howtosurvivefashionweek

How to survive Fashion Week by Jean-Philippe Delhomme

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I was really surprised by a certain Vogue article that has offended a herd of fashion bloggers. Its surprising that someone spoke out, loud. There is a lack of critique in the blogging industry. Whatever sells, works. Most bloggers are paid advertisers or affiliate link pedallers. Nobody blinks an eye at this truth. Nobody questions their credibility when they showcase a product. Nobody questions the marketing model. As an outsider, I find it all repelling. I want to be well dressed, love beautiful clothes, admire craftsmanship, look for inspiration and want access to what the designers create. But the middleman politics put me off. Let me recap the little debate that Vogue.com started :

” A collection was either all about the ateliers and craftsmen or the creation of streetwear stars and clothes made to stop traffic and paparazzi. 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.) “

– Sally Singer, Creative Digital Director of Vogue.com

” 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. “

– Alessandra Codinha,  Fashion News Editor

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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.

– Nicole Phelps, Director, Vogue Runway

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bloggervoguestreetstylecontroversy

This illustration by the legendary Jean-Philippe Delhomme summarizes street style for an outsider like me.

“There’s a relatively new phenomenon — you can check this on all of those ‘stylish’ blog sites — of men dressing as though it were a blood sport, a competition rather than a celebration. They wear their clothes as though they were weapons, and thus almost never look comfortable in what they’ve got on.”

– G. Bruce Boyer.

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My Take : 

I blog about fashion/style. I wasn’t offended by the Vogue editors. I actually applaud them for bringing it up. When did style go from being a personal celebration of one’s choices to aggressive marketing of clothes/outfits/themselves ?  I am old school. My influencers are the likes of Mr. Bruce Boyer. I admire chic women like Phoebe Philo. I find the street style circus despicable too.

Commercial blogs :

Some bloggers come out and say “I am an influencer. My job is to sell product.” And that is fine. They need to hustle to get the publicity and the sponsorship deals. They are in the businesses of selling product. The onus is on us to choose our influencers. I don’t look for style in a fashion blog. There is a small tribe of style bloggers who give me my fix.

Credibility :

If I see affiliate marketing and sponsored swag, I question their judgement on the products. A stock market analyst who writes an article recommending what to buy, is not allowed to own the same stock because he might recommend the ones that make him profit. A doctor being paid to prescribe a certain drug to his patients by the company is illegal. A food critic is not compensated for a good review from the restaurant. And definitely not on the basis of number of people he sends their way. Affiliate marketing is the exact opposite of this standard. And bloggers routinely don’t write bad reviews because it may affect their future partnership deals with the brands. This sort of behaviour is looked down upon in any other field.

We have a choice.

I don’t read any of the blogs that participate in the street style madness. I read 5 fashion blogs and two dozen style blogs. I look for information, not promotion. We have a choice. The onus is on us to choose well.

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I appreciate these outbursts by editors and bloggers. At the least, it’s moving the conversation forward. So who is right ? I don’t know. I absolutely agree with the Vogue editors but the magazine business is no different is it ? End of the day, I want to be the woman who asks questions. The bloggers seem to lash out for being criticized …. but show me a profession that is free of critique ? I would guess that fashion blogging has the least. 

Thoughts ?