Who Decides?

Recently there has been a lot of hype in the international media about a war between the established fashion elite and the rising stars of the fashion blogging world. Who decides what fashion is? This is the question at the heart of the conflict. The Anna Wintour’s of the industry that have been ruling the fashion roost for generations or the newly famed fashion bloggers with millions of followers and new clothing lines such as the Chiara Ferragni’s of the world?

The fashion establishments, particularly Vogue America editors, look at bloggers with disgust and see them as charlatans out for fame and a quick buck.  Bloggers in turn see the elite as an old dying breed unable or unwilling to adapt to a changing world with nothing better to do than belittle the industry’s young entrepreneurs.

Traditional fashion magazines have functioned by developing close commercial relationships with major fashion houses, and create style through carefully crafted fantastical images presented on glossy pages. The new wave, posit that this approach is to far removed from reality and is undeniably unauthentic. Bloggers have reached success by evolving their online personas into brands and are paid to wear and be photographed in certain clothing monetizing their style, and see themselves as self made style celebrities. And for this the elite brands them sellouts.

There is validity in both sides of the conflict. Arguably, being paid to publicize a brand on your Instagram feed instead of sporting your own style is just as inauthentic as publicizing brands based on pre-existing relationships and profiting from advertisements. Not to mention the images on Ferragni’s blog hardly differ from those appearing on the glossy pages of magazines.

The success of this new breed of bloggers is illustrative of how the market is changing. Young people don’t buy magazines or newspapers they engage with style through social media so maybe what’s happening is just a new business model replacing an old one.

Perhaps there’s room for two? Maybe the new blogging wave and the fashion establishment can happily coexist. Both established fashion editors and young successful bloggers now populate the front rows of all the major shows, but will they ever accept each other?

There also seems to be an element of discord among the elite, as Ferragni has appeared on the covers of Vogue Spain and Elle Netherlands thus the European editors have been more accepting than their American counterparts. And based on the mud slinging at the last Milan fashion week it’s clear that American editors won’t be extending an olive branch anytime soon.

In reality they’re as bad as each other; no one needs to have the final say and no one should be the ‘ultimate supreme leader/ decider of fashion’. The public will wear what they want and decide what trends take off and a variety of opinion just makes it all the more interesting.


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