by Barb on February 6, 2011
In the event that you may not have heard, Franca Sozzani had written an entry on her blog at Vogue Italia about fashion bloggers, discussing whether or not they are a “culture phenomenon or an epidemic issue.” The entry has sparked some entry amongst other fashion blogs, such as on The Scoop or The Cut. Albeit the editor-in-chief does pose some excellent questions on the importance given to bloggers, but also seems to propose some misconceptions and pose open-ended questions.
Even though Sozzani may come off as one that wants to maintain the front row at fashion shows for the traditional editor and journalist, she does have a point with regards to the astounding amount of celebrity and status given to some bloggers; perhaps one of such that Sozzani has in mind is Tavi Gevinson (aka the 13 year old blogger). We, as readers, are amused by all the vivid images that are captured, and thus are the ones aiding in the immediate catapult of success. But does it all really warrant a ticket straight to the front row? Not exactly.
You could go so far to say that it is earned since there is an audience, but function and form come into play. Style bloggers (not to be confused with the more general concept of fashion bloggers, which is a categorical title), in effect, provide content that illustrate the byproducts of the trends that emerge on the catwalk. Journalists and editors don’t work exactly the same; instead, they report the observed (as opposed to the absorbed, as is the case with style bloggers), and propose a means of influencing society in terms of consumerism and self-expression. In effect, we can see the chain of how information is provided (designers), assessed (journalists and editors), disseminated (journalists and editors), and absorbed. And in some way, you could say that having style bloggers in the front row disrupts this flow. Albeit, you could complicate the argument by saying that style bloggers disseminate information to a second level of audience that absorbs such should we follow the idea that these bloggers themselves are influencing others, which they are.
The idea of blogs being a trend, though, is one that I thoroughly disagree with. In truth, I’ve been blogging since perhaps the launch of Blogspot (now Blogger), and have followed the plethora of platforms that have since sprouted, including Upsaid, Xanga, Greymatter, b2, and WordPress. The concept of self-publication has flourished and evolved; once regarded as a platform for the angsty teenager to vent their latest break-up, blogs have become another outpost to the communicative approach to businesses. Bringing it back to the personal sphere, an array of communities and niches have sprouted from the many interests that people possess and discuss. With that said, it’s easy to call the fashion style blog as something trendy because of its relative newness, but not exactly fair.
“There some bloggers that are outstanding. Girls and boys who dictated their own style, at times circus like, but personal. They are original, they have invented a new way of communication.
Not all trends are nice and not all bloggers are good, but so it’s for designers and journalists. Time is needed to emerge, and when you make it, to resist. Time decides what’s successful or not. What makes history. The blogger phenomenon is too young, too new.” (Sozzani, “Bloggers: a cultural phenomenon or an epidemic issue?“)
And somehow Sozanni concedes to it in her admission to the fact that there are indeed some excellent bloggers and that time is necessary to see where it will take things.
Perhaps the real unease of it all is the push and pull of whether or not we should listen to what fashion bloggers have to say, and thus allow for the disruption of how we perceive the necessary channels and flow of information to the “public.” So, are fashion bloggers a cultural phenomenon or an epidemic issue? Neither. To be considered a cultural phenomenon, it would have to have been this immediate spark and growth, but seeing how long blogs themselves have been available, it was only a matter of time for communities to form. And an epidemic issue? Well, it would have to have caused detriment to the industry, but instead, it is fueling the industry with more discussion and involvement, and thus, a sense of belonging and inclusion.
Image courtesy of Vogue Italia