It’s 2015, if you hadn’t been paying attention. We’re living in the future; a disappointing version of the future, admittedly, for those of us who hoped that Back To The Future Part II was less a film and more a prophesy, but the future nonetheless. Instead of hover boards and Marty McFly, we have to put up with unworkable global austerity and murderous fanaticism. Worse, most of us have to actually work for a living, toiling away in supermarkets, offices and at the lonely end of MacBooks. Most of us, that is.
While the vast majority of us see work as a necessary and irritating distraction from the slow, inevitable march towards the sweet, sweet release of the grave, there are others out there who have managed to make earning a crust fun and, well…easy. While we scrabble about, dancing to the tune of the waddling, farting skittles that is the general public, there is an elite selection of geniuses who have cottoned onto the fact that all they need to make fabulous amounts of money is a fashion sense and an Instagram account. The most successful of Instagram models make thousands of dollars from promoting brands on their accounts, while their followers gaze on with a mixture of adoration and envy. Here, in this collection of punctuated words, we shall examine the careers of ten of the most successful examples. We can only praise the business sense of the models mentioned here as they have utilized their social media fame and made thousands from promoting brands, displaying a savvy that is equaled only by their style and looks. Lets meet our first fashionista.
10. Aimee Song
The proprietor of fashion and interior design blog Song of Style, Aimee Song once spoke of her regret of advertising designer’s wares for free once she realized how much money was involved in the industry. It was a mistake she would soon correct. Her blog is viewed by 72,000 readers and she has 950k followers on Instagram, meaning that when she is pictured wearing a certain outfit, that outfit sells out within a day. Such a high social media presence means that Song can charge around $50,000 per big-brand collaboration, easily putting her amongst the upper echelons of Instagram’s highest earners.
9. Danielle Bernstein
22 year-old Danielle Bernstein runs the massively popular fashion blog We Wore What, and has almost 1 million followers on her Instagram account. Her social media influence has led her to become one of the most recognizable and successful figures in the fashion industry, with famous brands such as Virgin Hotels and Lancome falling over themselves to pay the New Yorker premium fees to promote their brands on her account. It has been estimated that Danielle charges between $5,000 and $15,000 for a post promoting the brand she is photographed promoting, but this figure can rise according to the amount of props she gives the brand in question, or the length of time she spends advertising them. Bernstein can rake in a huge annual salary through such deals – “I hate talking about money, but let’s just say it’s more than I could have ever imagined as a 22-year-old. I fully support myself, and it’s in the mid-six figures” she has claimed.
8. Julie Sarinana
The Mexican-born LA resident Julia Sarinana, is a figurehead of the fashion industry in Southern California. A regular contributor to titles such as Vogue, Elle and Glamour, Sarinana also runs her own incredibly popular blog, Sincerely Jules, which is read by thousands daily. The fashion tips and latest brands that she documents are complimented by her Instagram account, which has 2.7 million followers and sees Sarinana promoting sponsored brands for a hefty fee; conservative estimates credit the blogger with a net worth of $150,000, but it is worth bearing in mind that bloggers and Instagrammers with Sarinana’s pull can easily earn between $70-100k per year in endorsement fees alone, so that figure may be radically higher.
7. Andreas Wijk
The 22-year old Swedish model and singer, Andreas Wijk is instantly recognizable to many Instagrammers. Unlike many other models mentioned in this article, Wijk doesn’t run his own fashion blog, instead concentrating on forging a burgeoning music career. However, his Instagram following is currently almost 150k, which not only makes him an important figure in the modelling world, but also drastically increases his earning potential. Instagram users with a following of above 100k and a consistently popular photo stream can find themselves in the same bracket as Wijk. According to networker Brian DiFeo, users in this category usually make between $5-10k per month through endorsements and sponsorships alone.
6. Wendy Nguyen
The Psychology graduate of UC Berkley, Wendy Nguyen has the distinction of being a social media phenomenon across several different platforms. Alongside Facebook and Twitter accounts with huge followings, she has also melted Youtube, with a video entitled 25 Ways To Wear A Scarf In 4.5 Minutes, being viewed 25 million times. Nguyen’s blog, Wendy’s Lookbook and Instagram accounts are also insanely popular, leading to many claiming Wendy to be one of the original and most powerful fashion bloggers. The popularity of her Instagram account has led to speculation that Nguyen, who has never stated her income, is likely to be amongst the elite band of fashion bloggers who earn upwards of $1 million per year.
5. Jane Aldridge
A then 16-year old, Jane Aldridge was brought to the world’s attention by none other than Kanye West in 2009. Her blog, Sea of Shoes, had just been featured in the pages of Teen Vogue and an impressed Kanye Tweeted a link to her page, a move that would begin to grow a readership that today stands at 400k. The petite redhead is reckoned to be amongst the top five fashion bloggers in the world with an Instagram following of 164k to boost her profile further. With such a huge reputation in the fashion world, the influential Texan is able to charge top dollar for sponsorships; her attorney is quoted as saying that Jane charges up to $20k for a personal appearance at an event and an average of $5k for a sponsored Instagram post.
4. Julia Engel
With 665k Instagram followers, Gal Meets Glam blogger Julia Engel, is one of the most recognizable models in this article. The San Franciscan was also one of the first fashion bloggers to utilize the shopping tool developed by Dallas networkers RewardStyle, named LIKEtoKNOW.it. When readers of Engel’s page ‘like’ a photo featuring an item she is wearing, the tool sends an email to the user with details of the item and a link to retail sites. Engel then gets paid commission on any sales made using this method. Added to her sponsorship and endorsement fees through her social media accounts and blogspace, Engel is reckoned to comfortably fit in the seven-figure income club amongst fashion Instagrammers.
3. Liz Eswein
While not strictly an Instagram model, Liz Eswein is possibly the most successful and influential Instagrammer to inhabit the ‘other’ side of the camera lens. Eswein, who only became interested in photography four years ago, now charges up to $15k for a single shot posted on her account. Her @newyorkcity handle, one of many she attained the rights to in the fledgling days of the network, has over 1.2 million followers, allowing Eswein to charge brands hoping to cash in on the popularity of the tag six-figure sums for 6-12 month engagements. By attracting brands such as Puma, Armani and Samsung, Eswein generated over $1 million in revenue in her first 18 months on the site.
2. Cara Delevigne
It isn’t just fashion bloggers who are utilizing the immense popularity of Instagram to earn themselves extra cash. Even established catwalk models and socialites, such as Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevigne have been known to charge firms to wear their product for single shots on Instagram. Cara, in particular is incredibly popular on the social network and has a following of over 20 million users. According to The Guardian newspaper, models with a following of over 10 million can expect to be able to earn $100k for a single shot that promotes a brand or item of clothing. It can also often be the case that users with this level of popularity charge a set fee per ‘like’ for a sponsored post, meaning that viral posts quickly become extremely lucrative.
1. Chiara Ferragni
Established when she was still a law student in Milan, Chiara Ferragni’s Blonde Salad fashion blog has seen her become one of the most influential personalities in the international fashion world. The blog has led to a diversification of business interests, such as her own footwear line, Instagram accounts and advertising partnerships, which has seen a growth in income which dwarfs that of most other bloggers in the industry; While the elite fashion bloggers and Instagrammers make over $1 million a year, Ferragni’s estimated income in recent years has been rumored to be as much as $8 million. Her Instagram account boasts 2.8 million followers and grows on an almost daily basis, meaning that the flood of income is unlikely to slow to a trickle anytime soon.