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The Debate Continues: Elle Editors Discuss Fashion Blogs

By fashionstake · April 7, 2010 · 0 Comments ·

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).

By Mary Egbula
Source: Fashionologie, Panel photo via Twitter @mischeriedior

Tagged with: Elle Magazine, blogs
posted by

fashion theorists shouldn't be upset by the bloggers; what bloggers do is utilize the "art and culture" - if a theoretic feels threatened by a practitioner, the former needs to lift the standards of her/his work... I think :-)

posted by

Everything is getting turned upside down as revenues continue to plummet in print publications, and online ventures continue to garner new and free bloggers. If there is protest, it's not only because the long arduous path they took led to a position of privilege --the best seats at a show, meetings with designers, a sneak peak at look books. And all of this is threatened. They find themselves with upstarts, and yes, that's got to hurt.

The blogosphere--for lack of a better word, has leveled the playing field somewhat. But fashion editors shouldn't think they are the only ones with a gripe.

There is not a single area in journalism that has NOT changed, be it fashion, politics, culture, literature and art. These were the exclusive domain of those with traditional historical grounding and journalistic training, and for only the price of one's own time, anyone can get in a voice their opinion. A few, even make money.


Slowy is correct. That kid's writing isn't much, but what he has is a voice that people like to read. And never let it be forgotten that blogging --above all else, is a form of conversation. So, in a world of 144 character tweets, what people are looking for is something quick, easy to read, catchy, snarky, playful, uplifting ---quite simply they want to be moved.

The downfall of all the "chatter," is that the majority of bloggers bad and good writers do it for free. For people like Ann Slowey, this is the downfall for anyone whose livelihood depends on content creation.
And that's a real problem for anyone with a knowledge that is deep, based on experience, research, and lots of time devoted to the topic.

posted by

And may I add.... the bloggers are here to stay. Eventually, the cream rises to the top. However, not everyone in the publishing industry will be able to stay in the game. it's one that is constantly changing, evolving, and only those who can adapt will be able to make a living. Some of those who have hiked the traditional path, might in fact be thoughtful, possess the knowledge and have an irreplaceable sense of history. But, in this fast changing world, they also might also not have a voice that moves, exictes, brings people together or energizes. They may not be able to cultivate or hold a legion of readers. For better or worse, that's what stands out now.

posted by

Let's just not forget that fashion is about wearing and not talking/writing/thinking ;)
The "stuff" from the world of dreams and ideas has to translate into something tangible to "get a life". In that sense, bloggers are no competition to fashion ideologists (the real ones). Even when bloggers decides to share thoughts, they are well aware that rarely someone reads carefully and if it happens - no one is taking them seriously. This is why fashion bloggers rely on big pictures, not on lengthy texts to keep their visitors happy :)

posted by

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