Fashion’s Old Guard Are Right to Fear the Blogger


[By: David Mitchell] [The Guardian] [Read More]

Credit: Instagram.com/bryanboy

Credit: Instagram.com/bryanboy

When the editors of Vogue.com hit out at the new social media generation of style commentators, they only showed their own weaknesses

Live by the sword, die by the sword. That’s what Vogue.com’s senior editors should be thinking at the moment. Ruefully, if they can do that without exacerbating wrinkles. Last week they were simply going about their business disparaging and belittling people – just a normal day at the office for those who professionally sit in judgment on what others are wearing – when they got a nasty shock.

Let me explain. Apparently it’s just been Milan fashion week. I was surprised to hear that because it seems to me it’s always London fashion week. Not literally always, but very nearly literally always. It genuinely feels like it’s absolutely always London fashion week this week, last week or next week. Is that the system? That it’s once every three weeks? If so, I suppose that leaves two thirds of the time for it to be Paris fashion week, New York fashion week, Bristol fashion week (for tidy sailors) or Milan fashion week, which is the one it was last week.

At the end of Milan fashion week, the staff of Vogue.com wrote an article on the internet – a blog, I suppose you’d call it – discussing what the week had been like, what everyone had learned and why it absolutely hadn’t been a vacuous jamboree consecrated to the monetisation of narcissism. But the main issues the Vogue.com team had wanted to raise – the future of trousers, perhaps; how a raspberry sock makes a stylish and practical epaulette warmer; the advent of the thigh-gap storage sporran, a great place for the malnourished to keep cocaine and diet pills – got rather lost because of the digs they all made at bloggers.

Ageing and mortality must hurt all the more if you’ve made a profession of praising novelty

Other bloggers, that is, not each other. Not people who get paid to write a blog by a magazine that also has a printed-out version for the dentist’s, but a group who seem to be known variously as bloggers, influencers and street-style stars. The ladies at Vogue.com absolutely hate this group and really let rip at them in a tone of weirdly feverish condescension. Vogue’s creative digital director, Sally Singer, started it, writing in brackets to emphasise her contempt: “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.”

Her use of the word “style” is illuminating because it reveals weakness. She put “style” rather than “fashion”. It suits her haughty tone, of course. While affecting to give those not actually under her control an off-hand instruction (which they will defy), she also seems to be alluding to something more significant, more permanent than the merely trendy. But she isn’t. The sense of something being stylish is subjective and, as such, will never die unless we create a world that contains nothing at all to which anyone at all has a positive aesthetic response. Talk of “the death of style” is empty rhetoric.

“Fashion”, on the other hand, means something solid. It refers to objects, usually clothes, manufactured to new, cutting edge and/or popular designs. I never know what’s fashionable but plenty of people always do and, at any given time, some things are and some things aren’t. Sometimes flares or ripped jeans or kipper ties or powdered wigs are in and sometimes they’re out. It’s a matter of fact. The discussion and prediction of such facts is what fashion journalism and Vogue are for.

At the end of Milan fashion week, the staff of Vogue.com wrote an article on the internet – a blog, I suppose you’d call it – discussing what the week had been like, what everyone had learned and why it absolutely hadn’t been a vacuous jamboree consecrated to the monetisation of narcissism. But the main issues the Vogue.com team had wanted to raise – the future of trousers, perhaps; how a raspberry sock makes a stylish and practical epaulette warmer; the advent of the thigh-gap storage sporran, a great place for the malnourished to keep cocaine and diet pills – got rather lost because of the digs they all made at bloggers.

Ageing and mortality must hurt all the more if you’ve made a profession of praising novelty

Other bloggers, that is, not each other. Not people who get paid to write a blog by a magazine that also has a printed-out version for the dentist’s, but a group who seem to be known variously as bloggers, influencers and street-style stars. The ladies at Vogue.com absolutely hate this group and really let rip at them in a tone of weirdly feverish condescension. Vogue’s creative digital director, Sally Singer, started it, writing in brackets to emphasise her contempt: “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.”

Her use of the word “style” is illuminating because it reveals weakness. She put “style” rather than “fashion”. It suits her haughty tone, of course. While affecting to give those not actually under her control an off-hand instruction (which they will defy), she also seems to be alluding to something more significant, more permanent than the merely trendy. But she isn’t. The sense of something being stylish is subjective and, as such, will never die unless we create a world that contains nothing at all to which anyone at all has a positive aesthetic response. Talk of “the death of style” is empty rhetoric.

“Fashion”, on the other hand, means something solid. It refers to objects, usually clothes, manufactured to new, cutting edge and/or popular designs. I never know what’s fashionable but plenty of people always do and, at any given time, some things are and some things aren’t. Sometimes flares or ripped jeans or kipper ties or powdered wigs are in and sometimes they’re out. It’s a matter of fact. The discussion and prediction of such facts is what fashion journalism and Vogue are for.

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