Calling All Curious

Calling All Curious Fossil Manreppeller

The blogging world is a curious one. To insiders, it’s a platform for sharing, creating, inspiring and connecting. To the outer world, it is perceived as an artificial sphere of millennials showcasing a highly exaggerated version of their lives, pushing each other into an ever-growing ego-filled bubble.

This week a video about Instagram Husbands went viral and instagrammers and bloggers alike became the point of ridicule. This comes not long after the debate sparked by the coming out of Essena O’Neill about the shallowness and contrived realities of social influencers.

I’m not going to deny it – there is certainly a group of instagrammers and bloggers who try their best to magnify the significance of every tiny aspect of their lives and who boast about giftings and the perks of being a blogger. There seems to be a need of glorification and an illusional belief that the more you show (off), the better you are doing.

This is regrettably shallow and short-sighted but obviously, to each their own. But just because a part of the group follows this practice, doesn’t mean the same goes for all bloggers.

Sure, you’ll have to weed through the mess but, believe me, there is a group of bloggers who are creating their own paths. Bloggers who are passing up a quick buck and who are in it for the long run. Bloggers who are still in it to inspire and connect and who are keeping their blog as their own creative platform. Talented writers, poets, photographers, illustrators, musicians, marketeers – they’re out there.




Calling All Curious Fossil Manreppeller

Calling All Curious Fossil Kaleidoscope
Calling All Curious Fossil Women Watches

I myself have wondered about The Avantguardian and what I want this platform to be. It’s a blog driven by photography so I do sometimes fear for crossing the line between inspiring and showing the good side of life too much. To me the blog is also a way of showcasing my work and building my brand. And I try to find a good balance between fashion, food and travel. I can enjoy dressing up in beautiful garments like any other girl. But put me on a plane to Iceland for a landscape photography tour and I’ll be just as happy (if not, even more). And with that, I hope to build an honest audience of strong, independent women who are here to empower and inspire each other to become better versions of themselves.

There’s no point in being like the rest – your own you is far more interesting anyway. But that’s just my two cents.

Now, on to the shoot! This week’s editorial post features Fossil watches. Fossil is known for their classic and timeless designs. Their new holiday collection (#CallingAllCurious, in collaboration with ManRepeller Leandra Medine) shows a fun and quirky side of Fossil you may not have seen before.

I went with a different direction with the Kaleidoscope watch – I wanted it styled in a feminine and classy way. The look is a dark holiday look with a gorgeous black satin skirt (the perfect holiday skirt really) and a not-too-showy lace top. Nicole (who you’ll remember was also a model for my previous shoots here and here), looks like a spokeswoman for the brand in these photos – she looks fierce as ever.

Alright, back to the daily grind. I’m out.

Calling All Curious Fossil Manreppeller
Calling All Curious Fossil Manreppeller
Calling All Curious Fossil Manreppeller

Model: Nicole
Zara Satin Skirt // Zara Lace Top
Fossil Watches – Kaleidoscope

  • wow, the aesthetic of your photography is beyond igrien 🙂 and your opinion on the matter is so true. you should just do you and be you; and only then you’ll attract the right people 🙂

    • Thank you so much Annie! I agree, we just have to follow our hearts and stay true to ourselves!
      Thanks for stopping by dear! <3

  • Very interesting perception on social media and I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Beautiful photos. You truly have a creative mind!

    Enclothed Cognition

    • Thank you so much Keri! It’s much appreciated! <3 Have a great day dear!

  • Coincidentally (or probably not, since the Instagram Husbands clip did go viral), I also posted it on my blog as part of a Weeky Wrap-Up. I found it very entertaining and well-done, not insulting at all even though I’m blogging myself. Though my sense of humor can be pretty warped 😉 . Still, I don’t believe the makers of said clip were out to really ridicule anyone and I do think it’s okay to poke fun at oneself (or others) every now and then, as long as it’s not done with malicious motives. I guess the downside is that people will generalize all bloggers and that could be very unpleasant, especially if you’re working hard on building your brand. I definitely see what you mean. However, in your case I wouldn’t worry too much, because your content quality is outstanding without ever being look-at-me annoying and arrogant. Take this photo shoot as an example: the images are straight-out-of-a-luxury-mag gorgeous with a well-written think piece. YOU shot these photos and YOU wrote the piece. So yes, occasionally someone else might take your outfit photos (my hubby does it for me), it’s just a lot more convenient than doing it yourself. Self-portraits are hard, though I’d like to play around with it in the future. To cut a long story short: I don’t think anyone in their right mind would ridicule you! Perhaps envious people only.
    On the other hand, truth be told: there are quite a lot of folks as described in aforementioned clip. From what I see around me perhaps more than serious bloggers who don’t want to show off. Sad but true. Whatever floats one’s boat of course, but I can imagine people getting sick of this superficial show-off kind. The one’s walking around with their selfie stick with no attention to their surroundings and nearly getting themselves killed in the process. Personally, I sometimes get dizzy when I see them myself, on account of my eyes rolling endlessly in my sockets 🙂
    Excellent discussion point, Igrien, it got me typing one of my longest comments in a while!

    • When I first saw the clip, it had me floored. K, the bf, was less amused obviously haha, seeing as he has to put up with my shenanigans! I also didn’t think it was insulting, but unfortunately the corporate world is less forgiving about these things and blogging is still perceived as some crazy hobby that is getting out of hand and bloggers are apparently all attention-seeking millennials. (But it’s a hobby I don’t plan on giving up, ha!)
      Thanks so much for your words Izzy, it means a lot. I am rarely proud of myself but this year I’m kind of glad I finally had the balls to set up a shoot like this (after years and years of only talking about it). Unless we take action, it’s only going to be a dream.
      When we went to Norway two years ago we heard that one guy fell of a fjord because he was too busy taking a selfie with his selfie stick. Ever since, I’ve not looked at selfie sticks the same way and I get this eerie feeling with them, as if something bad is going to happen!
      I can’t wait to watch Fargo tonight – have you seen it yet?

  • I laughed so hard when watching the Instagram Husband video, I sent it to my husband because I know he’ll get a kick out of it. I didn’t take an offense to it because it really is true. What I’ve realized in my own personal experience in social media, there are certain platforms that appreciate raw photos that haven’t been edited or look perfect and there are others that expect nothing short of pure perfection, unless you have a massive following. I think the problem really is society. We’ve been conditioned to believe that perfect is better and if everything doesn’t look staged, it’s not “like” worthy. This never used to be the case. In fact, when Instagram first started off, that was indeed the beauty of it. People responded to photos of just your life through your iPhone without the perfect lighting and angles. Now, since it’s massive growth, expectations have changed. Same thing with YouTube. Before, it was okay to record a tutorial on your webcam, as long as the quality was somewhat decent and you could get a lot of views and subscribers from that one video. Now, you have to have the perfect lighting, editing software, and don’t forget that candle burning in the background. I honestly and sadly can say that I don’t see this pressure getting any better, I see it getting worse!

    I agree, there are so many talented bloggers out there that are genuine and actually care about their readers. Hopefully, through consistency and great work, not to be confused with perfect, a devout audience will develop and as a result those bloggers, which I’d like to consider both you and myself to be, may receive great opportunities, without allowing the success to change us.

    As for the watch, it’s so beautiful and so is Nicole. You took some amazing photos, Igrien 🙂 I hope you have an amazing week ahead. Thanks for bringing such a great and important topic to light on your blog 🙂



    • Hi Jalisa, I thought it was funny as well haha (K was less amused by it though). I also didn’t take offense to it, but the response I got from the corporate world was less enthusiastic unfortunately!
      I agree, there are great bloggers out there who have a strong voice and who are being amazing on their own. I hope in this vast blogosphere, there is a place for bloggers who continue to deliver great work and engage their audiences with interesting topics!
      Thank you so much Jalisa – I so much appreciate your input. Enjoy your day!

  • fashionandfoodandotherstuff

    Oh, what a great post. I write about fashion but i am just a women who is passioned about fashion, morning special. And i don t useany filters, its just me you see. I am glad to read that thats oké too. I love the outfit black is my favorite colour.

    • Thanks dear! Black is also my fav color to wear haha! I would love to wear more color though!

  • I love the writing here, its so true. To me, blogging is a creative outlet. Engaging with differ opinions (good and bad). When I started, I never wanted my blog to become one of those where we bloggers posited ourselves as the authority on, well, anything. Or like we had it all, cause the truth is, we don’t. So Igrien, I think its okay to have a blog driven by photography, and its okay to be the girl behind the camera most of the time. One of the reasons why i love The Avantguardian is that I get so inspired all the time. And i love that! so, be you and stick to what you find inspiring, you will definitely attract a group of your audience. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your words Tiffany, it’s much appreciated. I try my best to challenge myself with every post but I realize I’m not doing that enough still. But I’m happy with how the photos turned out (Nicole did most of the job though by being insanely pretty in these shots!). Thanks so much for your input – I would much rather have a smaller but engaging audience! Have a great day Tiffany!

  • I love the blogging sphere. Even if it is a bit exaggerated at times.

    You styled the watch perfectly. The colors contrast so well!


    • Thank you Dora!
      Blogging can be as exaggerated as you want it to be and that’s the beauty of blogging – it’s your own space!
      Thanks for stopping by Dora!

  • I agree with your thoughts on blogging. There definitely is quite a lot of superficial things on going but I try to remain true to what makes my heart sing and nothing else. I definitely wouldn’t have thought that watch was by fossil – I like it!


  • Love how Nicole is styled. I would never have thought of Fossil as glamorous, but the way you’ve depicted these photos certainly makes the case! About your thoughts on blogging, it’s certainly a struggle to stay on top of your game when it seems like life is a breeze for other bloggers. But it’s important to note that much of the carefully curated life everyone portrays is just that. It’s often an illusion. I definitely like to look for the authentic voices or the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s hard to act like something you’re not. I love all your photos – you definitely have an eye and a unique voice!

    xx Yasmin

    • Thank you Yasmin – it’s much appreciated.
      I agree; the message being sent by bloggers is that life is perfect (which it isn’t) and that bloggers have a better life than the rest of the world (which they don’t). It’s the wrong kind of message and it’s what makes a lot of people from our generation feel depressed because they see these perfect lives on the internet and they wonder why they’re not having that. That’s why I hope I can balance out the perfectness and show a life that is more about improving oneself and inspiring others.
      Thanks so much for stopping by Yasmin! Enjoy your day!

  • Shoshana

    ou’re so right about the blog world. It is really hard not to fall in to the trappings of trying to fit in and/or keep up with other bloggers. I’ve felt that way a couple of times myself. After chatting with a fellow bloggers who were willing to be honest, “behind the scenes”, it is a lot of personal cheerleading. Self promotion & self hype. So much as sometimes people forget the truth. It’s is to come across as having it all it you only post the positive. If you only post luxury items. One must remember, no one (or extremely few) are a hit overnight. Unless they purchase followers. Also, very few have all the clothing and luxury items they claim to have. Borrowing and renting pieces is a big market for a reason. I do my best to stay honest on my blog, even to a fault sometimes. I try not to insult or be rude to people but if I feel a particular way about a style or an article of clothing, I’ll voice it. I stay true to who I am as it comes to fashion. Sometimes staying true to who I am can look like I’m holding on to trends. Like my Louis Vuitton collection. It’s been growing since I was in the 9th grade. (Mom purchased me my first one for my bday). I’m 34yrs old and and I get a new one every year. Clearly my collection is large. I really don’t like now that every girl has that Neverfull tote. It’s like everyone got their bonus and ran out to purchase it because it’s inexpensive. I love that I have pieces that no one else is carrying. Also, Jack Rogers & Sperry’s I’ve been wearing them for yeeeears. They’re not knew. If you grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and/or are for from the North East, you rocked them as a teen. Not a trend for most of us. But what’s great about trends…… they go away as fast as they came in and you’re left with those who are the true fans.
    I say, stay who you. Keep delivering great post and those that are followers who get what you’re putting out there will stay. And that’s what you really want. Real people reading a real blog.
    Great post woman!

    • I agree, it is a lot of self cheerleading and hyping! People are obsessed with numbers these days. I’d much rather have a smaller but engaging following on my blog than a big number of readers but only people passing by. I hope my blog is able to balance out perfection with more inspirational stories. We’re all the same, no one is better than the other, we’re all just trying to figure out life!
      And true, trends are momentarily. I think we should invest more in sustainable and timeless fashion!
      Thanks so much for your input Shoshana – it’s much appreciated! I hope you have a great day!

  • Beautiful, I love the contrast of theta watch with the green. You photography is stunning – great post x

  • I loved reading this post! Your style of writing is truly captivating. As a newfound blogger, I too have struggled with establishing my brand and the message I’d like to convey. Your post was inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for sharing with such honesty! And of course, gorgeous photos as always 🙂

    xo Soo |

    • Thank you Soo! In the end, we just have to be ourselves! Thanks for stopping by dear! Have a great day!

  • I love your writing! Sometimes it’s easy to see who is trying to exploit their life as a blogger and those that genuinely want to inspire their readers. Really enjoyed reading this piece 🙂

    • Thank you Eden! I think we always will know which bloggers are genuine and inspiring and which bloggers aren’t. That’s why I keep a list of blogs I keep going back to just because I know they’re honest and true.
      Thank you for stopping by Eden and have a great day!

  • So right about the blogging world. and Thanks for sharing the video and so many important things. Do keep up the work. 🙂

  • Thank you for your opinion and interesting post! You really have a big talant to inspire girls to be beautiful, stylish and strong. You have great blog! Good luck!

    Welcome in my blog Ritalifestyle ¦ Instagram @m_margaritka

    • Thank you so much Margarita! If my blog can be an inspiration to a handful of readers, I am satisfied already! Thanks for stopping by dear and have a great day!

  • Loved the photography and thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s really important to stay true to yourself whatever you’re doing..somebody’s creating a fashion dedicated blog to share their vision of style, fashion aesthetics, to find the same minded people who inspires each other, doesn’t matter what brand you are wearing. But some are the people who are able to do anything for many, promote any product even if they don’t like it that much etc.. . Everybody needs to know their limits.
    But I need to say I’m a bit of proud of Essena, she’s brave enough to talk about those things to that huge audience, when she was wrong and when she was not.. .
    I wish everyone could find that balance in their life and to do the things that make them happy and other people around them.
    Love your blog, keep doing great work!

    • Thanks so much Nataliya! I know what you mean. The other day I saw a row of bloggers promote electronic cigars on their instagram and I was quite appalled by it. Not only does it not fit their (fashion) aesthetics, it is also a promotion of an extremely unhealthy habit, even if it’s considered a ‘safer’ way of smoking. I regret that for some bloggers it’s all about making a quick buck nowadays. This makes it so easy for people to generalize bloggers because. Hopefully people will be able to find those genuine and authentic bloggers who are staying true to themselves.
      Thank you for stopping by dear – hope you have a great day!

  • Cynthia Ko

    I’ve stopped reading about Essena O’Neill a week or so after her story made the news, I do wonder how things ended with her, should check it out again. Many people from the internet have felt attacked due to her story. It’s indeed sad that some readers do not realise that social media can be an incredibly effective tool for self-expression, rather than a tool for self-glamorising brainwashing. Most aspects of the showbiz world are ‘fake’ anyway, we all know that, it just takes some common sense. I do respect Essena for speaking up but I also wished that those who received her message didn’t use it to judge ALL the people on the internet as ‘fake’.
    All we can do is strive what we believe in, because all we (bloggers) wants is just to expression our opinions or share a story. I am glad you keep sharing yours with these fabulous pictures and personal anecdotes. Keep writing and photographing!

    • I do admire Essena for speaking up about it, even if it was for her personal gain (I heard she started her own company and this was a publicity stunt to draw attention).
      Well said – the internet can be a beautiful way to express ourselves and a powerful tool to reach greater audiences. I hope I can keep this up while juggling work and social life in between though – it has been a rather hectic year. Note to self: must find balance!
      Thanks for stopping by Cyn! 😀 Happy holidays!

  • oooooohhh I didn’t know about that IG husband viral video, so out of curiosity, I checked it out. Funny on the surface, but if one takes it seriously, can be pretty upsetting, if you are the husband/wife who takes the pics. That’s why when I see established or beautiful pics of any fashion bloggers, I always owe it to the person who actually takes the pics, which most likely would be their other halves.

    I do have to agree with Cynthia here. It should be a self-expressive tool rather than misuse it and overdoing it. Too much of anything is never a good idea anyway, that’s what I believe and I feel whatever we do, our intention is ultimately crucial.

    Beautiful portrayal of Fossil’s kaleidoscope watch here though, I am always fascinated by the brand, but loving something does not necessarily mean that we need to own it, right? That’s my take.

    Have a lovely weekend, Igrien.

    Jeann | LUMINNEJ

    • I agree, there are so many talented photographers out there taking their wife’s or girlfriend’s gorgeous IG photos. I feel like they deserve more love and praise than the ones being photographed! (I know my bf will be happy to read my saying this)
      The internet can be a great creative outlet, it’s why I started the blog. I hope I can continue on creating and sharing here in the future!
      Thanks for stopping by Jeann! <3