Chanté deLong is a New York fashion blogger and Brooklyn resident. Stephan Creifelds spoke to her about her blog Hey Hey Chanté, what motivates and inspires her and what’s next in street fashion blogging.
Stephan: I’ve followed your blog and your website and I think that you are doing a really good job. My first question is about you. Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and your motivation why you do the blog?
Chanté: I dropped out of school and following that I had a really messy breakup with someone I was dating at the time. So I was doing absolutely nothing with my life and I wanted to find a way to help other people, promote them. But not like a party promoter, just to support my friends and I felt the best way for me to support my friends was to create this blog.
Stephan: Friends in fashion?
Chanté: Yeah, I have a lot of designer friends. But when I first I started I had certain things to talk about, whatever I liked. It was like a fashion scrap book; I talked about art and music and keep it as varied as possible.
Stephan: That was actually my second question. Is it more like lifestyle blog?
Chanté: Yeah, it’s definitely lifestyle. I know a lot of bloggers who like to blog about their personal life like “Today I’m doing this…” I don’t do that. I might start doing that soon, but I feel that I have to build more of an audience to have that kind of “Hey girlfriend” relationship. But yes, it’s a lifestyle blog and I post things I find interesting, people who I think have great style, whatever trend I think is cool. It’s more my vision of fashion than what’s going on in Milan or Paris; the high fashion stuff. I try to avoid that. My blog is street fashion.
Stephan: What about “Hey Hey Chanté”, it’s a very catchy name? It sounds like a song. Is that deliberate?
Chanté: I don’t even know if I came up with that…
Stephan: It’s a good name.
Chanté: Yes, it’s cute.
Stephan: How often do you blog? Do you have a schedule or certain days of the week?
Chanté: I try to blog Monday thru Friday. I try to find editorials to post and keep my Male Mondays constant.
Stephan: Your Male Mondays are a continuous feature.
Chanté: Yeah, I had other features but it not as consistent like the Male Mondays. I do Trending Tuesdays. I had a Wish List Wednesdays, especially during the summertime. Because I think there is a lot more clothing to choose from in the summertime, cause you can see it more. In the winter you have all these layers, so you can’t really show pieces… but I try to keep it as current as possible.
Stephan: Did you ever find out what day you get the most responses?
Chanté: I think it is my Male Monday posts because they focus on street wear and it’s a more broadened approach, but also the audience is a lot wider than when I talked about Michelle Obama or some singer. I think I get more views on the Male Mondays because it’s specifically street wear and a lot of my friends are into street wear. Plus, I feel that’s a really big trend right now and people want to stay current with street wear.
Stephan: Do you find it difficult to stay current with street wear?
Chanté: No, I don’t find it difficult at all. I am constantly on the street wear blogs and they post every day, 24/7, constantly updating. I just look at them and I pick and choose whatever I find interesting. And then a lot of my designer friends do street wear; like ‘skateboard wear/graffiti art’ type of clothing. They’re into that gritty urban look.
Stephan: Who is your target audience? Male Mondays obviously targets men, but I have seen a lot of girls on your blog as well. Is there a certain age-, gender- or city bias?
Chanté: I guess it would be New Yorker, but my blog is really for me and I think it shows. It’s kind of selfish but I don’t try to target anybody like “Today I’m gonna talk to teenagers…” It’s for whoever comes along. I mean for the most part, it’s for friends.
Stephan: What is your motivation for blogging? To pick up trends, disseminate trends or blog for friends? Or more like a billboard for your friends?
Chanté: Yes, that is precisely my motivation for blogging. My motivation for blogging was knowing so many talented underground people and wanting to put them out there in the world. Having artists, you know like painters, that people don’t really know about and trying to introduce them to others that wouldn’t get a chance to meet them or see their work. The same with designers, it’s like trying to form two worlds that haven’t been together. A lot of my posts are on Facebook and a lot of my Facebook friends know blogging but they don’t understand the entire world of blogging. It’s a very large world and people don’t really know a lot about it unless they’re in it. If you are a blogger, you know about blogging, but if you are not, you have no idea. So again, I try to bring one world to another. If people don’t know about art, I try to introduce them to new forms of art. If they don’t know about certain types of music, I try to show them different types; It’s all for exposure, knowledge, and growth.
Stephan: What would you say is the most important ingredient of your blog? I have seen a lot of photos and not so much text. What about videos? How do you compile your blog posts? Are you very visual first of all? I mean it’s about fashion so it’s self-explanatory I guess.
Chanté: It is very visual but it depends on the post. If I do a feature, it is much more focused on the person rather than the pictures; what the person is talking about, how they talk about their art, etc. So it definitely depends on what the post is. For a basic post, it’s me like “Hey look at these cool pictures!” but then again if I am more engulfed in the situation, like if it’s an art exhibit, there are a lot more words going on. When I am transcribing interviews and I want people to get the genuine person, know who they are and kind of understand where they’re coming from.
Stephan: When you write how would you define your style? Is there certain kind of guidelines you adhere to? Or whatever comes into your head? You hear a lot of bloggers saying that content is king and you should follow certain rules. There are a lot of guidelines out there. Do you do this or follow your own instinct?
Chanté: I always follow my own instinct. That’s kind of what I like about my blog. But I mean there are a lot of blogs that a style kind of like mine. The thing about blogging, the Internet, and even society nowadays is people don’t focus on the same guidelines for writing as they did previously. You know people speak very freely. They say what they want. So that’s kind of what I do, I try not to limit myself.
Stephan: Do you think you belong to a generation that sets the guidelines maybe the next generation? Blogging is still very experimental.
Chanté: I do think so. Everywhere I go and whoever I talk to, I promote blogging.
Chanté: I just tell people I blog. I am a writer, so I write all the time and I always try to tell people to express themselves. It’s always good to express yourself when you have an audience that can hear your voice and listens to your voice. I won’t to say I lead my generation, but just by writing my blog I hope to inspire people like “Chanté’s doing this kind of thing, maybe I should try something else too!”
Stephan: Who does inspire you? Is there is lifestyle- or fashion blog that is very influential on your writing?
Chanté: Yes, there is this one blog called Style Me Grasie. I don’t recall how I discovered her but I fell in love with her blog, it’s just so cute and she is really, really relatable and her outfits are amazing. I get a lot of style tips from her. I had problems piecing things together, so I would see how she styled certain outfits and things. She does videos as well, so her blog is really diverse and I actually got my Male Mondays from her.
Stephan: Is she from New York?
Chanté: Yes, she went to NYU for a while and studied journalism there and now she is works for companies like MTV, hosting. She is an actress as well. So she is really inspiring and I’m always on her blog, like every day. Seeing what she’s talking about and what’s going on in her life. She is definitely a blogger/ journalist/actress.
Stephan: If you could feature anybody on your blog and you could take photographs and write about, who would that be? For example Michelle Obama etc.
Chanté: Like a celebrity?
Chanté: That’s a really hard question… This is really, really sad, but I think it would probably be Miley Cyrus. I mean I would love to interview Michelle Obama but I’m into huge on politics. But I would like to have Miley Cyrus. She had this show on Disney Channel and it was about her being this wacky hillbilly who is a famous singer at night and during the day she’s just a regular teenage girl. It is very campy, but now she has this crazy haircut and she’s getting married. She’s done a total 180º, she’s totally different person now. I would wanna have her because even though she used to do country music, she’s not even doing that anymore. She just started working with this producer Pharrell, who is a predominately hip-hop artist. So she’s changing up her sound and her look… I would just take some pictures of her, ask her where she goes shopping, how she revamped herself and what brought about that. So yes, it would be her.
Stephan: You’ve got a blog and you’ve got a Facebook page. What is the relationship? Is one thing more important? Do you automatically feed from your blog and push it out to the Facebook page?
Chanté: My Facebook page is basically a connection to my blog. I don’t really write status updates on the ‘hey hey chanté’ Facebook page. I probably should. I am trying to develop more as a fashion blogger, incorporating more videos and what not. I used to do that a lot when I first started the blog. But I was also in college. When you’re doing schoolwork, and you have to do all this research, it’s much easier to put that format on your blog. I used to do a lot of research, like how much things cost, how to find them. And then the busier you get outside of school, the less time you can spend on research. But I am trying to go back to that and since is getting warmer, there will be a lot more outfit posts.
Stephan: What is more important to you? The blog or the Facebook page?
Chanté: The blog is definitely more important. The Facebook page just supports the blog. Whatever is on ‘hey hey chanté’ is on the page. All my posts go directly to my Facebook page.
Stephan: What about other social channels? Are you planning to go on other ones?
Chanté: I am on Pinterest and Bloglovin’. Bloglovin’ is basically a collection of all the blogs you go on and all on one website. They have a newsfeed. It’s like Facebook. Instead of seeing all your friends’ status updates, you see all your favorite blog updates. So it makes reading blogs much easier.
Stephan: What about Youtube? Did you consider that?
Chanté: Yes, I am interested in doing some video stuff with outfits and How-To’s. I wholeheartedly believe in progression and development and like to start small so that way I can have something to grow into. I am going to ease into that slowly so you can see how the blog has developed over time. I don’t want to throw everything at people and then after a while it like “So, what’s next?” I’d rather grow into that and take my time.
Stephan: What is next for your blog?
Chanté: Definitely videos, a lot more outfit posts, features, interviewing people, music events, art exhibits – everything and maybe I’ll even post on weekends.
Stephan: A lot more features like Male Monday?
Chanté: There is this feature I am trying to do, it is “Street Stylin’”; its just pictures of really cool people in outfits out on the street. But basically I want to do actual features on people in music, art, and design.
Stephan: Do you also monitor the analytics of your blog? How people interact with your posts and does that influence your decision what to post?
Chanté: Nothing I’ve done has been not so popular. I think the things people don’t visit so much is probably the editorials. For example if Rhianna was in Vogue and I’d show all the pictures from that, that would not be so popular as Male Mondays or if I did the Urban Outfitters new spring catalogue. Yes, that would get less views. People definitely like things that they have been around, so like Urban Outfitters, they are used to that. Or Male Mondays where you have certain lines like Vans or Supreme or all these different clothing lines. People like to stay up to date with their clothing lines.
Stephan: Do you think people cannot relate to these people? Are they too far removed?
Chanté: Perhaps. I think it does come from not being able to relate. I mean it’s like “Those are nice pictures but what now?” Whereas if you see the clothing you think I totally can buy that shirt. But with Michelle Obama in the Jason Wu dress, you cannot afford the Wu dress. Michelle looks great but I still cannot afford that. So they are like “OK, that’s a nice picture but that’s it”. I think people like clothing lines they’ve been with a lot more. You know celebrities – everybody loves their Rhianna or their Beyoncé. But my biggest posts are always if I go to an art exhibit or if I interview people.
Stephan: Can you give any tips from your own experience anybody who wants to be a blogger? Anything you’d say I wish I had known that before?
Chanté: My best advice is to be consistent. And try to make all your posts in one day if you are lazy like me. That way you can post it all later. That makes it easier to blog Monday to Friday.
More Chanté on: