“You are heralding the death of style.”
Now those are fighting words – don’t you agree? Not the kind of thing I’d expect to hear about young female entrepreneurs representing designer fashion over the last month. Are they really dressing so terribly and destroying all things style? Would fashion week and brands in general be stronger without the documented chaos that goes on outside?
I’ve personally always found a certain romance in the fantastical dressing of fashion week attendees. A beautiful chaos and a flurry of styling ideas that trickle down and inspire the general population; a living how-to guide on being original and confident and a walking fashion editorial. Yes, we’re talking about loud dressing attention-seekers and the overly glamourous, but how often do you get to see women actually represent the over-the-top dressing inherent in fashion editorials? I’d love to see more creative dressing on the streets – and how does that begin? By seeing it happen. Influencers doing just that: influencing.
So, straight from the horse’s mouth, let’s assess what was discussed by the Vogue editors.
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.)”
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.”
NICOLE PHELPS, DIRECTOR OF VOGUE RUNWAY: “WHICH BRINGS ME BACK AROUND TO SALLY AND SARAH’S POINTS ABOUT THE STREET STYLE MESS. IT’S NOT JUST SAD FOR THE WOMEN WHO PREEN FOR THE CAMERAS IN BORROWED CLOTHES, IT’S DISTRESSING, AS WELL, TO WATCH SO MANY BRANDS PARTICIPATE.”
ALESSANDRA CODINHA, VOGUE.COM FASHION NEWS EDITOR: “AM I ALLOWED TO ADMIT THAT I DID A LITTLE FIST PUMP WHEN SALLY BROACHED THE BLOGGER PARADOX? THERE’S NOT MUCH I CAN ADD HERE BEYOND HOW FUNNY IT IS THAT WE EVEN STILL CALL THEM ‘BLOGGERS,’ AS SO FEW OF THEM EVEN DO THAT ANYMORE. RATHER THAN A CELEBRATION OF ANY ACTUAL STYLE, IT SEEMS TO BE ALL ABOUT TURNING UP, LOOKING RIDICULOUS, POSING, TWITCHING IN YOUR SEAT AS YOU CHECK YOUR SOCIAL-MEDIA FEEDS, FLEEING, CHANGING, REPEATING … IT’S ALL PRETTY EMBARRASSING — EVEN MORE SO WHEN YOU CONSIDER WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD. (HAVE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE YET? DON’T FORGET THE DEBATE ON MONDAY!)
LOVING FASHION IS TREMENDOUS, AND ENTHUSIASTS OF ALL STRIPES ARE IMPORTANT TO THE INDUSTRY — AFTER ALL, PEOPLE BUY CLOTHING BECAUSE OF DESIRE, NOT ANY REAL NEED — BUT I HAVE TO THINK THAT SOON PEOPLE WILL WISE UP TO HOW PARTICULARLY GROSS THE WHOLE PRACTICE OF PAID APPEARANCES AND BORROWED OUTFITS LOOKS. LOOKING FOR STYLE AMONG A BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR (‘BLOGGED OUT?’) FRONT ROW IS LIKE GOING TO A STRIP CLUB LOOKING FOR ROMANCE. SURE, IT’S ALL KIND OF IN THE SAME BALLPARK, BUT IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE REAL THING.” (fashionista)
There’s no denying that there’s a certain amount of primping and posing that goes on outside the shows, but this scene isn’t reserved for bloggers. The ‘dress for press’ strategy was first pioneered by the likes of Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia – and major modelling agencies advising their girls to dress up for the street style photographers (and some even arranging the frocks for them!) in order to boost their profiles… And maybe even get published in Vogue!
I’d love to go through a list of bloggers who are likely in question here, but I shouldn’t have to validate their considerable achievements. I’m sure you all know who they are and what they’ve done, given that a good deal of them are under 25, running global media businesses, publishing books, launching labels, supporting charities, starting product lines, connecting with audiences worldwide, and being listed in BOF 500 and Forbes 30 under 30. (The list goes on…)
Perhaps Susie Bubble said it best on her twitter (props as the first to defend bloggers).
“Firstly let’s not pretend that editors and stylists are not beholden to brands in one way or another, getting salaries at publications that are stuffed full of credits that are tied to paid advertising but not explicitly stated as such. Secondly, bloggers who wear paid-for outfits or borrowed clothes are merely doing the more overt equivalent of that editorial-credit system. It’s just that bloggers sadly don’t have prestigious titles/publications to hide behind and represent themselves solely.”
And I couldn’t adore Bryan more for this video he post on his twitter:
“So here we have the September issue of Vogue, with Kendal Jenner on the cover in Gucci – strangely enough – Gucci is on the back cover as well, with their advertising. I really don’t understand all the bitchiness about people borrowing clothes when 99 percent of the people on the pages of Vogue are wearing borrowed clothes. Selena Gomez was wearing Vuitton – and was featured in the Louis Vuitton ad campaign.
My question is, where’s the real style?”
Obviously this comes down to a lack of professional respect from said Vogue editors. The brands aren’t complaining – they are putting these young entrepreneurs front row and allowing them to tell their experience however they want. I’m disappointed this conversation has arisen, and I think it really highlights how little these women know about what is takes to have massive social and online success in this arena.
I hope we see the end of this Bloggers vs Vogue bitterness and cynicism. I know that history will look comically on this situation… People were opposed to the electric light bulb too! Social media entrepreneurs are here to stay.