For a fashion blog to stand out and draw eyeballs, it needs to be colorful, provocative and loud. The Berlin-based DandyDiary blog has done just that. It’s one of Germany’s most-read websites and is generating plenty of revenue, too.
The creators, Carl Jakob Haupt and David Kurt Karl Roth, rose to fame by kickstarting a series of events including a streaker jumping on to the catwalk at Dolce&Gabbana’s men’s fashion show in Milan in 2013. The story was picked up by a number of international newspapers and websites.
Mr. Haupt and Mr. Roth later said the naked man was designed to show how bloggers can use big labels for their purpose instead of the other way around.
“The special thing about them is their radicalism in the way they critique anyone or anything – positive or negative,” said Olga Blumhardt, an instructor at the Fashion & Design Academy in Berlin.
One of the blog's most successful eye-catchers include a 3-minute-long fashion-porn movie.
Mr. Roth, who studied fashion journalism, started the blog in 2009 when he was still at university. He said he was frustrated about the absence of blogs on men’s fashion in Germany and wanted to change this. His former schoolmate, Mr. Haupt, who studied political science, joined him in 2010.
As of today, their page generates 350,000 views per months. That traffic has attracted big names such as Nike, Levi’s and Adidas who are keen to tap into this following.
It’s not easy to stick out in a global blogosphere with over 170 million blogs as of 2011, according to the online statistics portal Statista – a number that has soared since then. According to Grey, a Düsseldorf-based online marketing forum, one-third of them are full-time bloggers just like the DandyDiary duo. All of them are using Google and social media as their main source of traffic.
The DandyDiary team consists of the two protagonists and three freelancers responsible for technology and international marketing. Aside from the fashion blog, the group also organize parties, produces short movies and releases its own songs.
One of DandyDiary’s earlier successes includes a three-minute-long movie that premiered at Berlin’s Fashion week in 2012 in one of the city’s sex cinemas. The movie starts off with a man ejaculating and shows a woman’s hand holding his penis and wearing a ring whose brand is being displayed next to it.
The movie continues in reverse mode with the couple getting dressed, showcasing each fashion item that the man and woman put on on until they are fully dressed back in a white fashion showroom. The video received positive coverage even from mainstream magazines and newspapers in Germany, including Der Spiegel and public broadcaster ARD.
Mr. Haupt and Mr. Roth said they are now able to live off their blogging income. They also organize Berlin Fashion Week’s unofficial opening parties, which take place twice a year and are always fully booked.
Last year, the two entrepreneurs occupied an empty building for their “Squat House” party, to highlight punk elements in current fashion trends.
Their latest coup is a cooperation with Munich-based Angermeier, a designer for traditional German gowns and leather pants. The company asked the two bloggers to design German Lederhosen. Their designs included symbols of the U.S. drugs gang Mara Salvatrucha, commonly abbreviated as MS-1designs. Angermeier banned the designs from being sold on their website.
The two bloggers see themselves as trendy and avant-garde. Future plans include creating fashion and fashion content, as well as opening a vegan restaurant in Berlin.
The kind of restaurant, Mr. Haupt said, “which you can also go to wearing a leather jacket.”
Franziska Scheven is an editor at Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin, focusing on companies, markets and lifestyle issues. Handelsblatt author Anja Stehle contributed to this story. To contact the author: Scheven@handelsblatt.com