Last fashion week, the Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine wore a shirt that read, “All Blogs Post the Same Stuff.” Leandra has a flair for irony, and the choice was perfectly self-deprecating.
Around Fashion Month every year, I tune out from my regular obsessive blog-checking. There are only so many blurry front-row photos I can handle at a time. How can I expect an honest, or even unique, view on a designer’s show if the author of the article not only sat front row but also peacocked around the after party? There’s little value to be found in the opinions of insiders.
Most successful bloggers have transitioned from personal style to self-promotion. They not only promote brands but are brands. Now that blogging is a full-time career, it seems to have lost the spontaneity, the “personal” aspect of personal style. Leandra was right: all blogs do post the same stuff. In the beginning, fashion blogs were refreshing because they were democratic. They represented a sphere outside the sometimes contrived, sales-driven magazines, a sphere occupied by real people. Now, blogs seemed to have been so thoroughly embraced by the industry that they are completely commercialized, mere extensions of Big Fashion instead of alternatives to the system.
For a week earlier this year, I found it strange that a lot of the blogs I read featured the same all red Valentino Rockstud kitten heels. It turns out, Valentino had sent them to all the bloggers. The shoes were not a sartorial decision but rather became a status symbol for the blogs deemed influential enough to get free shoes from Valentino. Who’s a big deal? Just look for the red shoes.
This isn’t lost on the bloggers themselves. Shit Bloggers Wear, a popular tumblr from illustrator Cecilia Doan, chronicles the “it” items all bloggers seem to have: the Chanel “boy” bag, Birkenstock “Arizona” sandal, ‘Ain’t no Wifey’ beanie, first spotted on ‘90s street culture-appropriator Cara Delevigne. While the tumblr celebrates the bloggers, teasing them in good fun, it also criticizes them. Doan told Fashionisa, “I think there are many people like me who’ve noticed mainstream fashion bloggers are starting to rep the same brands and styles. The endorsements are becoming more obvious. Everyday people choosing hype and status over cultivating their own sense of style.”
Vogue Editor Edna Woolman Chase famously quipped, “Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” It seems, lately, that fashion is not only bought, but even worse, gifted. The current fashion economy, especially as it relates to blogs, doesn’t leave much room for actual style.
Are these bloggers simply Servile Fashionistas? Rae Langton and Lauren Ashwell coined the term to stand in opposition to a Sensible Fashionista in their article, “Slaves to Fashion?” Though this article examines the objectifying nature of pursuing fashion from a feminist perspective (their verdict: yes, it is) the term is a useful tool for those of us frustrated with the Trend Droids occupying our Instagram feeds. The Servile Fashionista is “a pathetic and abject follower of the latest pronouncements from the fashion gurus…She rushes out to get whatever is the latest look just because it is the latest look.” The Sensible Fashionista, on the other hand. follows fashion, but “not [because] she has been told it is the fashion, but because it is something she likes.”
Where are the Sensible Fashionistas in the blogosphere? The ones with unique style and discerning taste? The ones with opinions but without endorsements? Perhaps the system has just gotten too bloated, rewarding outrageous proportions and clashing patterns. Perhaps we just need to find some new outsiders.