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SFFW Designer writes letter to The Coveted…

Today San Francisco based designer Mary Elizabeth Primavera of Genevieve Primavera wrote a comment on my blog. She had not known of the controversy and found out by typing a Google Search. Upon reading the comments, she felt compelled to respond on her behalf, and addressed the general misconception that all blogs are snarky and poorly written. Personally, I disagree with the statement that Tricia’s comments are naïve, they simply reflect the very real disillusionment with the fashion industry and the status quo. That, I could write a series of posts about. However, the rest of the letter is very enlightening to the process of putting on a fashion show as seen from the point of view of the designer.

I still believe that the job of the PR/Events/Marketing coordinator is to be on top of current trends in the media, or at least cognizant of it. Molly Freedenberg, from the San Francisco Bay Guardian called to interview me on Friday regarding this matter, and said on a side note, that the reason why it’s considered ‘news’ is because pretty much every other industry has come to the conclusion that some bloggers are considered journalists, and have been considered so for some time.

Needless to say I am delighted that Ms. Primavera has invited me as her guest to her show, I’m tickled pink that she has taken the time to read The Coveted and assess for herself the ‘validity’ of this blog. I’m smiling.

Photo is from the AW07 Genevive Primavera collection.

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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14 comments for “SFFW Designer writes letter to The Coveted…”

  1. This is fantastic! I can’t wait to see your write up and reviews from the show. You have amazing taste and an eye for new talent so this is a perfect match!

    Posted by Coquette | July 30, 2007, 4:43 pm
  2. congrats!! have fun!

    Posted by dianabobar | July 30, 2007, 4:48 pm
  3. terrific! best of luck. i hope you have a great time at the show. :)

    at least my “naive”, stupid “slanderous” comments led to something for someone!

    Posted by tricia | July 30, 2007, 4:57 pm
  4. very nice!! can’t wait to see pics and a review. congrats on the interview from the SF Bay Guardian. keep smiling, you deserve it.

    Posted by thealchemist | July 30, 2007, 5:38 pm
  5. That’s wonderful, Jennine! Congrats! I visit your site at least once every day, and have not posted a comment till now. I’ve read about the SSFW situation from when you first posted about it, and am encouraged by the outcome. For me this solidifies the power behind a single voice.

    Kudos to you for your hard work and dedication to your blog. It is an inspiration to me and I know to many others.

    Let us know how the week of SF fashion goes!


    Posted by daisybabie | July 30, 2007, 6:03 pm
  6. i agree with daisy, the power of a single voice. it should be a great experience & oppurtunity.

    Posted by Candid Cool | July 30, 2007, 7:34 pm
  7. This is an amazing step. Congrats J :)

    Posted by Bobble Bee | July 30, 2007, 8:54 pm
  8. I am so pleased to see this conversation expanding and to hear from designers, bloggers, as well as event directors on the legitimacy of bloggers as journalists. As someone who spends so much time either writing about Fashion PR, or developing relationships with fashion bloggers, I tend to forget that the rest of the world isn’t in that same headspace, so Genevive’s letter was especially enlightening. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the show!

    Posted by PR Couture | July 31, 2007, 12:10 pm
  9. thank you so much for all your support through this… i am floored by the shift in events.

    Posted by jennine | August 1, 2007, 9:28 am
  10. I’ve been keeping tabs on your blog, watching this situation develop. There was no doubt in my mind that the quality, professionalism, enthusiasm and validity of your blog would speak for itself; it was only a matter of time before someone took note or came to their senses. As a side note, I really enjoyed reading Tricia’s long reply to your original SFFW post. She coherently voiced many of my sentiments as well. :)

    Congrats on this invitation and much thanks to Ms. Primavera. Jennine, you’ve earned this and you deserve this! I am looking forward to your review.

    In conclusion…SFFW PR, in your FACE!

    Posted by dreamecho | August 1, 2007, 6:46 pm
  11. I am so happy for you!Can’t wait to read all about it!

    AND it was so great to finally meet you last night! xoxo!

    Posted by The Goods! | August 2, 2007, 9:30 am
  12. I am a journalist, and the key thing to keep in mind is to bypass PR people at all costs. I am not saying that they are all bad or annoying to deal with, but they will give you the runaround as often as possible because part of their job description is to act as a sort of bodyguard. In this case, the best thing is to contact designers directly, send them a link to your blog and explain why you are interested in their show. It also helps to mention who your readers are or what your traffic numbers are (I did that when I worked for smaller publications). More often than not, I think that they will be happy to oblige you with a ticket if at all possible, as Mary was.

    Posted by Catherine | August 2, 2007, 4:41 pm
  13. I think it’s fabulous that this designer reached out to you. I hope she is one of many to extend you an invitation to SF Fashion Week.

    Posted by Shannon Nelson | August 3, 2007, 12:54 pm
  14. Enjoy the shows !

    Posted by pamela | August 19, 2007, 9:20 pm

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