“In my heart, I would wish for young designers not to get hooked on this fascinating but dangerous game. There may be an instant buzz, but I think that a long and steady read – for example, as for Alber Elbaz at Lanvin – is the way to lasting fashion happiness.” Suzy Menkes said it best. As Frida Giannini vacates Gucci, Menkes laments the fashion merry-go-round, Vogue.com
“Increasingly over the past couple of seasons, the backstage areas of shows normally reserved for post-show interviews with the designers have been rammed with a certain type of show-goers eager to take selfies with the designers. While some designers are tolerant and patiently oblige, it’s a tendency which has resulted in camera bans and buffed up security backstage at other shows where designers are less keen to play celebrity and fashion.”
Anders Christian Madsen, i-D on fashion and social media
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…