Forget Fashion Bloggers, Fashion Posers are the Problem

Yes, Vogue has a point, but are bloggers to blame?

At the end of fashion month, Vogue publishes its catwalk report — I remember, in my early teens, making a day of it: I’d buy it from the shops, clean my room, grab myself a cuppa and sit down to wonder at the magic from New York, London, Milan and Paris. Nowadays, with social media, digital and yes, blogging, the illusion isn’t as mysterious, the curtain has vanished, the bunny is out of the hat and the trapdoor is there for all to see — is the magic lost or enhanced?

Recently, published a Milan fashion week round-up that more than ruffled a few feathers, declaring war on fashion bloggers and labelling them as ‘embarrassing’, ‘sad’ and ‘pathetic’ — yikes! Naturally, a lot of fashion bloggers took offence and called them out, especially considering Vogue recently published a well-known fashion blogger/designer/Instagram it-girl on their cover. However, there’s no denying that fashion week has become a bit of a circus, each act fighting for their spotlight in the ring (even if it means taking the light from someone else). Truth be told, I understand where Vogue is coming from — designers, who work painstakingly through sleepless nights to create a collection, invite guests to see it before anyone else and sure, use their platform (whether that’s a powerhouse publication, or popular corner of the internet) to spread the word and encourage readers to then buy that collection: However, more and more, some “fashion bloggers” who have the privilege of attending, spend more time documenting themselves, that they do the designs. You see them go to fashion week, take a half-assed Snapchat story of who they’re sitting next to at the show, then actually hire photographers to document their peacocking street style ways. A few days later, you see an entire photo story of every outfit they wore to fashion week (zero of what the models were wearing) and a tiny footnote of the designers who invited them there in the first place. Can you imagine if that happened in any other type of journalism? “Thanks to [restaurant name] for inviting me to their supper club event, here’s a pot roast I made earlier and a YouTube series on how I made it” — ahem, what? But somehow this act of blowing out someone else’s birthday candles is completely acceptable in the fashion industry. Well, acceptable to some.

Vogue was within their rights to call this out, it’s downright bad manners, but it was the way in which they did it and the language used that royally pissed off a large percentage of, let’s face it, their target readership. Perhaps with the addition of a few strategically placed quotation marks around “fashion bloggers,” Vogue could have made the argument that not all fashion bloggers are like this, rather than tarring everyone with the same savage brush. The issue doesn’t lie with fashion bloggers, people like Margaret Zhang and Tavi Gevinson have helped to make the fashion industry grow for everyone, not just themselves and blogging is their bread and butter. The issue lies with fashion posers, those who use the title of fashion blogger as a vanity outlet, rather than what it’s intended to be. In saying that, who the hell decides what fashion blogs should be? We’re in an age of fast information, do the majority of people want to sit and read a full review of the show, the inspiration behind it and an interview with the designer by someone who knows the fashion industry inside and out? I know I do, and sure, I miss the illusion, I miss the magic, I miss the suspense, but I also love the fact that you can be sitting on a train to work and sitting front row through your iPhone at the same time. Now that’s what you call magic, it’s just a different kind. We might find that for fashion bloggers (authentic or posing) the type of content that performs best is in fact a rundown of their wardrobe or fashion week captured through a front-facing camera. People argue that the fashion industry shapes the readership, but now, more than ever, the readership is starting to shape the industry, and rather than complaining about what’s happening now, (and pining for the good old days) there’s an opportunity to shape what comes next and make it even better than it ever was before.

At the end of the day, we need to remember one thing: Whether you’re team Vogue or team bloggers, it isn’t about the guests and where they’re sitting, fashion week is about the people who work their asses off to make it happen, right down to the very last stitch.

What are your thoughts on the Vogue vs blogger debate? Tweet me @StephanieFBoyle