As ever, this year’s autumn shows came with debate and controversy but most prominent was the theme of elitism with American Vogue editors questioning the presence of bloggers at the shows. Harley Wild and Victoria Copeland investigate.
In their Milan roundup last month, online editors of American Vogue took time away from Bottega Veneta and Gucci to berate bloggers. How kind of them. Alessandra Codinha as Vogue.com’s Fashion News Editor provides probably the cruellest argument when she writes: ‘‘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.’’
Digging below the petty and elitist tone of their comments, the overall argument of these Vogue editors can be seen. Essentially they don’t believe that bloggers hold a genuine interest in fashion like they do. They don’t believe that bloggers have any kind of authority in this world and they certainly don’t seem to believe that bloggers should have any opinions of their own when it comes to clothes.
Whilst this view of course isn’t shared with all professional fashion journalists, this attitude has certainly been emerging from the older generation of writers, stylists and editors who have witnessed a huge change in the technology used to record and project fashion. In her memoirs published in 2012, Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington remarks on ‘then and now’. She writes: ‘‘Fashion has changed so much in my lifetime. Today I find myself at the collections, asking, ‘Who are all these people? They appear to come from anywhere and everywhere, and ninety per cent seem to be uninvited hangers-on.’’ Her language is certainly akin to that used in this most recent controversial opinion from Vogue with a lot of referral to ‘them’ as separate from the ‘pros’.
But do these ‘hanger’s on’ harm the industry and should they be banned from shows? We’re saying no.
Bloggers do not pose a threat to the fashion industry and, if anything, they create a platform which makes all aspects of fashion more accessible. Vogue’s catty comments about bloggers “paid-to-wear outfits” as “heralding the death of style” merely make their publication sound bitter and out-dated. Ultimately, they are shooting themselves in the foot as the blogger is the future of fashion, influencing a wider and younger audience than Vogue does. Their detrimental comments are limiting their own influence even more in a world that is constantly becoming more technological. Their comment about paid-to-wear-outfits is not only spiteful; it’s hypocritical.
Many bloggers retaliated to Vogue’s comments, particularly on Twitter, and Susie Bubble comments how Vogue magazine is stuffed full of credits tied to paid advertising but this is not stated as such. Bloggers are merely being more honest, as they don’t have prestigious publications to hide behind and they are the only representative of their own brand. She also points out that ultimately it comes down to the fact that the fashion establishment don’t want their circles enlarged. They want fashion to remain elitist, an ivory tower which is towering and impenetrable. Shea Marie continues that those who published the article are exactly the people that have given the fashion world the cold, unwelcoming and ruthless reputation it has had in the past.
Blogging offers change through its diversity and by offering an alternative path into the industry. Bloggers make fashion more accessible through every medium and in turn this makes more people interested in fashion as a career as they no longer view it as an unreachable target. Even fashion shows are made more accessible through bloggers and social media. More people watch shows through Snapchat who wouldn’t necessarily watch them elsewhere, and this increasing coverage for brands can only be heralded as a positive thing. Who are Vogue to discern between who is and isn’t allowed to represent the industry – if it’s creating more positive influence for women then surely there can be no complaints?
Whilst Vogue works at trying to uphold an elitist and unapproachable publication, bloggers open the dialogue between fashion and their consumers by acting as brand ambassadors. You only have to look at their website traffic to see who holds the greater influence, for now and the future of the technological age.
Cover Image: http://www.zimbio.com