Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Bloggers vs. the rest of the fashion world
I came across an article from The Global Herald called London Fashion Week AW 2010 – New Digital Era Spells Trouble for Fashion Bloggers.
It highlights the gap that is closing between fashion bloggers and the fashion elite (editors, buyers, writers, PR, etc) and how fashion weeks are dealing with what to do with the growing army of said bloggers.
This article specifically talks about the mass of bloggers at London Fashion Week taking over the press area and whether they should be considered press.
Lately there have been many articles talking about whether bloggers should be allowed to cover shows, much less sit in coveted first-row seats. With the rise of Tavi (Style Rookie,) BryanBoy, Garance Doré, Sea of Shoes, Fashion Toast, Style Bubble and more, fashion bloggers seem to be taking over the fashion world with their alternative insight into style and thousands upon thousands of devoted followers.
There is no doubt that many of these bloggers have intelligent insight, experience, style and thoughtful, smart writing. They fill in the void that mainstream fashion publications can't give to the public such as unbiased commentary and a different viewpoint on style without the interference of advertisers.
But the real question is: How much credibility do they have and wear should they sit in the fashion heirarchy?
Many people questioned whether Tavi, a 13-year-old American girl, should have been sitting in the front row of Dior, when a more experienced writer or editor from a major publication could be sitting there.
They argue that Tavi, and many other young bloggers (it seems that a lot of these fashion bloggers are quite young, in their teens and twenties) don't have the experience that writers and editors have.
While that may be true, that doesn't mean take their insight any less worthy. Bloggers are invited to fashion shows for several reasons; fashion houses are hoping that the bloggers will write favourable reviews of the shows resulting in readers buying their products; they are also starting to realize that the Internet is a powerful tool to bring in new customers and influential style bloggers can bring in those customers that mainstream publications can't.
But I think the divide between bloggers and the mainstream is starting to close, whether Condé Nast likes it or not.
Blogging is not just a fad; in fact social media is just really starting to pick up steam. Fashion houses are only just starting to use Twitter and Facebook to draw in people to watch their shows live and buy their products.
In the end, it's very smart for businesses to use bloggers to help promote their product. And in that respect, bloggers are kind of like magazines and newspapers; they help to sell fashion brands.
Fortunately, bloggers aren't dependent on businesses to survive. They can say anything they want to and not lose readers or advertisers.
But back to this whole credibility issue: Sure, Tavi was barely alive when Marc Jacobs first started at Louis Vuitton, but many established writers weren't around when Monsieur Dior was alive, and they seem to get by just fine.
I think that intelligence and a unique point of view are more important than experience. And the fact that these bloggers are honest with their readers, that gives them enough credibility to be able to cover the same events and interview the same people as the mainstream fashion elite.
So future fashion weeks, be prepared to install a bigger press room; the bloggers need their space too.
For more related reading:
Fashion world agog over blogger
Elle editor leads backlash over 13-year-old blogger