It’s been a rough week for fashion bloggers. In a roundup about Milan Fashion Week, Vogue fashion editors voiced frustration with professional street style bloggers calling them “pathetic” and claiming they are “heralding the death of style.”
The article was written by creative digital director Sally Singer, chief critic Sarah Mower, Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps and fashion news editor Alessandra Codinha, who are unhappy with the influx of influencers skulking around the fashion week scene in recent years.
“Looking for style among a bought-and-paid-for (‘blogged out?’) front row is like going to a strip club looking for romance,” wrote Codinha. “Sure, it’s all kind of in the same ballpark, but it’s not even close to the real thing.”
Added Phelps: “It’s not just sad for the women who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes, it’s distressing, as well, to watch so many brands participate.”
Bloggers, fashion photographers and editors alike, including Tommy Ton, Susie Lau and BryanBoy, took to social media to fend off accusations of frivolity. They received widespread support from fans, who decried Vogue’s tone.
like, i’m not remotely a fashion blogger, but vogue going to town on them in *that* article is mean-girls style condescension. yikes.
— Lauren Entwistle (@cityofspooks) September 27, 2016
Hey Vogue, I’m sorry to say but I think we are at an age where we would rather buy what a blogger is wearing than what’s in your mag.
— Gem Morson (@themothercooker) September 27, 2016
“These women precede all of what you see has become outside the fashion shows,” Ton wrote regarding bloggers in a lengthy Instagram post speaking out against the article. “They have been doing this for decades and helped turned street style at fashion week from a cult fascination to a global phenomenon,” Ton wrote.
So I have a bone to pick. I’m not going to name an any names or point the finger at anyone but you’ll know if I’m referring to you. You see these women taking notes of what Giovanna is wearing? These women precede all of what you see has become outside the fashion shows. They have been doing this for decades and helped turned street style at fashion week from a cult fascination to a global phenomenon. They are one of the main reasons why I was inspired to start taking photos and still to this day, I am inspired by their passion and tireless work ethic. Before social media and blogs came into the picture, asian fashion magazines were the only source where you could find endless pages of street style and all the credited details. Alongside Bill Cunningham, they helped put a spotlight on what people wore to fashion month. There used to be a huge group of asian photographers that worked peacefully together but nowadays, they are a dying breed taken over by an army of photographers. So my reasoning for this post is because I’ve noticed time and time again how other photographers moan and groan about these women and sometimes yell at them questioning the purpose of their note taking. So here’s what I have to say to all of you who take issue with them and feel like you can bully them: show some respect, learn some manners and get over yourself. You have a problem with them asking what the editors, influencers, stylists and models are wearing? Guess what this is a billion dollar industry that cares about clothes and what these photographed men and women are wearing drives sales, not just your supposed perfectly composed photo. I am so fed up seeing these women get scoffed and yelled at. If you have a problem with them, then you can come talk to me and I will school you and put you into check. And you know who else will come to their defense? All the men and women you like to take photos of who have no issue with these women. Do you know who they all have issues with? All of you who have aggressively flooded the shows and just run into everyone and block traffic. I take responsibility for my part in this circus, but there’s no need to be disrespectful to each other.
Fashion blogger Susie Lau responded to the article in a series of tweets claiming hypocrisy among the fashion editors that she claimed are also “beholden to brands” through paid advertising, and have fostered a climate of pretension that edges aspiring editors out through its exclusivity.
Others, like fashion consultant Shea Marie, commented that Vogue regularly uses street style photos from the very bloggers they were criticizing. She noted that Vogue’s most commented Instagram post is an image of herself and singer Caroline Vreeland, taken by a street style photographer.
— Shea Marie (@peaceloveSHEA) September 27, 2016
Meanwhile, Neiman Marcus, which just announced its fourth consecutive quarter of declining sales, said in a conference call with investors on Monday that bloggers are to blame for the lack of luxury sales and the tension of “see-now-buy-now” fashion.
“Today, fashion shows are now blogged and broadcast all over the world via social media,” Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus Group CEO said in the call. “By the time the merchandise ships many months later, the newness and excitement had worn off and in many cases, the customer has moved on.”
Stella Bugbee, fashion director at The Cut, tweeted in response to the Neiman Marcus remarks, claiming that “the reason people aren’t buying luxury is not because of ‘bloggers’ but because we cannot afford it.”
The diatribes against the bloggers have fostered discussion about their place in the editorial and retail system. Bubble also tweeted in support of photographer Phil Oh, urging Vogue to stop running his photos if “women in ‘paid-to-wear’ outfits are so repugnant,” to which Oh responded “maybe let’s think of an alternative solution.”
Others have remained noticeably silent, including Italian blogger Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, who was recently on the cover of Vogue Mexico and commented favorably on posts of her peers. Vogue declined to comment on the article.