In 2009 when I first became a fashion blogger I was in the midst of conducting my thesis on the subject. As I interviewed people and distributed surveys on the effects of fashion blogging to journalism many people could not readily identify a fashion blogger off the top of their head. Fast forward five years and now we live in a world where everyone is a blogger and even those who don’t follow closely can probably name one. The boost in blogging about fashion has come about with the notoriety of girls like Aimee Song, Rumi Neely, Jules Santana and Emily Schuman in addition to a couple of men, Scott Schuman and Bryan Yambao aka Bryan Boy. These people have taken blogging to new heights with their brand collaborations and seemingly perfect fashion filled glamorous life. They have gone from the pages of their blogs, most beginning as just a place to express themselves, to billboards, book shelves and the tents. Those tents that many of us look to twice a year as a guide on what we should have in closets for months to come. They have gone from obscurity to the highly garnered seats of the Front Row.
For a few years now as I’ve followed my favorites on their journeys in blogging as they make the Mecca every year to New York City and watch as they post away on what they’ve seen via the runways. At first I was keenly aware that many of the shows these people attended were those of rising designers but soon the photos and recaps were coming from places like Ralph Lauren, Saint Laurent, and DVF. A blog had taken these normal girls into places where only Robin Givhan and Cate Corcoran could go. Thus igniting a desire in every bloggers heart from Omaha to Woodbury to become of those girls who “made” it. What so many of the hopefuls fail to understand is that though these people are now reaping rather glorious benefits from “just blogging” that the time, effort, and energy it takes to actually create and maintain a blog of that caliber is a full time job. The content doesn’t fall from the sky, the originality isn’t easy and the budgets are not the same.
While the hard work of these bloggers most likely goes unseen by the onlookers, it is not lost on the fashion community in which they belong to but that does not mean it is respected. Being a blogger comes with an automatic backlash of not having true credibility thus what led NYFW’s IMG to go forward with the plan to nix many bloggers from the guest list for this year’s shows. I can understand the frustration with watching the new guard come into a world that for so long had been limited to the insiders, it makes sense. What I think fashion is struggling with is understanding that the tide has turned on how fashion will be presented, shared, and reveled. We are no longer just waiting for the trickle down effect from reports done by fashion journalists or buyers. Instead we look forward to hearing what the girls who look and think like us are saying about the looks from the shows. It truly is from the runway to the street in real time. The advances of social media has also hastened the movement of fashion and yet designers haven’t banned the iPhone or the Droid from the front row. Now we’re all following every editor on Instagram to get a view from their seat.
Fashion week has changed and with that the rules of engagement must follow suit. Should every blogger be given a front row seat to every major show? No, absolutely not. By all means the list should be narrowed down to people who the designers truly feel can advance their brand and bring their creations to the masses, otherwise what is the point? If bloggers are looking to be famous and garner socialite status as they parade from front row to front row inside the tents then clearly the purpose has been lost on them. However, I believe there can be a happy medium. Designers should hold presentations – small, intimate showings where the bloggers can converse directly with them about the line, their inspiration and their focuses. Thus still giving the designer a gateway to the “little people” and still giving these nouveau journalists an inside scoop. From this point forward the stigma should be removed from the title of blogger because it is and can be a real career. By the same token the bloggers who have shattered the glass ceiling should remember where they came from and remember that among all the freebies, the traveling, and the camera snaps lies a girl who truly just loves fashion.