As the inevitability of change besets the fashion industry some members of the old guard are still reluctant to validate the new order of things. Namely, magazine editors are wont to rail against the rise of fashion bloggers. Particularly so when the bloggers in question are pre-pubescent and receiving favored seating at haute couture shows.
Style Rookie Tavi Gevinson has been the lightening rod of the debate, attracting both adoration and ire from the fashion community at large. The young teen's name was tossed around again at an FIT panel this week, with Elle magazine editors Joe Zee, Kate Lanphear, and Anne Slowey as featured speakers.
Zee seemed to poo-poo the blogger revolution with reminders of the dues paid by those that have risen through the ranks of traditional fashion media.
"[At Elle] we're talking about people who have really done this their entire lives, who've really covered fashion, who really understand fashion . . . understand the history of fashion, can critique it from a point of view, [can] actually relay it back to something they've experienced and understand," Zee said. "I don't think Tavi even knows what happened five years ago... if you don't know what you're talking about, then do you really have the credibility to talk about it?"
The magazine's Creative Director does have a point. It might be this sense of flippancy that makes people reluctant to take fashion seriously as art and culture. But he's walking a fine line of hipocrisy here, considering Mr. Joe Zee's starring role in MTV reality drama "The City." The show, which includes an accessories editing socialite, can hardly be an example of dues paying.
Fashion news editor Anne Slowey gave a small measure of defense for bloggers:
"BryanBoy, he's the sweetest kid out there and he's just so excited about fashion that it's contagious," she said. "I love finding myself sitting next to him at a fashion show and listening to him just bubble over with enthusiasm. Maybe what he's saying isn't groundbreaking prose, the writing's not that great, but it's how he talks. So, I think there's room for both."
But Slowey is careful to make the distinction between bloggers and journalist, saying that blogs are more about expression. She doesn't seem much impressed with Tavi:
"What am I getting out of a 13-year-old’s opinion about fashion? How does that help me distill the collections? What am I supposed to be buying? That’s what an editor’s job at a magazine is," Slowey told NY Magazine's The Cut.
Many editors and fashion followers would agree. Buy why, then, do we continue to see 17-year-old models as the ambassadors for brands that for all practical purposes are best suited to women in their 40s and 50s? Perhaps the traditional fashion media should bear some of the responsibility for creating the monster they now buck against. Rampant youth obsession is pervasive in the industry and is now reflected in a blog boom where the biggest stars are 13 (and look 10).