Is It Fashion Blogger or Fashion Anthropologist?

January 9, 2014 • Fashion

We’re having trouble with this one… earlier today The Business of Fashion published an Op-Ed piece by Renata Certo-Ware about the merit of fashion bloggers. The piece serves as a sort of backlash to this year’s blogger backlash. In it she talks about the importance of the “free agent” voice, how bloggers can dictate sales and how it’s unfair that the fashion world is picking on them–some of which we agree with. The problem to begin with, though, is that her argument is a bit too literal.

The idea of the “zoo” or the “circus” that fashion week has become is based less on what goes on in the actual shows, and more on what’s happening outside the shows. Lincoln Center is flooded with college students in leopard print tights, 6-inch platforms, knock off A. Wang, pouting and gawking for the photographers. They take selfies. They harass editors when they walk in. They chase after Anna Wintour asking for a picture, and when she says “no” (or more likely, nothing at all) they call her a bitch, throw their hands over their mouths and run over to their other leopard-printed tight-wearing friends saying “OMG OMG OMG, MY LIFE IS LIKE OVER.” These kids have blogs. They are bloggers. Is there a difference between them and “bloggers” like Scott Schuman or Leandra Medine? Yes there is. Is the fashion world saying that key players, key – yes – “bloggers” be banned from the shows? Not really.

For anyone who’s tried walking through the Lincoln Center plaza, into the mecca, then into a show, the breathing space is getting tighter and tighter, and the audience is getting more and more ridiculous. To put it simply: it’s become kind of a bitch. Key players in the industry who should be at the shows are skipping them because they don’t want to deal with all the bullshit. The peacocking. People who have worked in the industry for years, starting as interns or assistants, then editorial assistants, then features editors and on and on; who have worked and learned for many, many years. Can you understand why these people might be tickled the wrong way by young twenty year olds, still in school, claiming that they know and have just as much of a right to attend as these seasoned professionals? That they have more sway? When you say that bloggers “have just as much power (if not more) to generate consumer interest and drive sales as traditional print editors,” do you think that makes them like you more or less? It’s, for lack of a better word, bratty.

But on we go! Renata also brings up social media in the piece, as if this is some flagrant kind of hypocrisy:

“Oscar de la Renta, an early and vocal advocate of reducing the circus of fashion week (“Why have 20 million people with zero connection to the clothes?”) who decided to limit the guest list at his last runway show to those with a ”legitimate professional purpose,” meanwhile has one of the industry’s most celebrated social media gurus, OscarPRGirl, on his payroll.”

But all too quickly recognizes that there’s no real argument there, especially since she’s about to say:

“Don’t forget that, as [bloggers] furiously tweet images of their favourite looks, proclaiming this skirt or that sweater an absolute must-have, bloggers represent and help translate fashion for a large portion of the buying public.”

On one hand, fuck Oscar because he has a very successful twitter, on the other hand, we do too, so they need us! Confused? So are we. But then, best of all:

While editors can often be motivated by influential friends or loyalty to advertisers, we are free agents.

BULLSHIT! Bloggers are the easiest to buy off!  Striving for the ability to make money on their craft, just like anyone else. There is nothing wrong with that. That’s the dream, right? Aside from that, how many blogs do we see with images of the blogger holding up some new item saying, “THANK YOU TKTK DESIGNER! LOVE THESE!” Those items are free! Those bloggers have been “influenced.”

As an example… the writer of the piece, Renata… from a quick search and a click through her Linkedin profile we found that she works PR for Sophie Hughes Jewelry. We then went to her blog and searched “Sophie Hughes.” Thirty three entries came up. Apologies, but that just doesn’t feel very free agent-like. Another interesting tidbit from her Linkedin profile, she doesn’t have her profession listed as “Fashion blogger” but as “Fashion anthropologist.” If you know what the hell a fashion anthropologist is, give us a shout.

Our main point is this: no one is against fashion bloggers, not professional ones, the ones who actually have something to add and an original voice, and there are plenty of them, and thank God for ’em. They certainly are like our “stylish best friend who tells it like it is.” But for every one of the really good ones, there are 100-1000 really, truly, terrible bloggers. The kids who view blogging as a passage of time, something for their resume or a fun project. Frankly, they can stay at home and watch the shows on… for now.

  • Noemí Castro

    I get your point when editors are harassed, like Anna, but she’s a public figure and she has to be willing to take pictures sometimes, and she must understand that many people worship her… But that doesn’t mean that she might be a bad person. However, about these kids who have blogs, I think they need to understand that to be in the fashioin world is not about taking pichas and posting your outfit, it’s being aware that you can influence the world with your personal style advertising brands. And it’s not an one night process. Become an expert takes a while, and to be respected your work must be impeccable.
    I come from a third world country and being a fashion blogger is not easy because you must have good contacts and more, and I’ve been blogging since 2008, and personally I can say that this a hard process to stand out, because you must have a personal touch to be an influece and help brands to be sold.
    I liked your article so much and I think your quality to be a writer is amazing!!
    I’d like to invite you to read my blog as well… my name is Noemi and I’m from Honduras 🙂

  • melissa

    I don’t feel like reading the article–don’t shoot me, but I think the whole conversation just boils down to PR people granting access and use discretion on who gets a pass. There are really no criteria set up for who gets a pass… perhaps things like “influence” should be really strategized. What’s your blogs engagement rate, what have you worn/blogged about that your audience has purchased… I’m managing editor, as well as professional digital girl, and the industry is not using all it’s resources properly. I mean bloggers got access because someone gave them access, so of course they have a good point in arguing why they are in fact present at the lincoln center.

    Another thing is blogging needs to be updated. I can care less about a #OOTD unless it’s its a picture of one of Olsen twins, because come on, who doesn’t love twins?

    Final thought, I’m sick of hearing about the same bloggers, they are about to be played out. there are so many other bloggers making money and have a dedicated audience than the usual…

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