Sunday, 9 October 2016

Bloggers vs The World

On a fine autumnal Sunday morning, I began my day as always - scrolling through Instagram under my duvet mindlessly before eventually leaning over to pick up my laptop and begin some form of lazy Netflix marathon. However, this Sunday morning, I stumbled upon a piece by Pandora Sykes in retaliation to the latest debacle.

Unless you've been living under a rock or aren't a blogger/person of the media, you'll know how Vogue took to their platform recently to fire shots at bloggers and their presence at Fashion Week. Given the prestige of their positions and reputation, it was quite a vicious attack on those who are making their living from blogging and an unnecessary one at that. I've spent most of my life dreaming of one day becoming one of these prestigious fashion writers at such as sought after, holy grail publication like Vogue and rubbing shoulders with these women, but now all I feel is a slight resentment and the impression that these women of power are losing touch with the progression of the industry. 'Stuck in their ways' one may say.
I, myself am the kind of person who loves to keep traditions and by all means these women continue to be the creme de la creme, the higher power of fashion who will have their names etched into those front row spots for time to come - but is embracing a change in influence so difficult for the world (namely media houses) to do? The front row is a big enough place for editors to share and designers are clearly embracing all bloggers have to offer by placing them side by side. After all, there must be a reason that these influencers are receiving such coveted invitations.

Blogging has become it's own new media over the years and a fast growing one at that. It's come a long way since it's early days of fashion enthusiasts sharing their honest opinion of brands in a mirror selfie and the Tumblr/Lookbook era of stylish so-and-so's showing off their latest well styled outfit in a series of moody images taken by their friend studying photography at college. It gave street style this digital rocket fuel and catapulted it into it's current established status of social media stars and Gucci-clad 'celebrities'.

Journalists and bloggers are not competition, no matter how long we've been fighting this battle as if we are. There's such a stigma that bloggers are trying to take down well established journalists and almost 'replace' them, but the reality of this stigma is that we're just people who have grown up admiring their work and being just as devoted to these designers and artists as they are - and we're just asking for an outlet to do so (also note how many journalists now are also bloggers). We're not all the kind that can string together a beautiful sentence about how Gigi Hadid nonchalantly strutted down the runway wearing a masterpiece created by Stefano Gabbana, or set an atmosphere using only words and still perfectly execute the tone of a runway show that millions of readers didn't get to attend - but what we are is passionate and hard working. Not everyone needs a masters from CSM to prove that.
As you may already know, Pandora Sykes (who needs no introduction in the world of fashion) is an established writer for the Sunday Times Style and renowned blogger. She's an icon in our world and one of my biggest influences for my career. There are few writers that make me still want to speak my mind, but Pandora is one of those.
So this morning I stumbled upon a piece written by Pandora about her dual identity as blogger and journalist - featured both on her blog as well as Sunday Times Style. You can say a war has begun and it's all because of that Vogue article, but it's a war that's been brewing for some time and without deliberate provocation from bloggers.

"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."

It's not a coincidence that each editor in Vogue's 'Highs and Lows of Milan Fashion Week' piece targets their 'lows' towards bloggers and while it's true that bloggers are very open about the frequency of their brand collaborations and sponsorships, it's rather like throwing stones in glass houses to criticise this when printed publication's biggest life source is advertising (not to mention the favours that are pulled for those who do advertise). "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." - Sally Singer, say it how you really mean why don't you?
A blogger's content relies on their style and creating imagery to support that content, so while Vogue do have a point about the streets surrounding any Fashion Week event becoming a stage of peacocks parading their uncoordinated outfits in the hopes of being shot by street style photographers (and then published in said publications...), knocking a fellow woman for simply doing her job and earning her stripes is a low blow. 
But isn't it just strange how contradictory all of this is? How Vogue each season feature the best street style from the weeks and how both Kristina Bazan and Chiara Ferragni (the ultimate power bloggers) have made their way onto the covers of Vogue - I mean, we're all presuming here that these girls were put on the covers to sell issues and give people what they want to read, right? I for one would pick up an issue to read what either of those girls had to say. It just comes at a strange time for Vogue to decide to take down bloggers when both of these adorned the cover this year

"The old guard feeling threatened by the new guard is a tale as old as time. Fashion used to be elitist; now blogging has brought down the wall, but some would rather it stayed up, so they can view over it from their ivory tower." Pandora hits the nail on the head with this, followed with a very valid point that if this is a battle in a troubled print industry, 'bloggers might outlast them all'.
We're not asking for these journalists to pat us on the head and say well done welcome to the club, we're not asking for anything - we're just doing what we love and somehow some of us have landed a position of authority in the style world. We're not breaking down the doors of the publication houses and taking their desks. Kudos to those who have made something from themselves and built it from the ground up. I find it enviable and worthy of applause that a woman just like me could create something from pure passion and dedication. 
The publishing industry is highly known for it's exclusivity and difficulty to break into, with hundreds of wannabe writers studying for years at university to tirelessly compete with other writers aspiring to write for such publications of prestige. Is it really any wonder we've taken to our own devices for even the hopes of being spotted by someone in that inner circle and take a chance on us? I myself started my blog to showcase my writing abilities  and general musings in a hope that it would benefit my career in some way. 

Working cohesively is something that fashion world has been doing for a very, very long time - with designers, publishers, journalists, photographers and PR all working hand in hand to help one another. Without the other, neither would have survived - so in that circle of life, is there really no room for a new breed? Some of those links in the circle have already welcomed and embraced the introduction of bloggers to the industry, with bloggers street style influencing new takes for designers based on how people have worn their pieces and photographers selling in imagery of this street style for publications to use. PR representatives have been embracing bloggers for years now, seeing the worth an influencer can have for a brand due to their organic, 'real person' view - but clearly, only one link from that circle is yet to embrace it. Maybe next season will hold a more welcomed response... 

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