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Fashion is a language that is conveyed through material objects. It is a universal phenomenon that impacts society in ways of wonder. Fashion news is what dominates the entertainment industry. Women want to know the latest trend off the runway. They want to dress like celebrities, who are more famous for what they wear than they are for what they do.
Style and photography become the spoken word for fashion. The pages of fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar or Marie Claire speak volumes about what clothes or accessories mean. They are filled with pages of looks that women admire and want to embody.
Throughout the history of fashion media, print magazines have been the money making tool behind the fashion industry. Magazines have worked as a mediator between consumers and fashion labels. Fashion journalists, writers, and editors have been the main voice behind the conversation on the pages of magazines.
Their critics have channeled readers’ thoughts and views on what is fashion or anti-fashion. Yet, with the invention of digital technology and the rise of social media anyone can now have a voice in fashion. The advancement of technology has entailed traditional style of fashion journalism to shift to a new type of citizen journalism. Consumers who were once obliged to subscribe to magazines in order to get updates on “in” trends, can now go online, click on a blog and get free fashion news faster than a magazine can print a page.
With information being shared at light speed, fashion fanatics no longer have to be limited to the pages of a magazine, or to the opinions of critics. Anyone can start their own fashion blog, and critique trends, fashion labels, brands or celebrities based on what they think should be fashion. They do not need to go get a journalism degree, or receive prestigious awards to have a say in what goes on in fashion. They also do not need years of experience of working for a credible fashion publication to become a recognized fashion contributor. They just need a touch of populism in order to get a large reader base for their blog, and if they are talented enough, they can be famous overnight regardless of their education, their age, or where they live.
Tavi Gevinson, who founded thestylerookie.com/ approximately 5 years ago at the age of 11, is a perfect example of such fame. With over 13 million views and counting, she has worked hard to land her permanent front row seat at fashion week.
Bryan Boy of bryanboy.com/is another male blogger who has had great luck with blogging fame. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs designed a piece in his collection after the blogger.
According to the New York Times,
“Marc Jacobs was the first designer to sense the power of multimedia. When he named a bag after Bryanboy in 2008, he made the blogger’s name, and turned on an apparently unending shower of designer gifts, which are warmly welcomed at bryanboy.com.”
The question is how do fashion journalists feel about the emergence of bloggers?
Suzy Menkes, fashion critic for New York Times, states her astonishment at the blogging industry:
“Adhering to the time-honored journalistic rule that reporters don’t take gifts (read: bribes), I am stunned at the open way bloggers announce which designer has given them what. There is something ridiculous about the self-aggrandizement of some online arbiters who go against the mantra that I was taught in my earliest days as a fashion journalist: “It isn’t good because you like it; you like it because it’s good.”
In addition to receiving free clothes, and fashion week goodies, Tavi Gevinson spoke openly about turning blogging in to a making money opportunity in her interview with fashionista.com.
The rivalry between journalists and bloggers has also been apparent at fashion week. When 11 year old Tavi Gevinson wore a large pink Dior bow hat to fashion week, and happened to block the view of a journalist seated behind her all hell broke loose.
The digital age has forced fashion magazines to adjust and adapt to a new way of communication. The internet provides the immediacy that print publications cannot. In addition, the blogosphere has contributed to the decentralization of fashion by taking power and exclusivity from fashion professionals and distributing it to fashion consumers. How big a threat is this to journalists who make their money through in-print publishing, and will this result in the collapse of the magazine industry in the near future?