(Sidebar – this is my longest post to date, so be sure to have sufficient snacks around you if needed)
My interest in fashion writing has considerably grown since writing my dissertation, as I was able to gauge how both bloggers and columnists viewed the future of their chosen field. Writing.
However, I came across an article the other week that had been shared on Facebook (you can read it here) It is a discussion piece that focuses on the opinions Vogue editors have slapped fashion bloggers with and how said bloggers have reacted to the critique. The exact phrases they used to describe this circle of influential people include that they’re ‘Heralding the death of style, they’re ‘pathetic’ and encourage ‘street style mess’.
Let me interrupt myself (if thats even thing) here by saying that during the fashion week period I see some extremely questionable outfits which, if I’m honest, just look like the person has put on everything they own and pair it with some socks and heeled sandals. I agree, that sometimes, they do look ridiculous, and most of the time they’re just dressed like that to get photographed. But if that’s what gains them followers, gets people talking and is what they’re known for; then why shouldn’t they?
And who are the editors at Vogue to decide what is right or wrong. I have, for a long long time, said my dream job is to work for Vogue – I viewed them as the centre of my fashion world, the elitist magazine that dictated what was in or out. But after reading the patronising words written by these ‘fashion experts’… I’m not so sure, and that truly saddens me.
Below are a couple of the most scathing examples of criticism…
SARAH MOWER, VOGUE.COM CHIEF CRITIC: “SO YES, SALLY, THE PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER BIT, WITH THE ADDED AGGRESSION OF THE STREET PHOTOGRAPHER SWARM WHO ATTEND THEM, IS HORRIBLE, BUT MOST OF ALL, PATHETIC FOR THESE GIRLS, WHEN YOU WATCH HOW MANY TIMES THE DESPERATE TROLL UP AND DOWN OUTSIDE SHOWS, IN TRAFFIC, RISKING ACCIDENTS EVEN, IN HOPES OF BEING SNAPPED.”
This one angers me. Firstly, she calls them ‘girls’ not women. This immediately brings the age vs. experience debate into practice as she is assuming they are younger, and therefore are not as knowledgable or mature, and couldn’t possibly be ‘fashionable’ by Vogue’s standards. Secondly, these people are professional. A profession is defined by whatever you are paid to do; these women are paid to ‘troll up and down’ and they usually (as I mentioned, sometimes I’ve looked better in pajamas) look bloody great doing it! The word ‘troll’ also has a really quite, well… bitchy tone to it; adding to the ridiculousness of Sarah Mowers opinion.
SALLY SINGER, VOGUE CREATIVE DIGITAL DIRECTOR: “IT’S A SCHIZOPHRENIC MOMENT, AND THAT JUST CAN’T BE GOOD. (NOTE TO BLOGGERS WHO CHANGE HEAD-TO-TOE, PAID-TO-WEAR OUTFITS EVERY HOUR: PLEASE STOP. FIND ANOTHER BUSINESS. YOU ARE HERALDING THE DEATH OF STYLE.)”
So bloggers are ‘heralding the death of style’?? They (sometimes) create the style!! It’s their job! If your job was to change outfits 2/3 times a day and get photographed for it would you say no?! I definitely wouldn’t! These bloggers are a part of the system; without them smaller fashion brands wouldn’t have a way of marketing their clothes. Bloggers are more than happy to promote new brands as every single one wants to be the first one to do so! This competition just drives it even further… thereforrrrre helping the start-up brands gain momentum. Rather nice really.
Does this women not realise that the very group of people she’s aiming this attack at are striving towards the exact same thing as she? Both Vogue editors and fashion bloggers want to promote and love one thing; fashion! They both want more people involved and interested in fashion. They both want to spark discussions, debates, divides and opinion. Opinion is what drives the fashion industry. Expert’s opinions are what regular followers like you and me base our fashion choices on. Personally, I base my personal style on what I like, what suits me, what I feel confident in and current trends.
I also came across this article, a life cycle fashion trends. How they’re recycled, how new ones are imagined and the influences, and influencers behind the trends. Lauretta Roberts, the leading trend forecaster at WGSN (the bible of trends basically) said, in an interview with Alexa Chung that trends are no longer dictated from couture design houses in Paris… they’re made where they ultimately end up; all around us!
Fashion bloggers who choose to wear certain outfits and share them online, have probably influenced some of the most expressive and popular trends to date. Lauretta said that people care more about what they’re peers are wearing than what’s coming off the runway. As much as top Vogue editors may hate to admit it; fashion bloggers are influencers. Personally, I find organic, uncensored fashion writing far more relatable and accessible. Sometimes, and I spoke about this in my dissertation, I find the writing in Vogue somewhat patronising – almost as if I’m not worthy of reading it.
But seeing these free spirited fashion bloggers, Susie Bubble and BryanBoy in particular, publicly defending themselves makes me proud in a weird way. We are living through the technological generation and social media has allowed and in a way, demands constant sharing, constant conversation and constant opinions. And I love it! I love that these bloggers have been able to bite back as gracefully as Vogue bit them first.
I wholeheartedly agree with everything the bloggers have come back with and hope that the Vogue editors are feeling very stupid, but I doubt they are… and that’s a shame. Everyone’s opinion and point of view should be considered, regardless of position or hierarchy. Bloggers are their own boss and, in my opinion, are considerably more influential than any Vogue editors old-fashioned opinion.