Which bloggers should go to Fashion Week?

As tweeted by Susie of StyleBubble, I read this acerbic attack on fashion bloggers (Invasion of the digital dress dictators) with some distaste.

I was stunned with the ferocity of his attack, and disagree vehemently with some of his points. However…I can actually see some points too. (I’m a Gemini and often see both sides of an argument – consequently I play devil’s advocate a lot).

The thing is, it feeds directly into my own insecurities as a newbie blogger. I already question whether we should swan up to Fashion Weeks, Nikon in hand, to jostle with established magazine fashion editors, photographers and those in the industry.

The “blog-a-razzi” as the journo Damien Woolnough calls them, are people modelling themselves on Scott Schuman. In the wake of his success everyone with a webpage is a fashion editor in search of credibility and cash“, he writes. And (horror of horrors), “most of those involved weren’t even carrying tickets to the main event“.  Oh noes.

His main point of attack seems to be that bloggers hover around outside the events, cluttering the entrances, posing for pics and asking others to pose for theirs; the assumption being that they are as welcome as sewer rats, with just as little to contribute. And how dare they even be in the vicinity, if they aren’t on the sacred list to go inside.

“These are the entities that comprise the fashion fodder for innumerable blogs, blocking the entrance to the tents as clipboard-wielding bouncers for Kenzo or YSL keep them at bay”.

His other pet peeve seems to be that some bloggers become celebs themselves (a la Schuman and Dore, Susie Bubble and Bryan Boy) – as in, how dare they? I can appreciate the absurdity of fashion bloggers being as excited about seeing/snapping Bryan Boy as they are Anna Wintour or  Abby Lee. But has or hasn’t Bryan et al, earned the right?

I guess the question is: just because a blogger has a degree of popularity, does it mean they have real authority?

And just what does a blogger have to do to be seen as an authority? Should they chronicle every catwalk show, editorial, lookbook etc as obsessively and savant-like as little Tavi?  Offer opinions and analysis? Post religiously about upcoming collections and trends?  Snap innumerable pics of dudes and chicks looking hip on the street? Is just taking good pictures of yourself looking stylish on your sofa enough?

It does seem that bloggers with “clout”, aka a large readership (for whatever reason), get invited to major fashion events, regardless of whether or not they offer any real fashion editorial on their blogs.

So I do see the point that some fashion editors make, when they question why these bloggers are there. Once bloggers get to a certain rung on the ladder of success, their value becomes more to do with how many people they can influence, how much exposure they can offer (to emerging designers and stores eg).

To climb up the fashion blogger ladder though, it helps to go to Fashion Week and blog about it, so one has to start somewhere. And so, the newbie bloggers and would-be fashionistas hover, in hopes of getting a piece of the action.

For the record, I do think there are numbers of fashion bloggers who have a great sense of style and ability to edit and interpret trends, who are fluent in the language of fashion and able to communicate their excitement in a more effective way than some fashion professionals, who provide real value to both fashion houses and end consumers. We may all have different opinions as to who these are, however.

I suppose I have more observations and questions rather than answers. And while I’ll be jealous as hell this week when my fellow bloggers are at RAFW, I’ll partly be content in the knowledge that by not attending, I am one less newbie blogger to annoy journos like bloomin Damien Woolnough. Unless I decide to, heh, just stroll by, in case I get a chance to snap Susie Stylebubble.

Thoughts and opinions? Presumably not from people attending Fashion Week in Sydney this week, who may be too busy charging their Nikons and checking their schedules.

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Comments

  1. Great post! I've heard mention of this before, and it does really bring up some questions. People have started to take blogging really seriously and while I enjoy reading all the great articles people write, I don't think it should be competing with people who report on fashion for a living.

  2. I love your post and let me bring my side into the table, I started my blog in 2008, then left and really began posting regularly and adding fun tidbits in 2009. Although many of the new bloggers do NOT have fashion industry experience, I do but NOT as a journalist but I have been working with several designers in the industry from indie to power fashion houses. I know that many want enter the fashion world by blogging and that's ok but nothing will ever replace experience. It's true as a journalist I cannot bring what the NYtimes adds to the style section but I can add my own twist to what I believe is important and interesting. I have attended fashion shows in the past for work and last year it was my first time being invited to several shows as a guest and not as an employee, however I decided to only attend two shows since it was something I knew my readers would like. I don't have perfect style nor the money to buy miu miu shoes and hell myspace gave me the "let me take fashionable pics of myself everyday" hangover years ago. Although all bloggers are different, I can say that I was never paid to attend anything, I just want to share my views and perspective and if you can make money along the way, then why not? However, many bloggers carry this air of grandeur and an attitude that seriously can get on anyone's nerves. I understand many journalists feel threatened but are you serious? The world of fashion has changed, I have seen it fist hand, the fashion world is not what it used to be 10 or 20 years ago, the fashion industry is evolving, who has the biggest influence? Bloggers that can connect with the regular readership or a journalist that thinks he/she is too good to be replaced or to connect with the "riffraff".

  3. Miss Elizabeth – you see the dilemma too. If there's only so much room for people to attend, how do they decide who is worthy?

    Glendy – thanks for your input. There is that side too – people who've worked in fashion and do have trade knowledge, who also happen to be bloggers. Yep, the journo in question did seem WAY too snotty and holier-than-thou. And how dare he hate on our Bryan Boy?!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this article. I think it's attitudes like these that make me glad that I'm not a fashion blogger and would probably never attend a fashion related event. I can understand how purists could find the rush of bloggers irritating, when I was involved in the Lolita communities it's was the same thing… the new kids at school always have to work that much harder to fit in 🙁 It still sucks though. I'm a Gemini too 😉

  5. Actually, yeah – some people in the lolita communities are really vicious, aren't they? That's so true, the new kids at school analogy.

  6. It's totally about the size of the audience and circle of "influence," IMO. Wasn't there a big hullaballoo from fashion editors a few years ago when celebrities were taking up the front row and holding up shows with their not-so-fashionably late entrances? Designers wanted the publicity that came with having a row of celebs at their shows, and the blogger situation is causing a ruckus for similar reasons.

    That said, I do understand if people are frustrated because the gaggle of amateurs–and many bloggers, myself included, are amateurs–is making it harder for them to do their jobs. Mix in some haterade and you wind up with the kind of scathing commentary presented in the linked article by pissed off editors.

    Tamia
    TheStyleSample

  7. Tamia, that's a really valid observation. Celebs are accepted now (mostly)…but will bloggers ever be? And "haterade" – bwahaha!!