September 23, 2016
Shots were fired this week in the fashion world.
In a recap of Milan Fashion Week on Vogue.com, a handful of Vogue editors took aim at “pathetic” and “desperate” fashion bloggers who are “heralding the death of style.” The editors even chastised the bloggers for constantly posting to and checking their social media feeds and not enjoying the experience of the actual fashion shows, especially “considering what else is going on in the world.” Clearly it was hate-on-blogger day, because getting lost in your phone is a much bigger cultural issue.
The rub is that Vogue is trying to have it both ways. Some of the bigger fashion bloggers have already started firing back at Vogue, and I’m taking their side.
First, the controversial article calls out bloggers several times for wearing clothes they’re getting paid to wear, both on the street and in the front row. Coming from a publication that’s almost entirely reliant on ad dollars, and the ever-increasing blur between advertising and editorial, this comment seems quite hypocritical. Bloggers borrowing clothes from designers for their Instagram photos in return for a tag hardly seems different than editors borrowing clothes for their photo shoots for an in-mag credit. Blogger Bryan Boy retorted today on Twitter, “I’d have a bounty for my head if I namechecked all the editors who told me they only go to certain shows because they’re advertisers.” If Vogue doesn’t bite the hand that feeds them, why should bloggers?
I'd have a bounty for my head if I namechecked all the editors who told me they only go to certain shows because they're advertisers.
— bryanboy (@bryanboy) September 26, 2016
In one of the more puzzling of the catty comments, Vogue.com’s chief critic slammed the bloggers for changing multiple times throughout the day and posing for street style photographers outside of each show. I’ll spare you all the photos of the Vogue editors posing for street style photographers (there are many), and instead point out that street style snaps of these bloggers are all over Vogue.com and Vogue’s social media channels. So, in a great plot twist, even though the editors might not like it, these street style photos drive traffic, which boost ad rates, which pay for said editor’s salary. Fashion blogger Shea Marie offered up an interesting anecdote today, calling attention to the fact the most commented post on Vogue’s Instagram channel (by a “landslide”) is a photo of her and another blogger snapped outside the tents at New York Fashion Week.
— Shea Marie (@peaceloveSHEA) September 27, 2016
Using photos of said “pathetic” fashion bloggers on social channels and online is really only the tip of the iceberg, however. The practice also extends to the coveted cover of the Vogue print issue. Italian-born blogger Chiara Ferragni has graced the cover of Vogue Spain, Vogue Turkey and Vogue Mexico. And fashion bloggers are really just social influencers (since not all of them blog much anymore), a title that easily extends to the likes of the Hadid sisters and the Kardashians. Both Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian have graced the covers of American Vogue, as well as numerous international Vogue covers. Again, we see social influencers boosting the Vogue business. Nothing “embarrassing” about that.
Finally, just three weeks ago during New York Fashion Week, Vogue hosted a intimate, invite-only party in partnership with fashion label Anne Klein (presumably an advertiser). Fashion bloggers were the only ones Vogue invited, and each attendee went home with a gold watch. Seems like different people within Vogue must look at influencers differently, huh?
Overall, this entire argument from Vogue reeks of an establishment resistant to changing times. I doubt bloggers will be “the death of style,” but denying the changing ways their readers are gathering style inspiration might lead to the death of something for Vogue.