The Modern Otter is a menswear-focused blog run by Aaron Wester, a fashion blogger and advisor stationed in New York City. With over 33k followers on Instagram, The Modern Otter is a one-stop shop for learning about the clothes you’re wearing, men’s fashion advice, and other lifestyle posts. Follow his classy adventures in the fashion, lifestyle, and travel worlds on his blog & his Instagram @themodernotter. 📸
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First of all, who the heck are you?
“Well, my name is Aaron Wester and I was born in California, but I moved to NYC when I was about five years old. I spent ten years in New York and then moved to Arizona for ten years. And then about six years ago, I moved back to NYC. So I’ve moved around a bit!
I went to college at Arizona State University, where I studied acting, theatre, and costume design. That’s when I moved to NYC – to be an actor (classic story). I quickly decided that I hated the industry and didn’t like sitting in a room for 8 hours a day waiting to be called. It definitely wasn’t my thing.
All that time when I was pursuing a career in acting, I worked for Banana Republic for about ten years. Eventually I started to realize that my passion was teaching other people. I started following other bloggers and seeing what other people were doing in the fashion world. And that’s where The Modern Otter was born.”
So, Aaron, can you give me a little insight into what The Modern Otter is and what you’re trying to do over there?
“I would say that The Modern Otter is a menswear-focused blog, but it’s not specifically about that. It’s about lifestyle, travel, and all of that kind of stuff. Since my background is fashion design & theatre, you could say that I’m pretty passionate about design, fabrics, and educating people about all of that. So that’s the foundation of my blog – teaching people about fashion and the story behind the clothes they wear every single day. So instead of saying “Why am I wearing this linen shirt?”, people can know what that linen is made out of, where it comes from, and why they’re investing money in these clothes.
And then the blog just developed from there. I use the same approach when it comes to lifestyle, food, and travel posts, while trying to include my fiancee, Mike, into the picture more too. But the foundation of all of that is my pursuit to teach people about what they’re wearing every day and what the effects of those clothes are.”
What would be the end goal of all of this?
“I would say that the end goal of The Modern Otter is just for awareness of the goods that we consume. I think the education part is what keeps me educated, passionate, and continuing to write. That’s where I’m at right now!”
So tell us, do you use your blog or your Instagram as your main platform?
“My Instagram account is definitely my main platform – I get most of my traffic and my views there. And I don’t really use a whole lot of other social media platforms – I tried in the beginning to use a whole lot of platforms. But I didn’t really like Twitter and I constantly had to remind myself to use Snapchat because that’s not something that comes naturally for me. Yeah, Instagram is where it’s at for me.”
So I’m curious. What do you think is the main role that content creators and digital influencers should play in the world?
“First of all, I would say that I’m not a huge fan of the world: “influencer”. I was having a discussion yesterday with a couple of other bloggers during NYMFW and they feel the same way. We all sort of get coined with that term and I think that puts a lot of us into a box.
Instead, I always strive to be a creative director – or at the bare minimum, a content creator. I believe that our role is to be small-scale creative directors. Instead of doing creative activities for a big brand or magazine, we’re doing it for our own personal brands. And that’s what we all essentially are – a brand!
That being said, I think our contribution to this space is to add our viewpoint into it. We should be pushing other brands to evolve. And we should be pushing our readers to view the world differently. Our main objective should be to share a new perspective that brings a new lens for our readers to view the world through.”
What are your top pieces of advice for those wanting to delve into the creative director/digital influencer/freelancer space?
It’s quickly becoming a very hard space to get your start in. There’s tens of thousands of bloggers and content creators out there. And that’s why main piece of advice would be to be better than anybody else. Simple as that!
But otherwise there are two main pieces of advice I would give:
#1. Find out what you’re passionate about an only focus on that. Don’t try to copy other people because it just won’t work for you. For example, I made a conscious decision not too long ago to stop wearing suits altogether. I’m not a dapper fashion blogger and pretty much have no reason to wear a suit on a daily basis. It just didn’t make sense and I didn’t feel that people came to me for that. So why would I try to be something that I’m not? I chose to focus on what I enjoy and what resonates with me. Then I grounded myself in that.
#2. Since the beginning, I’ve approached The Modern Otter as a brand. I got the name, added that name on every social media platform, established my domain, and got the website – without ever posting a photo. That’s because of the retail/business experience I gained from ten years when working at Banana Republic. I went into all of this with the mindset that I’m running a business.
I want to thank Aaron so much for taking the time to speak with me about being a digital influencer/content creator and how his journey has been. Don’t forget to check out The Modern Otter and follow Aaron on Instagram! ✨🏳️🌈