From the PR Director of SF Fashion Week

by jennine on July 20, 2007

This morning Donna Berry, PR director of SF Fashion Week posted a comment here on The Coveted in regards to yesterday’s post about how I will not be receiving a press pass to SFFW. I believe she posted it as a comment (instead of an email directly to me) because she wanted to express to us her side of the story. I have not yet formulated an opinion regarding this letter, but I felt that it should be posted for your information:
Donna said…

Dear Jeannine:

This is Donna, the PR director for SF Fashion Week. I appreciate your interest in covering the event, but I stand by my decision to not issue free passes to bloggers at this time. We have an extremely limited number of industry passes to this event, and unfortunately we have to limit what we can give out and must reserve them for accredited members of the journalism community, buyers and stylists.

I respect and support your right to blog about fashion. Our decision is not a personal slight against you or the many individuals out there who also blog about fashion and related topics.

We hope to see you at SFFW 2007.

Donna Berry

July 20, 2007 8:37 AM

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tricia July 20, 2007 at 10:21 am

SF fashion week’s interest is to protect their established network, and any intrusion upon their network by other types of voices (who might be divergent) is threatening.

one of the great things about blogging these days is that it allows for intelligent, diverse voices…who are not connected directly to the industry machine. many people who blog are telling it how they see it, how it really is…and the people, the readers are LISTENING, and can relate. it is refreshing to read dispatches from the grassroots, rather than being force-fed by corporations and industries who are protecting their own interests.

the main objective of this event and the fashion industry anywhere is to make MONEY. the “accredited journalists, buyers, and stylists” are being PAID to move product, whether or not it’s aesthetically pleasing. nevermind if it’s interesting, or innovative…it’s not the point. what is TRULY interesting and innovative doesn’t produce as many dollars. and they don’t have enough dollars to bother with “bloggers”. this is SF fashion week, after all…not NYC fashion week. it’s smaller, more insignificant in comparison. as such, they have to protect said smaller interests with more vigor.

it is actually a shame not to recognize diverse voices outside of the “accredited” cabal. how many people will bother to attend or even view the SF fashion week in person or even through the “accredited network” in some manner?

on the other hand, how much reach can an an intelligent, well-connected blogger provide for something of this nature?

to be honest, the reach COULD be HUGE, as some fashion bloggers, like myself, get 60,000 page views a month…and growing. that COULD move a lot of product, you know? and again, isn’t that the point of these events?

but the thing is…they can’t control you or what you say in your blog, because you’re not part of the “accredited members” of their network. they can’t trust you to move what they WANT you to move.

another point i think needs to be made:

san francisco is a town that is RULED BY TECHNOLOGY. this is silicon valley. supporting and fostering a marriage between technology (blogging, etc.) and fashion (such as it is here in SF!!) in the bay would be a smart move that would be an honest reflection of who we TRULY are in the bay area…and increasingly, the world at large.

Kim July 20, 2007 at 10:51 am

the decision by sffw not to allow bloggers is very disappointing considering as you and tricia have pointed out, san francisco is a “hub” of technology and online development. i can’t imagine that sffw is overwhelmed with requests for press passes and that they would be able to accomodate a small number of bloggers that they can select based on page views and/or readership.

i had also considered applying for a press pass to sffw, and after hearing all of this, i am also debating whether or not i want to attend at all. i would also feel strange about supporting an event on my blog that has shunned me and others like me.

nic July 20, 2007 at 12:36 pm

I think it’s interesting that they find bloggers, blogs, and their audiences are important enough to warrant a response, and to follow (but not recognize as part of the journalism community)…..just a thought….

LC July 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm

I think more than anything it is about logistics, there are so many fashion bloggers with literally almost no barriers to entry into the group. Parameters for determining bloggers who would be considered legitamate fashion press may not be so easy. Deciding yes to some and no to others could possibly create a backlash because bloggers are so influencial on their readership. It is imperative that they do establish some type of criterea to determine who would be a yes and who would be a no before they alienate a core group of “taste makers” and information filters in today’s society. Great blog. Thanks!

SandDancer July 20, 2007 at 2:02 pm

It is very short-sighted not to embrace this new form of media and it wouldn’t be too difficult to give out a few passes to bloggers simply based on the quality of their blog and their ability to express an intelligent opinion. But of course, they have no control over what you would write because they don’t pay to advertise on your blog like they do in magazines.

Interesting that she responded (albeit in a rather formualic stock answer way) - it means that either somebody connected with the event reads your blog or they are monitoring internet coverage of it, which would seem to contradict their stance on bloggers not getting press passes.

On the positive side, you were invited to the opening of the Nan Kempner exhibition so at least the museums sector is on the ball.

jennine July 20, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I just want to thank all of you for your support and well-thought comments.

When I first started The Coveted, I did so for my own personal enjoyment, since then it’s become a passion, and I can’t imagine life without it. The events surrounding SF Fashion Week have caused me to ask myself questions as to the importance blogging, and what is my responsibility as a blogger to the readers.

I do believe that it is my responsibility to post about SF Fashion Week’s decision not to grant press passes to bloggers, regardless of the blogs influence in the fashion world.

I am in no way saying that my blog should be granted a press pass on the basis that I asked for it.

All I am doing is asking at what point does one become an accredited member of the press?

The last thing I want to do is start a cat fight with the SF Fashion Community. As far as I’m concerned I am a member of it.

High Fashion Girl July 20, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Tricia said basically everything I would have said.

Determination of which bloggers would be easy. You could determine it by content, traffic, and writing ability. I mean, allowing 5 top area bloggers wouldn’t have been a big deal. I really think their decision reflects censorship of New Media.

Dania July 21, 2007 at 5:20 am

In a year she will be begging you come to her event. Come on, who does she think she is? Shouldn’t SF fashion week be begging for ANY sort of press coverage. So funny how people who work in the fashion world should be so old fashioned…

Anonymous July 21, 2007 at 9:29 am

well it was nice of her to personally write a comment explaining herself…

Susan George July 22, 2007 at 11:27 pm

This is a fascinating post.

Boaz July 25, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Hey Jennine,
I’m back, how are you? I love the new look of your site. It seems like you started a big debate about this subject, and it’s great reading the comments and thoughts, and I think that by doing this you already did your part, it might not be related to fashion directly but it got your readers to think about the subject and get involved and started a whole debate which was very interesting to read. I can understand both sides by the way and I think that in the near future things will be resolved, it just that blogging is a relatively new media, some businesses are ready for it and some not yet and probably in the future it will not be ignored. All I can say is that you are doing a great job on yours, so keep on the good work….talk to you soon.

Mary Elizabeth Primavera July 30, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Dear Jennine,
As a designer who will be showing at San Francisco Fashion Week, I feel compelled to respond to your blog regarding SSFW’s refusal to issue press passes to bloggers.
I came upon your blog by doing a Google search for SFFW to see what sort of press, if any has come up pre-show. Surprisingly, I came across your blog as one of the first few entries. I’d like to set a few things straight, and perhaps you can edify me where my knowledge on the subject falls short. The fact of the matter is that SFFW is a show comprised of up-coming designers, not capitalist, corporate conglomerates. As you know, the fashion industry moves quickly, is costly and can be fickle. Staying afloat in the first few years is an iffy situation for many. That being said, raising the funds for a show, such as this, is a steep hill to climb for many, and perhaps one of a very few chances a designer will get to be exposed to the press. So the press that the designer is exposed to is crucial. It is not a question of whether or not a blog is a valid form of journalism, or even the amount of readers the articles are being exposed to. What it is about, is who is reading the articles. The kind of press a designer is most hopeful for is the kind that is being distributed among buyers, especially during selling season at tradeshows.

I, especially, can’t help but respond to Tricia’s naïve comment about journalists being paid to move product. For the record, NOBODY in the press is being paid to write a thing by those of us participating in or working with the show. We show are collections, if they see anything worth writing about, they do so. It is just as much, if not more, of a challenge for a budding designer to get the attention of the press as it is for a blogger to get a free pass to the show. A “divergent” voice can be just as easily a slanderous one. And just as a comedian would not in his right mind invite a heckler, with an all expense paid ticket to the front row of his show, so a designer would appreciate the same discernment. It’s not big business, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just plain common sense.

And yes, there are those of us in Silicon Valley who are completely oblivious to the whole blogging world, myself included. Unfortunately Silicon Valley’s work habits, sometimes disallows many of us of the luxury of time to appreciate the more leisurely part of our technology here. Until I stumbled across your website, I hadn’t really sat down to read a blog before. I had often considered them more like diary entry pages with poor grammar, unchecked typos, and littered with derogatory comments. However, there are exceptions, which I feel yours is. You seem to have a wonderful collection of photography on there, your website is well-designed, and your comments are thoughtful, refreshing and well written. I think with your combined talent and persistence, things can and will change. Introducing something new, and proving its legitimacy to the public is never easy. In which case, I, as well as many designers throughout history, completely relate.

I, honestly, do hope you change your mind and attend the show. It would be a pleasure to see you there. There is a lot of talent in the Bay Area, especially showing at the SFFW. As far as showing the world our talents, we all (bloggers included) want the same thing—recognition. What better way than to do it together? And what better way to prove to the producers of any fashion show, especially after your tribulations of getting in, your professionally written blog after attending the show, as proof of your validity as a well-versed journalist? If you would be interested, I would like to invite you to be my guest at the show. In which case, I will provide you with a ticket. Just send me an email letting me know how to get it to you.

Mary Elizabeth Primavera, CEO/Designer
Genevieve Primavera

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