Devil’s Advocate

by jennine on February 8, 2010

If you’re a fashion bloggosphere addict, you’ve probably heard about the newest fashion bloggers vs. editors cat fight erupted late last month. Personally I thought it would die down, it seemed to be an argument as old as blogging itself. Tavi also thought it would die down, and she unintentionally sparked this controversy. But it hasn’t, in fact is seems like there’s a new story popping up about it almost daily…and I haven’t even checked my reader (so apologies if some of you have also written about it).  The fact that I have been so engrossed with organizing the IFB conference, that my regular mornings with my RSS reader had to be put on hold for the month (as with a lot of other essential parts of my day, like sleeping) …and still I hear rumblings of this. People are upset from both sides, and  we need to talk.

In the Independent’s  story by Susie Mesure about Grazia’s fashion editor’s reaction to  Tavi’s giant bow at the Dior Couture show, noting that ‘former fans complain bloggers have been “bought off” by the industry.’

Mesure goes further to quote editors from Vogue and GQ (both owned by Condé Nast)

Robert Johnson, associate editor at the men’s magazine GQ, said: “Bloggers are so attractive to the big design houses because they are so wide-eyed and obsessed, but they don’t have the critical faculties to know what’s good and what’s not. As soon as they’ve been invited to the shows, they can no longer criticise because then they won’t be invited back.”

They did not use any direct quotes from bloggers in this article. There’s a very good story about that on Business of Fashion.

I’m not going to pretend like I know all the details of what’s going on with PR companies and other bloggers, or what’s going on with PR companies with fashion magazines. But I can tell you my experience.

While I’d like to scoff and say that the editors are wrong. They’re not. Well, they’re not entirely wrong. They’re wrong about Tavi being bought off by fashion houses. They’re wrong to grossly generalize bloggers, and they’re also wrong to assume that this honeymoon period between fashion houses and bloggers will last very long.

Where they are right is that in the past few years fashion houses have been making scrambling to engage bloggers to present a positive image to you, the readers, and so have the magazines themselves. The level of pitches that come through are increasing by the day. I literally get hundreds of pitches daily, and I’m not even that important. As for the campaigns, they’re getting more and more competitive to stand out as bloggers reach points of fatigue. And it’s true some of campaigns are sexy,  over the years the opportunities  I’ve gotten as a blogger included sponsored trips to Paris (granted it was only a 50minute flight from where I lived at the time) New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, gifts, items for review, sponsored posts… all of which I’ve disclosed to you, and all of which have added value to the content of The Coveted, as I could not fund many of these things myself.

So in this madness how does one determine what to include, and what not to include?

Experience.

In the beginning, I had no idea about the difference between good campaign and when I was being taken advantage of. And through experience, it’s easier see more and more where companies do try to manipulate bloggers into generating positive content. I don’t think that fashion editors could do a better job distinguishing if they were on this side of the fence and managing their own advertising sales. In fact many times they don’t do a better job distinguishing as they are notorious for accepting gifts and selling copy just as much as bloggers.

But just because they do it, does that mean I should?

At first it sounded ok, you know, ‘industry standard’ ‘that’s what everybody does.’  I felt bad, conflicted,  somewhat intimidated, and sometimes scared if I didn’t take an opportunity, or if I said something bad then it would ruin my chances to have a successful blog, that part about the GQ quote is true, and I’m not the only one. I saw The Coveted going down this road, reviews, giveaways, sponsored content, invitations, and though I was making more some money, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as the days when I just posted my own clothes and random thinkings. Sure, it made me look like I had reached some level of ’success’ but in reality, it wasn’t at all, so I’ve become so much more selective about what I say yes to.

It didn’t take long to realize that saying ‘yes’ has nothing to do with success, it’s the quality of my content and relationship with the community, that builds success. I’ve written bad reviews, said things that aren’t 100% positive. Griped about bad customer service. Had to face publicists who try to get me to retract words. And yeah, I’ll never be invited back to Chicago Fashion Week because I noted that I  did not receive the full designer listing even after I emailed them for it, and Zara probably hates me. But you know what? That’s ok.

It’s also ok to have sponsors. In order to provide quality content, it’s necessary. I run two blogs, one is a community (and will be launching a new blog soon) and there is not enough time in the day to work a day job. For the past two months I have been working 12-18 hours a day on the IFB conference, and because of sponsors, we’re able to offer it to bloggers on a suggested $20 donation, as opposed to charging $300-$400 a ticket which would be what bloggers would have to pay without them.

I didn’t start blogging to get the free things, or to start a business, I started this as a personal project. And as I loved doing this, and wanted to do this full time, I had to start positioning myself as a professional. The difficult part about that, is that were very few professional fashion bloggers at the time, which is why I started Independent Fashion Bloggers. I didn’t know, I don’t know and I don’t pretend to. Blogging is so new, and such a unique medium there is a huge learning curve for everyone, including the journalists who snicker at blogger naivete.

So are the fashion editors right? In a way…yes, but in an even bigger way, they are wrong. To imply that bloggers don’t have the ‘critical faculties to know what’s good and what’s not.’ misses the point of what’s really going on. Perhaps new bloggers don’t know, but neither do new journalists, and successful bloggers have to learn quickly or risk community backlash.  The quote misses entirely that like anything really, blogging is an evolutionary medium, and will take time to reach maturity…. and we’re reaching it faster than they think.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy February 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Very well put!
Amy´s last blog ..A Little Spring In My Step My ComLuv Profile

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2 charles February 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

i agree, well said.
charles´s last blog ..All American Ass My ComLuv Profile

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3 Fenke February 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

i really admire your passion, jennine! all this dilemma aside - i know you are going to do great things in the future!
Fenke´s last blog ..MOVING & CLEARANCE My ComLuv Profile

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4 Fenke February 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

oh - and one more thing: i always hear them talk about “buying” bloggers attention. which magazine can say of itself that it is totally independent from advertise clients? not a single one. i don’t hear vogue/elle/—-whatever say anything bad = honest about anyone. you’re either ignored or praised as a fashion designer. so where is the difference really?
Fenke´s last blog ..MOVING & CLEARANCE My ComLuv Profile

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5 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm

i do think the editorial content might be a bit more independent as they aren’t directly responsible for getting advertising, it’s a lot harder to say no to someone you’re trying to build a relationship with. which is what puts bloggers in an interesting situation…that said a lot of bloggers have found good ways of walking that line.

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6 Sabrina February 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I am clapping for you. Very good job!!!
Sabrina´s last blog ..Giveaway Alert! My ComLuv Profile

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7 V February 8, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Jennine~

Thank you for your honest (and well-written) perspective on this issue and your experience transitioning your blog from a personal to a sponsored project. Posts like this (and the content on IFB) are so valuable for those of us who are still growing our readership and learning about advertising, etc. Of course, I love the outfit posts too!

Keep ‘em comin’!

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8 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

thanks my dear…i’m so happy to be of some use! but keep going, it gets better..it really does.

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9 l'habitué February 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Brilliantly written. Better than most journalists would ;)

http://lhabitue.blogspot.com/
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10 Alicia February 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

*rousing applause*

The sub-set of standards applied to an entire genre of people (who most certainly are NOT a monolith and shouldn’t be treated as such) has been disheartening. To hear this mostly one-sided deluge of negativity toward bloggers from editors has been even more disheartening (and completely disrespectful at times).

I’m glad Tavi responded the way she did and that you posted this.

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11 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:27 pm

personally i think they’re doing this to create sound bites to stir controversy, it brings to mind the quote, we’re not in the news business, we’re in the business of selling papers. the editors wanted to present a truthful story they’d ask more bloggers about what acutally goes on.

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12 La Carmina February 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Very well said. I’ve had a similar journey, and there are always bumps along the way — but I admire your resolve. Can’t wait to see what you launch next! xoxo
http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/
La Carmina´s last blog ..TOKYO REBEL: GOTHIC LOLITA SHOP IN NEW YORK CITY. NYC LOLITAS SHOPPING, GOTH PUNK STORES, BUYING HARAJUKU CLOTHES IN AMERICA. My ComLuv Profile

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13 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:29 pm

thanks la carmina…it’s really nice to hear that you’ve experienced the same things..it’s hard to tell from behind the monitor what other bloggers go through particularly about some of the more difficult things…

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14 Eli February 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

What fashion houses do to bloggers is the same thing they do to the magazines so it doesn’t make any sense! I think it is all being blown out of proportion and we should just stay out of peoples business (no pun intended)
Eli´s last blog ..Pink, white, and blue My ComLuv Profile

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15 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm

it’s being blown out of proportion, yes, but i think it’s a long overdue discussion. i think both sides need to come to terms with each other, as it’s not so black and white as some people are making it out to be.

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16 Jaime @ Denim Debutante February 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I love hearing this from you… while there are some bad apples in the bunch, many of us are responsible PROFESSIONALS and, coming from a place where I’ve worked in journalism as well, can’t always say the same about traditional media journalists. There are always those who stand out with their poor behavior, no matter what you do. It’s important, as someone who does take their job seriously (and yes, that job is being a blogger), to set a good example.

And wow, I really sound like my father. Great.
Jaime @ Denim Debutante´s last blog ..Denim Review and Giveaway: Chip & Pepper Jeans from Apparel Addiction My ComLuv Profile

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17 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm

thanks…it’s always hard to admit that things don’t always go so smoothly in public! but yes, there are a lot of bloggers who do behave professionally, but at the same time, i think a lot of what the quotes are referring to aren’t necessarily aimed at bloggers who behave unethically on purpose. it happens to even the most well-intentioned bloggers, especially as companies become more and more aggressive about pushing content. the thing is how long can a blogger sustain that without severe damage to credibility. the thing is, these editors don’t think bloggers realize what’s at stake.

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18 Ashe Mischief February 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm

There’s one point I’ll argue against:
“I literally get hundreds of pitches daily, and I’m not even that important.”

You may not have the readership of Rumi or Jane, but you are VERY important to the fashion blogging community.

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19 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm

hahah you are so good to me!

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20 Sheena February 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Great post! I’ve always appreciated your honesty and willingness to be forthcoming and that’s why I read your blog. I appreciate this post as well as I think it sums up the situation perfectly (or at least, what I’ve heard/seen of it).
Sheena´s last blog ..Bookends My ComLuv Profile

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21 apparellel February 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

thank you for this article. i am new to the world of blogging and had heard something just yesterday about the tavi situation. like fashion isn’t already the worlds most dramatic industry, gotta throw something else into the mix. very strange. but thank you so much for the insight. love.

xxx
t
apparellel´s last blog ..all laced up and nowhere to go. My ComLuv Profile

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22 indiana adams February 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Thank you so much for this! I started my site as a personal project as well and have only recently been going down the avenue of accepting sponsorship. I disclose everything (unlike a lot of magazines). Thanks for linking Tavi’s response. I love IFB, and I see my blogging buddies raising the bar, daily.
indiana adams´s last blog ..Eye can change My ComLuv Profile

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23 Poochie February 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I’d like to speak to this as a marketer/brand representative and not just as a blogger.

I’m currently in the early stages of developing a blogger outreach program and hoping to find blogger partners that fit with the brand, the target audience and the goals of the program while at the same time trying to create compelling messaging for the bloggers to use. I am finding this difficult because it can be challenging to find the right mix of content and personality and audience so that the message is out there and the client approves my choices. It’s also challenging to create a compelling program based on what my client is marketing.

In the traditional print advertising world there are metrics and listings of publications but this is a whole new world. My clients do advertising in publications and they send samples for review. It’s pretty standard practice that you send editors stuff and buy ads and hope they cover it in editorial. What I hope to do with my blogger partners is create the same opportunity. But why are we targeting bloggers at all? Because we want to create a more direct and personal connection between a large brand and the audience. We understand the value of this just as much as the circulation of a magazine.

This is a huge new addition to the marketing mix, just as banner advertising was in the 9os and as niche cable tv advertising was as well. There are bound to be growing pains and shifts in budget dollars. I think what makes this time different is the fact that the economy and parent companies are forcing so many publications to shut down. These pubs are having to justify even more so a reason to have people keep buying and subscribing and advertising in their publications. But if they are resting on just keeping access proprietary, that horse is out of the barn.

So what can they do? Keeping bloggers/independant writers out is not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. Sure, it can be said the publication writers have more history but I think there are some very educated writers out there as well; writers who can cover how and what they want. This gives them a huge advantage over traditional pubs that have owners and editors to answer to. I think the publications need to focus more on their content and creating insprational “art” than trying to keep the independants out.
Poochie´s last blog ..Hey, Sparkler! What’s So Great About You? My ComLuv Profile

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24 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

it’s funny that the editors act like this quote: ‘It’s pretty standard practice that you send editors stuff and buy ads and hope they cover it in editorial. ‘
isn’t the case at all.. they have a lot of explaining to do!
;)
it’s hard navigating what is going on these days, not just for bloggers, but for companies, they haven’t found that magic formula that works, like TV and the TV commercial… not with social media, and i don’t htink that’s a bad thing, it just means there is loads of new opportunities for all of us because we need to work to figure out a solution that fits for the reader, the community, the blogger and the company.

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25 grechen February 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm

omg, i just finished writing about this!! and then checked my reader :)
i hate the way editors and writers are treating tavi - it’s ridiculous, and from my perspective, rooted mostly in jealousy. but the idea that bloggers can be bought, still sticks in my craw. i don’t know any bloggers who have been bought or who just regurgitate press releases (ok, well, maybe i can think of ONE), and i’ve never even considered not writing my honest opinion about something, no matter where it came from. i think i’ve said this before, but i really feel like all this “bloggers being bought” and being “afraid to write honest opinions” is mostly crap made up or blown out of proportion by traditional media editors to bash bloggers…or maybe i just don’t read the blogs who do that.
grechen´s last blog ..jealousy is a waste of time My ComLuv Profile

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26 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

i know…they’re just doing it because they think if they’re mean enough it’ll make us all go away. but they just look even more superficial and elitist than they did before (which was how they lost their readers in the first place)

i have to admit that there were a few times, not that i would post something that wasn’t 100% but that came with a push/pull from the fashion companies. i’ve had pr companies ask me to retract words (or put words in) and i’ve gotten angry emails regarding some posts from companies, and at times felt conflicted. as much as i would like to say it’s cut and dry, it’s not always the case, and i hope that more people come out with their experiences on that.

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27 Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen February 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Well I beg to differ with you — you are quite important with what you’ve created here and IFB! Great post. The thing that peeved me most about the story in the Independent is that they assume all bloggers are idiots that can’t see when they’re trying to be bought. Granted some are naive and may not understand, but I think anyone with a bit of sense can tell when someone is trying to “buy” them. Blogger or journalist. Grr.
XXX
Suzanne
Suzanne aka Punk Glam Queen´s last blog ..Where I Make My Only Superbowl Post My ComLuv Profile

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28 jennine February 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm

exactly, most bloggers can tell, it’s kind of crazy how they think we can’t tell.

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29 Fi Figueroa February 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm

GREAT GREAT GREAT article! Every inch of it is true.

I think the issue here lies in the fact that “journalists” for a second got broken down. How come someone supposedly “less important” get the same treatment as a big fashion journalist? It’s a bit scary for them. I would feel the same. But, it’s funny how these SAME magazines are also exploiting bloggers for their ISSUES!

“blogger to watch”
“street style from (put whichever blogger who has been in the pages of vogue, teen vogue, elle, etc)”

They actually made these people who they are. Maybe because they didn’t see them as a threat before?
I don’t know.
Fi Figueroa´s last blog ..Proud to Anounce: Prezz*D the Magazine for the mad & outraged! My ComLuv Profile

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30 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:00 pm

oh yes, and not to mention the fact that fashion magazines are amongst the ones pitching bloggers to write about THEM. i don’t know how many print magazines send emails asking me to post about them…. at least 5 or 6…
they never wrote about me.
;)

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31 Sweety P February 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Well put!
Sweety P´s last blog ..Starting a New Project . . . Change is Coming My ComLuv Profile

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32 Ashley Lawson February 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Wow…this is a very well written article! I feel like you expressed this perfectly! There’s always the fine line between church & state w/edit & advertising…luckily it takes experience and pride in one’s work to know where that line is.

Bravo!

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33 Jed February 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Susie Mesure and her employer The Independent should not act like almighty and proud and well-experienced, and yes, ‘independent’. Another newspaper, The Guardian, recently announced that The Independent is being ‘acquired’ by Alexander Lebedev, a Russian billionaire who was also a former KGB spy. How’s that for an investor?

At least Tavi is shown together with John Galliano… not a Russian spy!

While there is nothing here about editorial independence, or something that has to do with direct connection to the topic at hand, how would you feel about a newspaper which run stories that criticize and generalize a whole community of bloggers, when they don’t even have the power to choose the people that would feed them?

Bottom line: Someone is apparently insecure, envious and nervous.

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34 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

hahah maybe he can hand out kgb torture techniques in company memos? hows that for an interview!!!?

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35 Jed February 9, 2010 at 2:17 am

Indeed Jennine! :)

I remember one rather serious issue involving a KGB spy and how he got killed in the UK. They put radio-active materials into his drink!

I simply can’t stop thinking about the whole issue, so I had to post my own.

http://model-max.com/v1/fash/item/337-fashionwriters-fashionbloggers

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36 Andrea February 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Great post, Jennine, and well put! I used to work as the assistant editor of a magazine, and we were just as guilty of ’selling’ editorial space because of freebies and the like (I, personally, tried not to, but mine was not the final word. And I did enjoy the free review copies of books!). I think that, as the furore calms down, the bloggers with genuine, useful content, integrity and talent (and I include you in that, naturally!) will be appreciated for the professionalism and good sense they showed during the drama.

You were the first style blog I ever read, and the one who switched me on to this fantastic world of blogging, and I will always be grateful to you for that. :)

Andrea xx
Andrea´s last blog ..The importance of hot beverages My ComLuv Profile

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37 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

oh thank you…it’s always nice to hear that…i’m glad i didn’t turn you off to blogging!
but you’re right, i think once this all normalizes the good sites will be the ones that survive….

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38 Chelsea Rae February 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I love this post because it’s perhaps the most unbiased article I read about the topic. I think the dispute is quite childish on both sides. I also believe, as you’ve said, blogging, like anything is a process. When I started blogging, I struggled with the PR/blogger dichotomy— actually, I still struggle with it— but, I have learned that not every ‘great opportunity for your blog’ is all that great. I, like many bloggers, are blogging to become rich, famous, or successful. It’s about having a medium to voice our opinions, and if those opinions are read by others than good on ya!

In terms or sacrificing credibility for money, I agree that magazines and newspapers struggle with this just as much as bloggers, but as you stated editors have their advertising team to place the blame where as blogging is generally a one man show.

Do I think there are some flaws in the “famous blogger” selection process, most definitely, but there are many things I think are problematic, and don’t particularly have the time, energy, or will to voice all those opinions. I’d rather just do what I do best and write about fashion.

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39 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

thanks chelsea rae, i really tried to present my experience the best way without being a detailed point by point boring post. and you’re right that the ‘great opportunities’ aren’t always that great. as for the famous blogger… holy moly… this is all insane, and a very volitle form of ‘fame’ and it’s probably best that we don’t get carried away and just do our own thing. really that’s all we can do.

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40 Imelda Matt February 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

WHAT’S LEFT TO SAY…BRAVO!!!!
Imelda Matt´s last blog ..AND WE’RE OFF… My ComLuv Profile

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41 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

thanks, my dear!

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42 Thom February 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Considering how relatively new blogging still is I find it weird that the media seems to refer to some golden age of blogging, where bloggers were impartial observers of what went around them and only reported in a clear, factual way.

First of all, fashion is aesthetic and aesthetic is opinion. Vogue can hammer on all it wants about expertise, but at the end of the day it’s their opinion over others. And it’s that opinion people pay for. Bloggers don’t write blogs because they want to present an unbiased view on something - if that were the case, there would be no blogs. Bloggers write because they have opinions and want to express them. If that opinion is “I love Chanel” and you have 50K+ readers and Chanel wants to give you free clothes…I don’t even know where to go with that. How does that a) not make sense to people and b) seem even slightly below board? Getting people to pay you, either with things or money, is what a persuasive writer does. Does anyone think for a second that editors don’t tell their writers what they can and cannot like?

As long as you’re upfront with where things come from and how you got them I don’t see the problem. I love Uniqlo. The fact that they sent me free shirts has nothing to do with it. And if Tavi wants to write about company X and company X wants to fly her in for a show, why shouldn’t it? Are we really going to begrudge a 13 year old girl? (All I know is, I couldn’t care less about fashion at 13. But if Marvel wanted to send me free comics in exchange for writing about them I would have done it in a heartbeat. I mean seriously people.)

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43 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

it is strange that they would even think that blogging is a medium for clear facts, most blogs, particularly the most popular ones are pure opinion. i know, i don’t even know any facts!
;)
you are so right to point out that fashion magazines are also mostly opinions..they are, which is why i’m having such a hard time distinguishing what the whole upset is. i can understand when they are talking about comparing bloggers to investigative journalism, but really? fashion? most fashion magazines have articles about the best shampoo (most often has one or two advertisers in the mix) the latest ‘it shoe’ (also happens to be an advertiser) blah, blah, blah…all opinion.

omg at 13.. i was in 4-H… doesn’t get nerdier than that!

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44 Nickie Frye February 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I used to be an avid Vogue reader, but now their editorials seem a little behind to me. I rely more on fashion blogs & independent online fashion magazines to see what trends & designers are up & coming than on the traditional publications. Who cares if bloggers get paid for a mention? Designers pay for advertising in magazines & naturally they clamor to get mentioned anywhere they can, & by any means. The good news is, the readers aren’t complete idiots. We can & will decide what we like & what we will spend our money on. So, more power to the fashion bloggers. Keep it fresh & keep covering new trends & designers. I’ll check in daily. xoxo
Nickie Frye´s last blog ..Pleated Skirt Cherry Blossom Print My ComLuv Profile

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45 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm

yeah, i think that’s the big thing no one is talking about .. the readers, and without the readers, there’s not really anything at all. most people vote with their feet.. or their clicks.

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46 THE SHOE GIRL February 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

This is really great. Thank you.
THE SHOE GIRL´s last blog ..New Betsey Johnson! My ComLuv Profile

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47 Clare February 8, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I’m so glad you did this post. This has been such an interesting issue in the blogging world, and I feel like people are just staunchly taking one side or the other. I absolutely feel that it’s much closer to the middle, and should really be taken on a case by case basis. Thanks, lady!
Clare´s last blog ..The Things You Say Will Come out in Reverse My ComLuv Profile

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48 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

thanks clare! yeah, it hast to be closer to the middle…it just doesn’t make any sense if it were one way or the other.

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49 MizzJ February 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Well written blogs like this one are the best defense against anyone who wishes to say bloggers aren’t a legitimate source for fashion news and opinions. Talk about the magazines being the proverbial pot calling the not-so-much-a-kettle black! It’s the worst kind of pettiness that people look down on fashion for.
MizzJ´s last blog ..Product Review: Skin MD Natural Shielding Moisturizer My ComLuv Profile

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50 alixrose February 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

J- I was nodding along as I read every single word. Well put and I agree completely. Thank you for writing it!
alixrose´s last blog ..COLLECTIONS BY KA/POW/WOW & LAS JEWELRY BRING A LITTLE ECO-GLAMOUR! My ComLuv Profile

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51 WendyB February 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm

It seems like the music industry, where practically everyone who has success is accused of selling out by the original fans.
WendyB´s last blog ..Gloria in Alaia My ComLuv Profile

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52 jennine February 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

and the graphic design industry 10 years ago when they were having discussions on whether or not graphic design done on a computer was ‘real design.’ and that these ‘13 year old mac monkeys’ were costing professional designers their jobs. the computer didn’t cost anyone their jobs, except the people too lazy to keep up with their own profession. even so, the letter press, which everyone thought would die, is a growing discipline.

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53 jennine February 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm

meaning…that none of this drama is new…

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54 Suzanne February 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm

right on! I couldn’t agree more!

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55 Retro Chick February 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

Oooh, the best piece I’ve read on this yet!

I, personally, really object to being told I don’t have “critical faculties” I’m a well educated 30 year old woman and my critical faculties are just as well developed as any magazine editor or journalist. I am prepared to admit, that having been blogging for only 18 months and only being offered my first “freebie” about 6 months ago that I am still learning the ropes to deal with PRs and “free” products.

I get excited when I am offered free products to cover as I have very little money and sometimes I worry that my outfit posts get very samey when I wear the same skirt all the time. It has never once occured to me that I wouldn’t mention something was free though as sharing that with my readers is part of the excitement of blogging to me. That I can be personal and talk to people directly rather than just talking about a product.

Without the backing of a huge multi national magazine and it’s editorial policy bloggers have to make their own decisions about their blog and to me that is what makes blogs special, that I know whatever I read has been put there by the decision of one person, not a comittee, even if they’ve just done it for money!

Also, on the subject of advertising. This weekend I lost my temper and removed 230 pages of ads from my 352 page copy of Vogue. I tweeted the photos! http://twitpic.com/11ovg2
Retro Chick´s last blog ..Sugar and Spice and all things Mushy My ComLuv Profile

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56 Retro Chick February 9, 2010 at 2:14 am

Also I wish I could edit my comment because I’ve just re read it and it’s full of spelling and grammar mistakes :D
Retro Chick´s last blog ..Sugar and Spice and all things Mushy My ComLuv Profile

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57 Casey February 9, 2010 at 4:09 am

Bravo, Jennine! The whole controversy crossed my radar when it initially started, and I thought it’d die down quickly (since as we know, more often than not fashion related news moves quickly and the “next big thing” comes along and distracts people ;) . But in a way, I’m glad it didn’t, because it’s sparking some seriously interesting commentary. Although I am definitely not as into the current fashion scene as you are, I myself have had to learn the ropes and mature quickly in the blogging world to avoid being taken advantage of. I get at least a handful of requests every week for reviews and endorsements, 99% of which I turn down because most of those offers would be taking advantage of me and my blog readership. Not to mention half the time the lure of “ooooh free!” does not induce me to review something that I don’t like or am not interested in. How’s that for being picky and discerning? More importantly, I think it is ironic that established fashion magazines are having such a fit over this issue of bloggers being “bought off” and willing to gush over whoever and whatever, because what is it the magazines have been doing for years? That’s one reason I did stop reading many of the fashion mags: I got tired of the constant sales pitch and instead turned to blogs where I could get thoughtful, useful content related to fashion (and not always a thinly veiled gush about the latest and greatest).

Anyway, thank you for posting this! ;)

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58 SwanDiamondRose February 9, 2010 at 6:46 am

ya!

i want to find that long comment i made a while back on your site about these issues.
SwanDiamondRose´s last blog ..wardrobe 02.06.2010 western? girl? [3] My ComLuv Profile

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59 Alice Olive February 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

Great post.

As a reader of fashion-related blogs, rather than an author, I am drawn to the ones which resonate with me. I follow fewer rather than more. The reasons I like them are many, because I like that particular blogger’s style, because I like the photography/imagery they use, because they seem interested in designers that I also like… Most of all, they are genuine.
Alice Olive´s last blog ..City views My ComLuv Profile

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60 Ondo Lady February 9, 2010 at 7:40 am

Bravo, bravo, bravo. Very well put! There is indeed a Blogger backlash and we seem to be getting it in the neck from journalists who should know better. A lot of patronising things have been said but to be honest I would rather be me than them. Writing for a paper/magazine has amazing perks but you can’t always choose what you want to write and when. Blogging is indeed a learning curve and in a way it is like moving into a new home; you grow with it and into it. I think as long as you exercise integrity and honesty you will go a long way.
Ondo Lady´s last blog ..Fashioning February: Slave to Fashion - Part Two My ComLuv Profile

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61 Kristen February 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

Design houses and retailers have been giving people in the business ‘perks’ forever, not just magazines, but what about all the ‘gifting’ to celebrities and having celebrities in the front rows instead of the fashion industry people, product placement in moves, etc… I think what is happening is not ‘new’ at all, except that maybe the newness is that they are on to the potential powers of the blogging community now, but I think overall it the whole ‘negative backlash’ that is happening is again, just proof positive that blogging is establishing itself as legitimate and credible source of information/ entertainment and influence. Magazine readership is down, in general, blog readership is up, in general… so we shouldn’t be so surprised that the traditional print media is trying to discourage or create bad buzz for bloggers, it only means that they see a real threat, which means to me, that blogging is clearly gaining a bigger public audience and to that i say kudos to those bloggers out there going after the big brass ring while staying true to thier vision.
Kristen´s last blog ..Design Board: In the Style of Dita Von Teese My ComLuv Profile

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62 Jennifer February 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

Such an amazing post that I’ll be sure to share. It’s very disheartening that you have a wonderful, passionate group of fashion bloggers who do know the industry and have a keen sense of journalist style being lumped with other bloggers that are in it for the party crashing and the freebies. There are so many mistakes in blogs, not just in fashion, but you are right, it is an every-growing medium that is learning about itself each and every day and hopefully the good guys will enjoy the same relationships as the editors.
Jennifer´s last blog ..Pour Some Sugar on Me My ComLuv Profile

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63 Steff February 9, 2010 at 11:07 am

Best post I’ve read on the topic. Thanks for writing this Jennine! And thanks for all your work with IFB. :)
Steff´s last blog ..Non-fatal Injury My ComLuv Profile

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64 Miss Glitzy February 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Well Bravo! It’s the best article I read actually about this controversial matter about editors versus fashion bloggers. And to respond to Poochie’s comment I’d like to share my latest experience with a brand which was very interesting and I must admit really thrilling. I got the chance with 5 other French fashion bloggers to design a pair of shoes for a French footwear company. Besides the fact of being able to make you own shoes and taking part of the all manufacturing process, I think that this kind of collaboration brings the relationship between brands and bloggers to another level. The deal was fair, we had amazing times working on this collection and the buzz and marketing effect are, I think, far beyond what the president of the company could expect when he decided to do it! You’re right all the thing is going very fast. I didn’t expect when I started to blog about shoes two years ago this kind of collaboration. Or the fact that blogging could lead me to work with designers and earn money, but it’s one of the best thing that happens to me and I owe it to my blog and the bloggers community’s influence!
Miss Glitzy´s last blog ..Les Queues de Sardines by m+o My ComLuv Profile

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65 Mer February 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I agree 100% with this. Just wanted to add, that in my opinion, Tavi is not being humble enough, which really does not help the blogger community and the generalization that you mentioned before…

I want to go to New York! :-/

cheers
Mer´s last blog ..El mes de las pasarelas My ComLuv Profile

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66 SarahJayne @ Goldmine Trash February 10, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Very well said!

While I feel for professional writers who ‘paid their dues’ the traditional way, change is the ONLY thing that’s inevitable in life. And when technology is the catalyst for such change, there’s usually a major change of players to go along with it.

When ‘talkies’ replaced silent films, most silent film stars found themselves out of work. Meanwhile, a new crop of starlets took the screen by storm. Right now print journalists (of all sorts, not just fashion) are fearing a similar situation in their field. The internet IS directly responsible for the decline in post office and print media profits. It’s turned a lot of industries upside down. And no one wants to lose their security.

To take those frustrations out on Tavi is in poor taste though! She’s a wonderful, engaging writer and people are reacting well to that - wether they’re Galliano or the girl next door. To say she doesn’t deserve to meet and collaborate with designers is to say change shouldn’t exist. It’s also just a matter of jealousy, wether anyone will admit it or not. Frankly, I’m GLAD to see her succeed based her talent (not just age, there’s plenty of crap kiddie blogs out there). I’ll take her over someone twice her age with a 4 yr. degree, 50k in debt, and 0 talent any day.

As far as the picture oriented blogs are concerned though, I don’t see how girls who pose in anything a designer sends them are a threat to fashion writers. Maybe they’re a threat to fashion models though! Who wants to instigate that fight?

heh heh…
SarahJayne @ Goldmine Trash´s last blog ..MID-CENTURY MADNESS – MY VINTAGE LIVING ROOM My ComLuv Profile

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67 Kezia February 11, 2010 at 10:38 am

Hey Jennine - what a well-written, balanced and informative piece! I definitely learned a thing or two. I also really appreciate your humility and honesty. Your sharing your learning experiences is not only inspiring, but part of what makes you so likable and relatable! xo

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68 The Seeker February 11, 2010 at 11:03 am

Thank you so much for this post!!!

xoxo

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