Vogue vs the Bloggers.
29/09/2016 § Leave a comment
It has been widely reported, in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and elsewhere, that senior Vogue journalists have been making less-than-flattering comments about fashion bloggers, complaining that they are attention-seekers in borrowed clothes. The bloggers spirited rejoinder to this was the suggestion that the Vogue journos “go back to their Werthers Originals” (a boiled sweet favoured by grandparents, if the brand’s advertising is to be believed.)
I must confess that, as much as I like Vogue, I object to spending almost a fiver on something that is predominately advertising. I know that magazines need to make money in order to be published in the first place, and that turning themselves into a glossy content-less billboard is one way of doing this, but it’s hardly likely to attract readership, and especially not in an age when there is so much free content online. Vogue, along with all other print media, has failed to rise to the challenge of the digital age, and the gap created by their failure has been filled by bloggers.
Bloggers have become celebrities in their own right, and have strength in the number of followers on social media. Relentless self-promotion is the order of the day, and the act of self-promotion is far more important than anything the promoted person does or says. While Vogue has collapsed into a morass of vulgar advertising, bloggers are a triumph of self-image over originality or content.
What both are ignoring is fashion itself. Both are obsessed with the fashion industry, and ignore the idea that fashion is a creative form. Both are devoid of real content, in their own ways. Both ignore the cultural significance of fashion. Both say nothing at all about very real ideas behind fashion design, the emotional and intellectual response that fashion can provoke, and the socio-political environment in which fashion operates and that it interacts with and comments on.
If Vogue really wants to trump fashion bloggers, it will up its game in terms of content, and start talking about fashion to people who like fashion. I know from the responses to my own writing, and the talks and lectures I give, that people who like fashion are not stupid. They are intellectually curious, they enjoy ideas, and they are looking for accounts of fashion that acknowledge that fashion is about more than shopping.
If the fashion bloggers want to trump Vogue, they should do the same.
However, as I doubt either party will read my humble contribution to the debate, much less act on it, I’ll just keep writing my little blog, and the select few that find it can enjoy the ideas in it for free. If you’re reading this, thank-you for doing so, and welcome to an exclusive little club. 🙂