With the near-constant chaos and excitement of Hollywood, it’s hard to imagine an event drawing a crowd of thousands and creating such a stir that part of Sunset Boulevard has to shut down. But NYX Cosmetics, Style Haul, and The Platform found that magic formula in BeautyCon 2013, a weekend-long summit at Siren Studios celebrating the holy matrimony of beauty and tech. Drawing celebrities and fans alike, attendees mingled with top YouTube personalities, beauty aficionados, celebrities, social media mavens, and fashion bloggers. Fashion, beauty, and tech brands in attendance included Lulu*s, bareMinerals, Bellami Hair, See You Monday Clothing, BH Cosmetics, Minx Nails, Toni&Guy, Epoxy, Uber, Pose, and many more.
Although I could wax poetic about the styles I saw for fall, I was even more interested in seven key cultural trends I noticed.
7. Color, color, color. From the eye-popping hues on the racks at Lulu*s to the psychedelic pigments in BH Cosmetics‘s eyeshadow palettes, bright hues were everywhere at BeautyCon. Monochrome may still be chic in some circles (New York society, I’m looking at you), but BeautyCon attendees dream in absolute technicolor. From phone cases to flip-flops, no accessory was left unadorned.
6. Video killed the photography star. The Millennials may have Facebook, but this generation’s teenagers are taking online social interaction further by skipping selfie pics in favor of video. Their older siblings may love blogging, but today’s teens would much rather vlog. Top vloggers spoke about how video lets them showcase their personalities and develop a cult following. Watch out, Mark Zuckerberg.
5. It’s all about the individual. The days of identical LBD-wearing fashionistas are over, and BeautyCon was the absolute proof. Guests strutted the pink carpet in everything from floor-length sequins to vibrant crowns of freshly-cut flowers. P*Trique rocked her inimitable signature look, drawing waves of cheers from the crowd as she worked the catwalk with her fellow vloggers. Although this summer’s trends of leather shorts, flatforms, and rompers dotted the crowd, attendees stood out with their own personal style.
4. All access. Just as Twitter allows us to talk to celebrities and have them actually answer back, BeautyCon’s panels were a real-life opportunity for guests to interact face-to-face with their idols. YouTube and Hollywood stars alike took questions directly from the audience and chatted casually with attendees post-panel. The line that separates celebrity from fan went down for the day, and the guests expected nothing less.
3. Let’s be real. Although the weekend celebrated all things beauty, the content of the panels dove beneath the surface. Kelly Osbourne touched on her life challenges, focusing on the importance of embracing your identity and remaining authentic. When asked about her self-acceptance, she simply stated, “As hard as you try, you’ll never be someone else. Accept yourself.” Kelly was honest with the audience, admitting that she wasn’t nearly as confident as she sometimes seemed. She implored the young women in attendance to “be a girls’ girl” by supporting other women, not tearing them down.
2. Be your own brand. Top fashion and design bloggers spoke about branding and the unlikely paths that brought them to their current career successes. Geri Hirsch of Because I’m Addicted started her blog when pulling thirteen-hour workdays and had no idea it would explode into a successful business. Bri Emery of designlovefest leveraged her experience in graphic design and her blog’s success to start a series of Photoshop tutorials for aspiring bloggers. Regardless of their path, industry leaders emphasized the importance of figuring out your identity and staying true to it.
1. No limits. Sure, the event focused on beauty trends and techniques, but the resounding message was that social media has made notoriety and success more accessible today than it’s ever been before. The panel speakers weren’t telling the audience what to wear to look slimmer or how to change the shape of their nose with makeup; they were encouraging the mostly-young guests to find their own beauty and identity, embrace it, and build a brand to become as successful as their idols.
No longer are celebrities the people to be like; now, they’re the people to become.
By Sunday evening, I was positively vibrating with energy and inspiration. As a new-ish fashion writer, it’s easy to get intimidated by all the bloggers who have been writing longer, who have more followers, or who seem to have fresh content bursting forth seven days a week without batting an eye. But every successful businesswoman starts somewhere, whether it’s reflecting on what you learned as an insecure teenager or squeezing time out of an impossible schedule to find a moment to write a post.
BeautyCon taught me many tips on looking my best, but the glow radiating from within me on Sunday evening had nothing to do with makeup.
Want to know more about my trip to LA and what I wore while I was there? Stay tuned, folks- this is just the beginning of the LA Diaries!
All images, unless otherwise noted, Alex Wyman, A/P.