A bunch of my gorgeous blogger friends this summer.

Alex Loves is 1. Just a baby still, but so much has happened in a year of blogging! It started as a little hobby, now it’s a full blown obsession, a lifestyle, a career. There have been as many ups as there have been downs this year, and I’d like to take the opportunity to take a look back at one of the best years of my life.

It all started a year ago today, after a period of not-so-successful jobhunting and boredom I decided to go full time as a freelancer. I was already working quite a bit for Belgian clients, but I wanted to get my name out in the UK. I wanted a nice portfolio website to add to my CV, but didn’t think www.alexandravanthournout.com was a very catchy name. I sat down and thought about it for a bit with my friend and decided on Alex Loves, simple and catchy.

I taught myself basic HTML and CSS in a week, so I could get the website I wanted, played around with fonts in Photoshop, and bam – my logo was made. A week later, www.alexloves.com was up and running, but rather than being the portfolio I’d wanted, it had already turned it into a blog. I cheekily imported some of the content of an older blog, and off it went!

With about 5 readers a day, I struggled to find what I wanted to write about, was it a fashion blog? Was it a design blog? Was it art? Was it going to be personal or not? I just kept going, and somewhere along the way, I found my voice and my stride and things quickly took off from there. I remember the first time I hit 100 readers, I had a little celebration. Now I usually have more than that before I wake up, but it still is something I can’t quite believe. Below is a month-by-month overview with some highlights of my first year as a “blogger”, hopefully the first of many to come!

December 2009

Clearly not sure where I wanted this to go, it started off with short little posts, mostly of things I was lusting after, there was a lot of design and a couple of cute little shopping collages, which I should really start doing more often.

January 2010

There first ever appearance on the blog, wearing the Alexander McQueen reptile shoes. I’d never really planned to get my face out there, and it is still something very rarely do. I’m a pretty average looking girl, a little too curvy, a little too short and as I work from home, usually quite a slob – not exactly a style icon! Taking the decision to get out there took more than a little encouragement, but my readers liked knowing who was writing, so I took the leap.

Also in January, the first of about a hundred posts on Erdem and Chanel. Yes, I’m obsessed, but I don’t care.

February 2010

It was a very busy month with a trip to New York, my 6th London Fashion Week, but my first as a “blogger” and the sad death of Alexander McQueen. Sometime during that month, I was probably infected with my Bloginitis (if you are a blogger, you’ll know this): suddenly, everything from shopping to going to the park to going to dinner with friends becomes a blogging opportunity. A camera is pretty much permanently attached to your hand and outfits are always thought out carefully, in case they end up online. People with Bloginitis often travel in packs of fellow sufferers and you’ll mostly find them in ‘visually pleasing’ environments.

Yep, in February, I became a Blogger with a capital B.

Louise Gray presentation

March 2010

In March I started focusing on putting up original material up on the blog, rather than just repeating stuff that could already be found on the web. It meant a little less frequent posts, but more in depth ones. There was lots more Fashion Week coverage, a lot of Erdem love, my cousin’s Chanel Tattoo cast, had my first ever Alex Meets… interviews, with Christophe Coppens and Edward Finney.

Oh, and an event with Kelly Brook.

Christophe Coppens

April 2010

Proenza Schouler cakes, Viktor and Rolf dolls and lots of appearances of myself, with a post on round sunglasses and the British Designers Collective at Bicester Village. Fashion Editor at Large names me one of their favourite new blogs, and Alex Loves is ranked 13th in a list of 100 best blogs for fashion students. As things are starting to pick up, I start getting invites to events and showrooms, which allows me to discover a lot of young talent.

May 2010

Lots of posts on press days, about 10 posts on Chanel and 2 of my personal favourite posts of the past year, One Girl’s Life Through Her Handbags, in which I photographed and told the story behind every single one of my bags. Following this, I collaborated for the first time with one of my best friends Jamie Ball on a post called “5 Classics Every Girl Should Own” – in which he illustrated the 5 pieces I believe every woman should have in her wardrobe. Both posts struck a note with a lot of readers, and to this day I still have people emailing me about them.

Alex Loves also turned 6 months old in May, so I gave away the Chanel bag illustration as a print to a lucky winner.

5 Classics Every Girl Should Own, by Jamie Ball.

June 2010

I discovered Cocosa and bought everything from their Bex Rox sale, go to the amazing Volvo Subject 60 party with Lira Leirner who I also interviewed. I finally met gorgeous bloggers and now friends Fiona and Frankie at an EC One party and I go to Sefton for a new series called Alex Loves Angel.

Fiona & Frankie

July 2010

Ahhh July… the month of my “REAL” birthday and I didn’t let anyone forget about it. I went to Portugal, then back home to Belgium where I discovered Gustav, I reviewed My Sugarland, attended my first blogger event, then had the most amazing 25th Birthday party, got my very own Chanel bag, met my boyfriend at one of the many events and was featured on Cocosa. Life just couldn’t get much better than that… could it?

August 2010

The fun continued into August. Went to offbeat festivals like Field Day and Vintage at Goodwood where I discovered the vintage world and then it all came crashing down and took a turn I didn’t want it to take. I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and had an operation to have it removed. I made the decision to share my story on my blog in the hope it might help someone else. The outpouring of support I got was beyond belief. Fellow bloggers and readers commented, tweeted and emailed me and shared their stories with me. I took a little break from the blog and for a short while, I sank into a bit of a black hole, but knowing there were many friends and strangers out there helped me to carry on. Grateful doesn’t even come close to what I feel about this time.

Kate Baxter, myself, Natasha Baillie and Katie Antoniou at Goodwood

September 2010

Mama Loves made her debut at the Peter Pilotto for Kipling event, I’m featured on bagwardrobe.com, I interview gothic jeweller Hannah Warner, had a 2 page spread about me in ELLE Belgium magazine, was their blog of the Month, went to London Fashion Week, reviewed it in about a million pictures and interviewed Jasper Garvida backstage. It was a crazy, crazy month.

Well, I thought it was, and then I got a phone call from Chanel.

Hannah Marshall at London Fashion Week

October 2010

If ever there was a phone call that changed my life, it would be the one from Chanel’s Paris Office asking me if I’d be interested in blogging their show for Chanel News. It was the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep, but I finally got to spill it all in many, many posts on my Chanel experience. It was definitely the toast on a great year, I could keep talking about this forever, but you all know everything by now anyway.

My Chanel claim to fame definitely upped the stakes for Alex Loves, so uddenly everyone started taking me more seriously as a blogger. In October I got to go to some great places, like the Shanghai Tang blogger breakfast, Vero Moda, participated in a wonderful shoot for MCM, decided to run a marathon, did some arty posts when I went to Chatsworth House and Frieze Art Fair.

But mostly, I walked on Cloud Nine for about a month.

November 2010

So here we are, November 2010, the month where I decided to stop treating this blog as my out-of-control hobby, but slowly turning it into my career, my life. I interviewed Elise Berger of Borne, I visited so many press days I have about a month’s worth of posts left, I joined Handpicked Media, was interviewed by Crane.tv and made soup. Lots of soup.

Borne by Elise Berger

Over the period of just one year I’ve achieved much more than over 4 years in the fashion industry previously combined. I’m proud of every single post I’ve done, I’m slowly becoming a more accomplished photographer and a more confident person in general. I’ve learned even more about the fashion industry, I’ve learned about blogs and blogging, I’ve learned about young designers. I’m eternally grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, every person I’ve met and can truly call a friend. Y’all know who you are!

I never started this thing with any kind of ambition or hopes, it was merely a hobby to keep me entertained whilst I waited for something good to happen. Little did I know this was the good thing about to happen.

Hope you learned a little more about me in this post, and I hope you enjoy all the giveaways I arranged for you this week as a thank you for your support. I don’t know where the next year will take me, but I look forward to spending it with you.


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