The Real Debate: Vogue vs. Bloggers
Let me start off by saying that I may be a bit biased on this topic.
A brief review: A recent Vogue article entitled Ciao Milano! Vogue.com's Editors Discuss the Week That Was caused an uproar in the fashion industry when readers pointed out that contributor Alessandra Codinha called out bloggers for being "bought-and-paid-for", essentially accusing them of being biased and false members of the fashion community.
As a blogger myself, it was a hard pill to swallow. The publication that I've looked up to for as long as I've loved this industry had come out and bashed the very career (or hobby, depending on how you look at it) that had fostered my interest in fashion. In this nonchalant article, Vogue had found a way to exclude myself and others like me, from the fashion narrative.
I think it is worth discussing the role of bloggers in the fashion space. As we continue to be surrounded by magazines with millennial meccas on the cover, headlines boldly declaring "INSTAGIRLS" or "SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTARS", bloggers have come to be another point of access to the inner circle of the industry for those of us without an invitation. They have a wide range of viewpoints, from luxury to high-low, from basic style shots to runway commentary; it's safe to say that bloggers are not one-size-fits-all.
Bloggers make their money through ad space, brand partnerships and yes free swag. When Alessandra says that bloggers only have access to high fashion because they draw eyes to the brand that is lending clothes to them - she is correct. That is called PR, my friends, and it is not against the law.
To be perfectly clear: editors of magazines do the exact same thing. They are flown to private showings of new collections, gifted clothes to wear as they sit front-row (to the thousands of paparazzi shutter clicks and not-so-secret glee of designers) and do not disclose these perks, although they themselves write for journalistic publications. If anything, it is the editors who should be held more accountable for being "bought-and-paid-for".
Bloggers (most of them anyway) are not journalists. They are not, and should not be, held to a standard of complete impartiality. They are influencers with large followings who brands pay to wear their clothing - a walking, talking advertisement if you will. Yes, this is what bloggers do, but that doesn't mean that they too aren't a significant part of the fashion-verse.
If we are to buy into the idea that certain models and celebrities deserve to be on the covers of magazines simply because of their inflated social media followings, then we must also buy into the idea of bloggers as reflections of the fashion industry. Social media, and all other internet-related forms of communication that come along with it, is integral to our society and to the generation that will soon be the main consumers of high fashion. It is time to get on board with those who have mastered this arena.
I have a theory that Alessandra (and I'm sure many others like her) holds a distaste for bloggers because they are "other". Because they were not born into the kind of money that can afford Gucci, or did not enter the industry in a traditional way, they will never be a part of the proverbial fashion world to these members of the upper-echelon. Like you and I, they are outsiders, no matter how far up the ladder they climb.
And to that I say, screw it. Fashion doesn't need to be exclusive or restrictive to be an art form. The industry is becoming more accessible, in large part thanks to the bloggers that Vogue is so quick to brush off, and I could not be happier about the direction fashion is moving in.