of my favourite heritage and luxury brands to profile the modern considerate consumer and her approach to style, work and lifestyle.
What one thing should PRs know about you?
I’m very much a behind the scenes kind of person and I like the get to the root of a story. So I’m happiest sharing the story of an amazing designer, collection or start-up through words and images, rather than taking outfit pictures of myself.
What other blogs do you read?
Glossy.co and The Fashion Law for business insights; Keep It Chic, The Women’s Room Blog and That’s Not My Age for grown up style; Coco’s Tea Party, The Very Simon G and Fashion Foie Gras to keep up with my mates; The Anna Edit and The Lifestyle Edit (not strictly a blog) for life stuff; British Beauty Blogger and Into The Gloss for beauty intel and Style Bubble, What Olivia Did and Peony Lim for eye candy.
Navaz Batliwalla features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.