There has always been a sort of tense relationship between the old fashion journalism and the new. This, as many are already aware, turned into a real war of words recently as US Vogue lashed out at bloggers describing them as “pathetic”, “desperate” and “embarrassing”. It wasn’t just one writer but most of the main Vogue staff who participated in this name-calling including its news editor, chief critic and creative digital director.
WHAT VOGUE’S EDITORS HAD TO SAY ABOUT BLOGGERS
The magazine’s creative digital director Sally Singer kicked off the debate in a discussion at Milan fashion week. She said: “Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe paid-to-wear outfits every hour: please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style”. Sarah Mower, Vogue’s chief online critic, chimed in to add: “The professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographers’ swarm who attend them, is horrible but most of all pathetic for these girls, when you watch how many times the desperate troll up and down outside shows, in traffic, risking accidents even, in hopes of being snapped.”
Vogue’s bitter words feel like a deliberate attempt to undermine bloggers. It like they do not seem to understand that fashion writing, particularly blogging, has changed a lot in the last decade. In the past, bloggers were just young amateurs aspiring to be journalists at a big fashion magazine – one like Vogue perhaps! But we aren’t just people sat at the kitchen table writing from the outside looking in anymore. By having fresh, diverse and youthful voices different from the usual journalists many of us have become just as influential in the industry as a magazine like Vogue. One blogger, Chiara Ferragni, even appeared on the cover of Vogue Spain, as well as many other Conde Nast magazines, because she has become so influential. How ironic!
WHY THE TIMES ARE CHANGING AND BLOGGING IS BECOMING MORE INFLUENTIAL
A lot of the criticism was directed at the way some bloggers make money through paid-to-wear outfits. The fashion news editor for Vogue’s website said the “whole practice of paid appearances and borrowed outfits” was “gross”. However, bloggers have to make money somehow seeing as it is free to access their websites and social media profiles. This is just the modern equivalent of advertising. By having close relationships with brands we can help advertise their products in a way that uses our online reach and social media presence. It is not like magazine articles are never influenced by brand advertisers!
The fashion influencer, stylist and designer Shea Marie, who has over a million followers on Instagram, said it best when she responded: “The only thing that is ‘pathetic’ here is this jealous, catty and hypocritical article you’ve just published. You are exactly the type of people that have given the fashion world the cold, unwelcoming and ruthless reputation it has had in the past. Thankfully those times are changing. I would think an institution such as Vogue would respect young entrepreneurs instead of belittling them.”
CAN FASHION EDITORS AND BLOGGERS HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH MUTUAL RESPECT?
It is disappointing to read the editors of a fashion magazine like Vogue undermine the hard work and success of many bloggers. They seem to want to divide people between the rookies who have made a name for themselves online and the real journalists who work for a respected brand like Vogue. But there is no difference between the two any longer. We are all in the same trade, all writing about the same things we love. Maybe it is time for the magazine to accept that today it is just a different world from the one when they began.