Well who’d have thunk it? Six years ago today, I started a fashion blog. This very one, in fact, albeit on a Blogspot platform with a slightly clunky white-text-on-black-background layout. If you scroll back far enough, you can see my early posts; embarrassing though they are, I’ve not deleted them as it’s good to remember the journey.
My six year anniversary coincides with a pithy New York Times T Magazine story by Suzy Menkes lamenting the blog mob and the changes in fashion media and critiquing. Do read it, it’s certainly thought provoking. Alas, Menkes does come across as slightly jaded in her disapproval. Flagging up the common practice of ‘bloggers’ (read: the Fashion Week style blogger elite) who get photographed in next season’s looks, often gifted by designers in exchange for coverage, she reminds us that real reporters don’t play the gifting game (or ‘bribery’ as she puts it). It’s a funny one I admit. On the one hand, why not help give young designers exposure by wearing their clothes, if it will give them a leg-up and boost your visual presence as well? On the other hand, when the pre- and post-show peacocking starts to get more attention than the shows themselves, then that clearly signals a change in how things are working. Is it dumbing down though? or is it just an evolution in how fashion is seen and consumed now?
Six years ago, no-one even considered any of this stuff. As a phenomenon, it simply didn’t exist yet. Instagram didn’t exist, Vine didn’t exist, Twitter was in its infancy and Anna Dello Russo was just another jobbing fashion editor. How would fashion have weathered the recessions were it not for fashion blogs, Fashion Week street style and the powerful role they played in opening up the fashion industry to the masses? More pertinent still; where will fashion, blogging and the street style strutters be in another six years time? I guess that’s for us to witness, while documenting the process…
Thanks for the last six years of support!
Image: Stefania Yarhi/Textstyles – NYT
Check this out! I was really chuffed to be asked to be featured in the March issue of Elle Decoration (along with Shini and Fred) talking about design, blogging and homesy things. I nearly turned it down as I don’t really like having to
tidy up my crap pose for photos but … Elle Deco, people!!! And lovely Tara Darby did a great job with the pictures, while Talib Choudhry did well to to edit my ramblings into something coherent. Also, gotta love the fact that Fred, Shini and I all included Susie Bubble (AKA the patron saint of UK fashion blogging – ha!) in our top three must-read blogs.
The Twittersphere went mental last Friday, at UK Vogue’s announcement of the forthcoming launch of Miss Vogue (first issue to be sold with the June Vogue). I’m thrilled too. I love Vogue, I love Teen Vogue, I love teenagers, I think I’ll like Miss Vogue. But from a news point of view, this is why it’s interesting…
1) It’s youth-focussed
My background is in teen mags. I had the funnest time of my life working in the ‘young women’s market’ but towards the end, we found young people just weren’t buying our magazine. Or any teen mag. J17, Elle Girl, Sugar all tried to last in print but couldn’t. Partly because we found that teenagers just read their mum’s mags (Grazia, Heat, Vogue) or weren’t reading magazines at all, they got all their information online.
2) It’s a print mag
Magazines are dying! Oh no they’re not! Vogue launching a new print magazine is news indeed. I always maintain that young people don’t have the ‘nostalgia’ of print and instinctively gravitate to online, especially now with such incredible mobile platforms. If Vogue is launching a magazine for young people, I’m sure the package will include web and mobile apps. But I really hope they can prove that young people are interested enough in print too.
3) It’s a new launch
You’d think the fashion content market was saturated by now, especially with all the blurring going on between editorial publications and commercial publications. With ASOS, H&M and Topshop all regularly producing excellent, free magazines, what more can Miss Vogue possibly have to offer?
I guess the important thing here is Authority. I’ve just been watching this great 2000 documentary on Anna Wintour in which she maintains that Vogue stands for excellence. Vogue is known as the authority on fashion – even now. And as the media and fashion worlds have become democratised, suddenly everyone has a voice and a point of view. While other young women’s magazines like Look and Company have embraced bloggers and readers’ input, Vogue is still very much about the editors’ view. And I think there is still a place for that. Maybe more so than ever before.
I love what French label Lahssan has been doing with its deconstructed trench coats, favourited by the Tommy Tom set (Elisa Nalin, Natalie Joos et al) and influential stores like The Shop at Bluebird, Opening Ceremony and 10 Corso Como Tokyo).
To take his influence further, designer Dryce (one name only) has collaborated with Riviera heritage brand Façonnable to produce a capsule line of fun macs in Lichtenstein-esque primary-hued stripes. And naturally, he enlisted Tommy Ton and Elisa Nalin to shoot, style and model the look book. Watch out for the line when it arrives in Spring…
Chanel’s ready to wear doesn’t always do it for me but the accessories are a different story altogether. SS13’s surpass themelves – these Lego-esque Boy Brick box clutches are future collectibles, while the triple-strapped shoes have the right mix of fabulosity and femininity. And my favourite piece of jewellery is this huge ‘pearl’ bangle which fastens with a powerful magnet. Wonderful, no?
Considering fashion and style blogging has been around for well over five years (this blog started in 2007), it’s odd how few books there are on the subject. Susie Lau and William Oliver have compiled Style Feed (published by Prestel), a brick of a tome documenting some of the most influential players in the global bloggersphere. Ordered chronologically, The Man Repeller, Vanessa Jackman, Style Rookie, Business Of Fashion and Advanced Style are included and (yay!) I get a good few pages too – thanks a million Susie!
Style Feed is available exclusively in-store at Urban Outfitters or online at Amazon and there’s a big old celebratory bash happening tomorrow at Urban Outfitters Spitalfields, which everyone’s invited to. One of the baddest-ass bloggers of them all, Fred Butler (also in the book obv) will be DJing. I might have to mug her for one of these.
More LFW extra-curricular activity came in the guise of the Shopbop Apartment in one of three spanking new-build apartment blocks next to the Tate Modern. In case you missed it, etailer Shopbop.com just unveiled its slick new site (with this v jolly video featuring cameos from New York’s funnest fashion luvvies) which now has bigger images, a redesigned mobile site, better sharing options and lots more editorial. Continue reading
Alongside the official London Fashion Week show schedule, there were all manner of extra curricular activities going on. My week kicked off with a breakfast at The Shop At Bluebird to launch Brazil Rising, a pop-up shop curated by Alice Ferraz. Alice is the owner of F*hits, Brazil’s super-blogger platform, but she’s something of a dynamo herself. Continue reading
INTERVIEW: Natalie Joos for Coach, plus her thoughts on casting, street style and the politics of New York Fashion Week
The last couple of months has seen a tipping point for multi-skilled digital creatives luxuriating in the limelight. Garance Dore has just collaborated with Kate Spade, as well as penning her first Vogue Paris column, as well as modelling in the Net-a-Porter campaign. Continue reading
My first introduction to German etailer Zalando came via Uslu Airlines make-up. Trying to find an online stockist for some nail polish a year ago led me to this multi-brand site that also sells a mind-boggling array of international fashion labels. Now, alongside the likes of Equipment, Filippa K, Moschino and Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, it also boasts its own in-house line, Zalando Collection. To celebrate the launch of the second collection I was flown to Berlin to co-host an event with Amlul and Lesmads. Continue reading