There’s a lot of emotion swirling around recent rumors that bloggers will not be asked to participate in NYFW. While the blogosphere has gained traction within the industry, the fashion insiders have become leery of the kind of exposure that they provide may not be as desirable as retailers and designers first thought. After 5 years, it turns out that the blogger boom has busted.
The first round of bloggers to storm the front row were probably just as surprised as the Anna Wintours and Carine Roitfelds to find themselves front row instead of relegated to standing room only (or worse- uninvited). People like Bryan Boy and Tavi Gevinson made it. Their oddness, social isolation, and inventiveness are what sealed their fate.
They had the elusive ‘it’ factor that made people seek their opinions. They were shaping the tastes and opinions of their readers, and with each and every post both of these bloggers revealed a taste level far above the ordinary masses comprehension. Five years later, they’re both irreplaceable figures on the fashion landscape. The problem is the other million people that tried to rush in with them.
At this point, everyone thinks they have a valid fashion point of view. EVERYONE. Small children, plumbers, the cashier at the grocery store, the man who makes the donuts, your mom, your grandma, and anyone else with a webcam. Because EVERYONE has an opinion, now EVERYONE is expecting to receive some sort of reward for that opinion, no matter how uninformed, unbalanced, and unwelcome it may be. Now EVERYONE expects to go to Fashion Week in New York- and to be honest there is just no room.
The fashion explosion is kind of like the tech bubble or the housing boom, or the collapse of the banking industry. When EVERYONE wants to do the same thing, that field gets overcrowded. When that field gets overcrowded, it starts to dilute the power of the people voicing the opinions. EVERYONE knows everything, and that devalues the information. EVERYONE cannot go to Fashion Week- whether it be NY, Paris, London, or Milan. Why? Because it’s just not necessary. Too many amateur opinions spoil the whole thing and drags fashion off of its pedestal. And that can’t happen.
We need fashion professionals, people who are invested in keeping up the standards of the items produced and to monitor the creative output of fashion designers. We need professional models to wear the clothing, showing it to best advantage so that we can see the possibilities and dream of ourselves wearing the same thing. We need professional photographers to create dreamlike fashion spreads in exotic locations produced for magazines. We need their imaginative ideas about accessorizing; we need fashion editors to round up shoes and belts to show us what’s out there.
Why should I, or anyone, trust a fashion blogger with limited access and a limited worldview- when I can open a professionally produced magazine and see EVERYTHING and be inspired by professionals who live the lives depicted?
I think that bloggers need to be carefully vetted before receiving invitations. There may also need to be an agreement that the blogger will delay coverage somewhat to stymie rip-off artists. Also, is the blogger just another freeloading tourist looking for goodie bags and celebrity sightings?
Let’s be real- if you’re not someone like Alexa Curtis– who’s writing appears on Huffington Post and Parade Magazine.com, who models and regularly appears on TV, and who was recently spotted on Soulcycle’s blog touting her own original smoothie recipe- who’s working feverishly to build credibility, then maybe you don’t deserve to get a free pass to fashion insider status.
Fashion is a billion dollar business built on dreams.It’s about the shows, the clothes, what’s new, and what’s amazing. If you’re just gonna run around in your Forever 21 crap, kicking holes in the gossamer walls that separate that world from cold hard reality, then stay home.
*All photos by Faith Bowman, taken at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center during NYFW.