Aaron Castro, formerly the most hated fashion blogger in the Philippines, is all grown up
Aaron Castro of “Aaron Did Fashion” is all grown up. You only have to follow him on Instagram to see how the fashion blogger, who was cyberbullied into online fame, has changed in the two years since he shook the internet. Gone are the green shoes, the yellow belt, and the bright-on-brights. The new Aaron holds a smartphone with a nail-polished hand, a handbag on the other while posing for an OOTD. These days, he’s into basics and black-and-whites. His outfits are a contradiction of styles: simple but fashion-forward, edgy but preppy.
It’s easy to form assumptions about people based on what we see online. We could be right about some things, but most of the time, social media only gives us a 2D rendering of what a person is like. IRL, Aaron Castro is not the kind of character you would bash on the internet. We met at a coffee shop near the School of Fashion and the Arts, where he’s currently studying. And this is what he wore: a white oxford shirt layered with a black t-shirt, black jeans folded at the cuffs, and black sneakers.
“Actually, ang init!” Aaron said about his clothes. That’s how self-deprecating he is.
In 2012, Aaron became an internet sensation when his blog “Aaron Did Fashion” became the butt of jokes online. Well-meaning people, however, defended Aaron against cyberbullies. His blog became popular on the internet: For a time, “Aaron Did Fashion” became one of the most read blogs in the Philippines. He was eventually featured in newspapers, in blogs, and on TV shows.
When he was 15, he held a fashion blogging seminar in front of hundreds of university students. He considers this as his biggest accomplishment to date. Now, the 16-year-old is one step closer to his dream of working in the fashion industry. He quit college and enrolled in SoFA, which he travels two hours from his hometown of Lipa, Batangas twice a week.
The question remains: Why does the internet, until now, gang up on Aaron Castro?
Aaron’s most recent bashing incident involves a blog post titled “A Skater with Chanel.” His OOTD offended the sensibilities of the online skating community (“I think all skaters in the world would come here and shove your ass. Even gay skaters won’t wear this shit.”) What Aaron wore was far from standard skater fashion, which, to a non-skater, probably consists of Avril Lavigne’s wardrobe in “Sk8r Boi.”
Aaron explained that his outfit was a personal interpretation of skater style. “I’ve been bullied a lot before because of my sexuality and my blog, so maybe I already have a thick skin that negative comments can’t get into,” he said in an interview.
Millennials, particularly teenagers, take social media seriously: Online personas are carefully molded into prettier, funnier, and smarter versions of themselves. Aaron said that he has his fair share of insecurities, particularly with his looks. “I’m more self-conscious now, in terms of my appearance. I always try to make myself look presentable,” he said.
The everyman of fashion blogging
The fashion industry is notorious for promoting high, often unrealistic, beauty standards, which is why it’s no surprise that the beautiful and the rich dominate the fashion blogging scene. Aaron, whose outfits mostly consist of department-store and thrift-shop clothing, is definitely not your run-of-the-mill fashion blogger. Truth be told, he doesn’t possess the good looks that most fashion bloggers have. He is, by conventional beauty standards, supremely average.
“Fashion blogging is for everyone. There isn’t a rule that says fashion blogging is just for thin people, for rich people, for those who can afford branded clothing,” he said, repeating a sentiment he shared in a previous interview.
Aaron’s story can resonate with any probinasyano who has dreamed of getting out of his small town. “I don’t see my hometown as the kind of place that will let you expand your wings, but it is a place where you can stand out,” he said.
According to Aaron, the fashion scene in Lipa is only beginning to grow. “If you wear something out of the norm, people will look at you na para kang may sakit or something. It’s like being fashionable is a crime!”
Aaron is the everyman of fashion blogging, because in reality, aren’t there more Aaron Castros than Laureen Uys? But time and again, he’s been shot down by the angry mob of the internet. “Maybe I get bashed because people can see that they can still bring me down,” he said. After all, Aaron’s blog isn’t a full-blown business yet, unlike fashion blogs that gain money from advertising and sponsorship deals.
“Maybe I get bashed, too, because my site isn’t as professional-looking as other fashion blogs,” he said. Aaron was made fun of for his modeling poses: the Poker Face, the Over the Shoulder, the Gaze Away from the Camera. But isn’t that what all fashion bloggers do? How come Aaron gets so much animosity for doing them? A study reveals that internet trolls are likely to be sadists, masochists, and narcissists in real life.
“I have a fault, too, I guess. You’ve seen my posts before: I was really a laughing stock, especially with the way I wrote. My blog was not well-produced,” said Aaron. However, he’s planning to change all that.
Haters gonna hate
“I’m more conscious now of what I post online,” he said. Aaron has stopped adding new content to the blog that made him famous. He transferred to a new, more mature-looking blog, yet even that hasn’t been updated lately. His old blog posts have been archived as well, only accessible to Aaron himself.
Is Aaron hiding his past as the fashion blogger everyone loved to hate? “Oh, I’m not hiding my old photos forever. I’m just keeping them until I relaunch my blog next year.” Aaron acknowledged that he took some of the negative comments as critique.
The relaunch of his blog will be a fresh start for Aaron. Apart from personal writing, he plans to turn his blog into a fashion magazine of sorts. Aaron mentioned that writing for a fashion publication is in his bucket list, despite the negative reactions his writing previously received. His blog won’t just be a diary and collection of OOTDs anymore—it will be a platform that engages everyone who has, as Aaron’s favorite catchphrase goes, a passion for fashion.
In the long run, Aaron wants “Aaron Did Fashion” to become a serious fashion brand that does everything from editorials to professional styling. But for now, Aaron is focused on following his dreams, one fabulous step at a time.
“My mom said, Always look back at where you came from. You won’t reach the place you want to be in if you forget your roots,” he said. “The old pictures remind me of how I have evolved as a fashion blogger and as a person.” He promised to return his old posts, once he relaunches the bigger and better “Aaron Did Fashion.”
As for the haters? “Keep bashing ‘cause your words won’t bring me down.”
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