Blogger Backlash at New York Fashion Week?

Sorry today’s post is a little behind friends, but something’s been bothering me that I wanted to talk with you about. At first I thought it had to do with fashion, but then I realized it’s a bit bigger than that. It all started when I read a few recent articles {including this one and this one} about New York Fashion Week. Apparently, many big designers are turning their backs on fashion week’s traditional hub, Lincoln Center, in favor of smaller, lesser-known and more out-of-the-way venues. The primary reason cited is that Lincoln Center had become “a circus,” taken over by “fashion industry voeyers.” Some articles went so far as to say the shows were being overrun by “posers” and “outsiders” and instead needed to return to being the exclusive experience reserved for “fashion’s elite” only.

Aka us “amateurs” of the blogging world need to be kicked out.

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Having attended fashion week a few times now, I’m certainly aware {and if I’m being totally honest, less than impressed by} the media circus it’s become. The primping and preening for the street style catwalk is definitely extreme, but really, what harm is anyone doing? If someone is willing to take and publish a blogger’s image, why shouldn’t she want to show off her style at fashion’s main event? I’m the first to admit I take great care in selecting a killer fashion week outfit and would die and go to fashion-heaven should I ever catch Bill Cunningham’s eye!

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But what I really take issue with is what this shift actually represents. It is a dig at bloggers as an industry. It’s a subversive way for fashion’s old guard to say “we think bloggers are unprofessional nuisances who delegitimize the world of serious fashion.” But the last time I checked, every major designer is looking to democratize their brands, make them more visible, more ubiquitous and more accessible to the masses than ever before. The bottom line is about making the sale. And no one helps a fashion brand do that more than bloggers! They push millions of dollars in merchandise every year, yet are too unseemly to be given a coveted seat at a fashion show?? I see it as a classic case of the traditional establishment being frightened by what they can’t control: change. And while yes, there are parts of the blogger frenzy that make New York Fashion Week feel a little cheap and cheesy, there is most often a true passion underneath all the outrageous outfits. At least there is for me!

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Having fun with style is one of the easiest ways to express yourself. And clothes can be really gorgeous. Sure you can snag a cheap trendy top any day of the week, but I firmly believe designers create wearable works of art that are worth saving up for. When I’m able to wear a beautifully crafted piece, I absolutely relish the experience. And attending my first New York Fashion Week was like taking a pilgrimage to sartorial mecca. Every moment was jaw-dropping, heartbeat-quickening inspiration. The energy, the drama and of course the clothes stunned me every single time. {Just look at those amazing prints by Mara Hoffman, how do you not swoon!} Experiencing a fashion show in person is like seeing a mini theatrical masterpiece.

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The lights go down, the music starts and beautiful art is paraded in perfect precision in front of your eyes. I’m like a giddy girl in a fashionable candy-store. When you have the chance to see pieces up close the intricacies are impossible to ignore. For a “fashion outsider” it was a moment to feel a part of it all and feel more inspired to support favorite designers {aka spend money on their work and tell you all about it!} than ever before. {That Nanette Lepore suit has my name all over it and I only wish I’d been at the Monique Lhuillier show in person – just check out these amazing looks + hello Anna Kendrick, aka my celebrity girl crush, in the front row!!}

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I’m sure every industry suffers from some elitism {we never really escape the high school mentality do we?}. But as a fashion fan, a fashion follower and a fashion consumer I take offense that I’ve arbitrarily been deemed “unworthy.” While perpetuating a “cool club” might help make the establishment feel a bit better about themselves, ignoring the wave of change that has shifted how so many of us think about style feels pretty short sighted to me. Today’s world is all about sharing personal experiences and perspective at every turn and that’s a good thing. It’s humanizing businesses, making us feel a part of the conversation and like we have some sort of role to play {real or imagined tbd}.

While fashion brands are happy to have you follow their social media streams, shouldn’t they bend over backward to get their messaging out to the masses through a blogger’s Instagram or two? Rather than dismiss the so-called amateurs, it might do the fashion world a bit of good to figure out how to play nice.

Ok, I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks for letting me share!

original photography {with a keen eye for style!} by Kat Harris for Apartment 34

12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Blogger Backlash at New York Fashion Week?

  1. Hi Erin!

    Bridal fashion week (Fashion Week’s less glamorous stepsister), at least for me, goes through similar shifts. It’s typically at the hands of a designer’s PR/event firm that’s handling the shows in that season – some PR firms think bloggers are really important, and some think they lower the brand’s perception. I used to take it really personally, but I’ve seen it swing back and forth, back and forth…as PR firms shift. 2009 was my first year at Bridal Fashion Week (BFW) – there truly were only a handful of wedding blogs out there at that time, and the reach of those blogs were interesting and sexy to the industry as a whole. Now, the space is very crowded (competition is good, I’m not complaining), and it’s really difficult for designers to accommodate every. single. person. with a wedding blog. So similar declarations and choices have been made in bridal, too.

    My experience at BFW has evolved, too, with the industry. Whereas 5 years ago I went to all the sexy shows and felt special, I now go to the shows of our advertisers, meet with those who put $ in our pockets, and rekindle relationships of industry friends that I don’t get to see save for BFW.

    I think being offended is a proper and normal reaction – and it’s up to you/us as bloggers to do something about it, which you are, by writing this post…kudos!

    For us, it’s about giving a lot of support to the designers that support us, that advertise with us, that stay in touch through the year. Just as bloggers are seemingly a dime a dozen, SO ARE FASHION DESIGNERS. Use your power to support those who support you most fiercely. It feels great, and that high school bullshit feeling really dissipates when while wedding bloggers are clamoring desperately to score that elusive invite to V*** W***’s (haha. cryptic) omgsoexclusiveprivateshowing, you’re having a glass of wine or a coffee with a designers that you have a mutually beneficial and supportive relationship with.

  2. Thanks for sharing! This is something that comes up every season, and I agree with you. Very well said! PS here’s my breathy opimio , should anyone care to read.
    Blogs offer people insight into “real life” scenes of a fashionable person’s life, style, and link back to product [hello,sales!]. Many bloggers are also somehow working in the art/fashion/design/commerce realm and do their blog as a hobby.
    I for one, aim not to hate, but to congratulate. As corny as that line is, I think e_commerce, blogs, social media + social commerce etc are the way fashion is heading. The circus is only just beginning, and I am for one, glad I have a front row seat, through the eyes of my fav style mavens – big editorial and bloggers alike. Xx

  3. Really well written article today. I have to agree with you. Fashion is wearable art and everyone should have the opportunity to gawk, covet or own to their hearts content. While I totally don’t consider myself a fashionista, I love that fashion week brings you the opportunity to take chances with your style. But let’s not pretend that designers are out to cure disease, they’re out for the money in the end and shouldn’t be so self important.

    <3 Vicki

  4. Well said, Erin. People often forget that some of these so called bloggers actually have full-time jobs outside of fashion and curating a beautiful ensemble in your off hours is a form of passion that does reach people who may not have the time or money to peruse a $30 Paris Vogue. It reaches the people that trust you and your opinion and isn’t that what marketing is all about?

  5. Alexandra

    Hi Erin

    I ve been following you for some time now and , regarding this post, I feel the need to say a few things. The same I think goes for tv shows, radio and any other media fully impacted by this rapid change in the world.
    While I fully agree with you, I cannot help to notice a few things tho…fashion is divided. Divided into fashion for the masses and “high” fashion….
    True, designers need to sell but the average person will not spend 300$ on jeans..so they don’t really care about it. They see mass blogging as a zara shirt. They are a dior shirt.

    • erin

      You make an excellent point Alexandra! I understand that the fashion I lust after is very aspirational, but it seems so short sighted of designers to dismiss bloggers as great messengers of the trends they’re creating. It will certainly trickle down to the Zara’s and Targets and influence the affordable fashions that abound. My biggest frustration is the lack of respect.

  6. Wonderful points! As someone who learned to love fashion, vs being a born fashionista, I feel that fashion bloggers in particular are some of the most influential and inspiring people in the fashion world because they make the elite, artwork you see on runways applicable for us every-day folk. You all educate the fashion illiterate in a way that designers, who are apparently looking to turn up their noses at bloggers, never have! You are the oh-so important curators in the world of fashionable art and explain how to relate to to the masterpieces and find a bit of our own interests and beauty in them.

    So forget the out-of-touch blogger critics and keep inspiring your readers, followers and loyal listeners every day!

  7. I totally agree with what you’ve said, however, I think part of the problem is that there are bloggers attending fashion week that aren’t covering much or any of what they have access to. It’s more about their outfit posts, or instagramming a trip to Laudree. Like you, I remember attending my first fashion show (at Bryant Park!), and being giddy with anticipation to see the clothes and the models, hear the music, see the styling, hair & makeup, etc. and how a designer’s vision came together for 10-15 amazing minutes. It is unfortunate that because of a few, bloggers as a whole have been lumped together as unprofessional nuisances when that’s clearly not true. Rather than stereotyping all of us, brands would do better to advance the industry and their own brands to investigate the bloggers more thoroughly and work with those who truly have point of view other than promoting themselves.
    also, kat’s photos are gorgeous!

    • erin

      I totally agree with you Kim! Sure, every blogger/editor/stylist rocks a great look to a show and may get snapped by the streetstyle paparazzi but too few bloggers have a serious conversation about what they saw at the shows!

  8. Jade

    Unfortunately “fashion” bloggers are not all created equal, especially when it comes to NYFW. There are blogs such as Ann Street Studio, which seek to show the ins and outs of fashion week by featuring the designers, runway shows, models, behind the scenes features etc. Then there are blogs that are filled with NYFW “selfies”, where the bloggers mainly post pictures of their own street-style outfits. I believe this distinction is perhaps why there is an apparent backlash by certain designers. I am though, certainly not seeking to critize those who consider themselves to be fashion bloggers. As I constantly draw my inspiration from many of the countless street-style and fashion blogs.

    I do agree that it’s short sighted for any designer to scorn those who are their biggest marketers. Bloggers. Designers no matter how influential they are, should be willing to embrace what may very well be their biggest advantage. No longer can they trade off reputation and name alone. Times are changing and adaptation is key. Designers who embrace social media and by extension bloggers will be far better off than those who don’t. Any opportunity missed is one that will ultimately cost. No matter if you are Dior or Zara.

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