I’m on the BFC’s new blogger panel

The British Fashion Council has been doing innovative things for Fashion Week for the past few years, including installing those Vodafone phone chargers on the front row, live streaming most of the shows and initiating numerous consumer-focussed Fashion Week projects (have you seen the Oxford Street flags?).

I’m happy to be part of the latest one, a relaunch of the BFC blog portal and a brand new bloggers panel. The BFC has recognised a need for this as the number of blogger registrations for LFW increase season on season. (Last season there were 2000 blogger applications for Fashion Week accreditation.) Let’s not be coy, the BFC has had its ups and downs with bloggers since it first started inviting us to Fashion Week. (Full disclosure: I have always applied to LFW as a freelancer, since I have been attending since before blogging was a twinkle in the World Wide Web’s eye.)

Its ‘blogger bar’ was well intentioned, but was quickly over-run by visitors checking their Facebook messages. Then there was the press office debacle in which bloggers were shooed out lest they steal all the pastries. Plus we’ve all had the experience of being sent a standing ticket (along with 200 other bloggers) that winds around the block resulting in a crap view of the runway or worse, a “sorry we’re full to capacity”. All this unrest has meant many of the serious bloggers have given up on Fashion Week as they felt they weren’t welcome. So the aim of the panel is to help the BFC compile an official blogger accreditation list, while providing guidance on how non-accredited bloggers can still be part of LFW.

It’s all in the very early stages but on the blog portal we’re aiming for daily highlights videos, access to images, plus Fashion Scout and London Fashion Weekend info. For accredited bloggers, we’re discussing better work spaces, storage facilities, increased Wifi bandwidth and possibly an off-site press lounge. As I said, it will take a while but it’s a start. Clearly the BFC recognises the value that bloggers bring in communicating our content to global audiences so this is a great opportunity to work together to further that cause.

Any feedback/questions, do comment below!

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10 Responses to I’m on the BFC’s new blogger panel

  1. Kb says:

    It’s great that they’ve started to work with bloggers more but I still haven’t been accredited after seven seasons there? Going to LFW definitely helped me to learn a sense of professionalism and more about the industry but by looking at the portal, have they only accredited around 50 bloggers?

  2. Disneyrollergirl says:

    Thanks for the feedback Kristabel, will get back to you with the answer…

  3. Ondo Lady says:

    LFW has changed an awful lot since the days when it was at the Natural History Museum and the event is barely recognisable. The blogger influx has been overwhelming for all of us and clearly for the BFC. Although we have had our ups and downs it is great to see them launching such a positive initiative. With you guys onboard I am sure we will see a much more efficient vetting system in place,

  4. jane kellock says:

    I think this is a great idea and one of the things the bloggers panel needs to consider is whether the content that the accredited bloggers create is relevant and necessary.
    What irks me, is when I see badly written posts and terrible images that are of no relevance to either the blog reader or the designer. Because the shows are so far ahead of the market designers needs to think about the quality, not the quantity of the press they receive. Also I wonder whether whether consumer focused blogs need to have catwalk coverage or if designers should have smaller, close to season blogger events?
    In these days of increased social media, I wonder if we are taking away the excitement and mystery of fashion (see todays post on TWR).

  5. Kb says:

    Thanks for your reply Navaz. It was never my intention to cover LFW when I started blogging but when I found out I could get a pass in 2009, it was like a dream come true as I was studying fashion. Although my coverage was shocking at first with blurry photos and the like, each season I’ve figured out the best way to cover the experience whether it’s by a detail shot of a shoe or a snap of a model off duty outside the show. I’m not the biggest blogger by any means but I don’t go to the cobbles just to get snapped and I try my hardest to cover the shows in the best way I can. I see some bloggers on the panel/portal who aim to be more of a socialite rather than talking about the actual shows and that irks me. I don’t mind when changes are put in place but there needs to be a bit more communication (when the blogger pass was first introduced, I didn’t find out until the first day). You can see all my previous coverage here:

  6. SJP says:

    I was reading about the strategy earlier this week – realistically I think LFW accreditation does need to go to the bloggers that will benefit from it and whose readers will get the most out of it – a personal style blog that posts self-styled outfits 360 days a week doesn’t really need accreditation. Blogs that champion local/national designers and focus more on fashion news and commentary are more ‘worthy’ of a spot at FWs, in my opinion. Congrats on being part of the pannel!

  7. Disneyrollergirl says:

    Hi KB, I checked for you and the blog portal hasn’t been updated yet with the blogs that have been accredited for this season. But yes, there are 50 accredited UK blogs and 15 international blogs which will feature on the portal.

    The criteria for coverage is not necessarily fashion show reportage but more that the blog is seen to be supporting and promoting BFC and LFW designers throughout the season. I can’t answer for the panel but I believe some of those ‘socialites’ do actually drive a lot of awareness (and even sales) for British designers so however much we might dislike them, they do serve a purpose.

  8. Duck says:

    Eeeek well it’s nice they’re finally trying to do something positive… Is this all down to Natalie?

    But, and I know you might not agree with me since you’re involved, doesn’t this seem a bit too little and a bit too late? I mean, nobody (press, buyers and bloggers included) requires BFC accreditation to attend the shows, they just need invitations from the brands or PRs. And the majority of brands and PRs already know who the influential bloggers are for them, I would imagine (and most likely, they aren’t the ones taking beautiful photos or writing essays, they’re the pretty girls instagramming themselves in the front row). I mean 15 international blogs?! I can think of 30 international socialite-look-at-me girl bloggers alone who get invited to big shows. It just all sounds like an out-dated “solution” and an attempt to be seen to be doing something which isn’t actually a problem.

  9. Duck says:

    Soz, further to my previous comment:

    I just looked on the blog portal side and was amazed to find amongst the very small number of blogs they link to two which are essentially shut down (and have been for about 6 months) and one where they have misspelled the name. Great work there, BFC.

  10. Disneyrollergirl says:

    Hey duck, where ya been hiding?

    Yes it is a little late but I appreciate that the BFC wants to make blogging work for it in the same way as traditional press.

    Yes, some PRs already have their favourite bloggers with whom they have good relationships, but as we both know there are still a few who don’t (know how to) work with bloggers. Hopefully this will change that. For those not accredited, there will also be guidelines on ways to support British designers during the rest of the year, so they can still get great content. I think this is particularly useful for new bloggers who don’t have PR contacts or know how to get them. It’s very early days but this aims to be a 360 win-win for bloggers, PRs, designers and the BFC.

    Re your comment about the blog portal. I believe that’s yet to be overhauled.

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