Fashion’s final countdown to Armageddon has begun. The colour green is in vogue; metaphorically speaking. Green with envy at the inroads that bloggers are making into the fashion world; As Vogue editors ended Milan Fashion Week by declaring all-out war on bloggers.
Sally Singer,Vogue’s creative digital director finished off her fashion show review with a personal appeal to bloggers; which read, “bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style". Sally chose her words carefully as fashion is transient whereas style is eternal rendering her attack. As if Sally’s dig wasn’t enough, all the fashion editors joined forces against bloggers in their reviews of Milan Fashion Week. Vogue writer Sarah Mower, stinging remarks described street-style stars as “desperate … risking accidents, even, in hopes of being snapped”. Nicole Phelps, adopted a scatter gun approach by criticising brands who participate and encourage such behaviour of bloggers; “women who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes.”
Alessandra Codinha dropped the atom bomb devastating bloggers’ raison d’etre by predicting that “people will wise up to how particularly gross the whole practice of paid appearances and borrowed outfits looks. Looking for style among a bought-and-paid-for front row is like going to a strip club looking for romance.” Ouch!
This critique, of bloggers’ attendance at MFW was itself published on the online blog at vogue.com. Which begs the question as to what is the difference between writing as a blogger and as an editor? Ironically bloggers have recently been featured on the front covers of magazines like Cosmopolitan and even Vogue itself.
The front row seats at Milan Fashion Week were packed with bloggers so the realization that bloggers are now consumers’ paramount fashion inspiration must have dawned on the editors. Long gone are the days when brands fought over editors attention. It all comes down to business for brands; and it seems that bloggers’ influence as a whole is greater than that of editors. Why would brands favour an editor to review a collection, when a blogger sitting in the exact same seat wearing and sharing the collection with thousands of followers can sway fashion enthusiasts into becoming fashion consumers.
Bloggers are everywhere, there’s thousands, turning the streets into a daily catwalk. Bloggers’ huge following and relatability can create a tsunami of sales; and their selling power has been recognised by all and sundry.
Fashion editors of note however are few and far between; indeed too few to represent the many nuances of taste. An editor on the cover of a magazine would cause most consumers to pause for thought before putting the name to the face; which name in itself is generally regarded at best as belonging on the inside cover.
Bloggers and Editors have a lot in common, both being fashion mavens, they write and express their opinions under well-established names. If the film the Devil Wears Prada is anything to go by, editors have a sense of power and self-worth achieved as they fought to establish themselves, which led them to being considered authoritative in both style and substance in a way that bloggers cannot.
Editors’ personalities, are however secondary and overshadowed by the reputable name of the magazine. Everyone knows Vogue, the fashion bible; yet most are unable to name specific writers of the magazine.
Bloggers’ personalities take centre stage; representing their own name and brand, they purport to write what they want and how they want. If someone knows the blog, they most certainly know the person, the blogger behind it.
Bloggers are relatable, their street-style replicable and their recommendations reliable. Consumers have gradually grown disenchanted with the idealised model promoting fashion, bloggers have come into their own by purporting to represent real women. They have the full support of their followers who admire their every step.
Even British Vogue took a leaf out of bloggers’ book this November by featuring only real women; with no professional models in the editorials but not the ads, which make up most of the magazine anyway…Talk of shopping for romance?
Bloggers are however jeopardising their unique selling point; their credibility. Just what is relatable when bloggers are being swamped by brands’ fashion freebies day in day out. Bloggers who over endorse goods that are gifted and not actually bought, risk their losing their perceived objectivity on brands or products.
You might think that hell hath no fury like a fashion editor scorned; but Vogue editors, are justified in pulling bloggers up on this and it’s only a matter of time before consumers catch on too. That trusted opinion and reliable source, will be no longer.
Editors have however now broken cover; if most of us couldn’t put a name to Vogue’s fashion editors; you certainly can now and maybe even a face to those editors’ names. Editors, and especially those at Vogue have always had the reputation of being the "Mean Girls" in fashion. Unlike bloggers, editors never set out to identify with or represent the real woman; at least insofar as this refers to the average woman. So editors have incidentally enhanced and emphasised their own superciliousness.
The editors have employed diversionary tactics to reclaim pole position at the top of the fashion tree which they regard as their rightful place. Their attack on bloggers has diverted attention right back to themselves.
Bloggers presence is indisputable; their street-style overshadowing the catwalk shows and reaching thousands of people instantly. Influencer marketing costs being a fraction of that of traditional PR, bloggers provide brands with a cheaper alternative to a spread in Vogue. They are turning towards bloggers because just like the editors themselves, they know that the association with a blogger, good or bad can get you the attention you long for.
So yes in this digital age, bloggers seem to have everything going for them. Bloggers who continue to favour quantity over quality will have an expiry date for brands using them as a marketing scheme. Consumers although, irrational, will wise up to being influenced by bloggers.
Fashion has always had links with the art world and perhaps the intrinsic value of established editors like that of traditional oil paintings will endure, whereas the appeal of individual bloggers will come and go just like pop art. Editors will continue to have a huge impact on the fashion industry, due to their exclusivity and objectivity in the fashion world.
So enough of editors’ envy and bloggers’ bluster. It's time for a truce; or at least to call a ceasefire to avoid collateral damage to the fashion industry.