Like most people these days, I love a good old shnoop on a fashion blog. It fascinates me no end how people like Tavi and Meaghan and Ari put together their outfits each day. There’s something quite cool in the way some bloggers can reference such specific and interesting cultural points. Think of Tavi and the “vibes” she tries to channel through her clothing – Twin Peaks, Riot Grrrl, The Virgin Suicides. This girl isn’t just a clothes horse for any flavour-of-the-week designer label. This girl has style. She dresses to convey a feeling, and she almost always succeeds. She gets sent some free stuff as a perk for being a style guru. This is acceptable and almost expected when you run a wildly successful fashion blog – brands are aware of the fact that you have an influence on your readers. I fell in love with the Miu Miu Spring/Summer collection of 2010 after she raved about it on the blog, and I would pretty much do anything to own a pair of the platform Mary Janes. Say what you want about fashion bloggers, but they have power.
So I was kinda – no, very, repulsed by Blogger’s Wardrobe, an upcoming website which claims it will “revolutionise” the fashion blogging world. The aim of the site is to create a free online shop with products from a crop of name brands for the best fashion bloggers to choose from and promote. Excuse me while I puke.
I read fashion blogs to get inspiration, to get an idea of what to do with my own lot, not to find out that X is wearing Y, Z and W and you can buy it on http://www.yzw.com. The reason I like the fashion bloggers I like is because you can’t buy their style – they are wholly different from each other, pretty much inimitable. Their blogs are a diary of self-expression through clothing, be it designer or second-hand or found in a sibling’s wardrobe. I imagined that this was why fashion bloggers blogged. For the love of blogging. (Say blog again. Blog.) The notion of force-feeding readers a stream of brand names and products is the complete antithesis of what I admire in a blogger.
What annoys me even more than the idea itself is the smug sense of entitlement that drips from the website copy. “Bloggers need brands. Brands need bloggers.” and “Not only will they be able to try the best clothes and products for free. They will get coaching, invitations to parties, and all kinds of cool things. But most importantly. They will be able to keep their integrity.” Reeeeallly. They will keep their integrity? How? Are you suggesting that bloggers would have gone around begging for free clothes had you not come in to save the day? Nah, they probably would have just bought them, like normal people. Guarding their integrity. Indeed. And as for letting them “express themselfes (sic – yep, I’m getting bitchy) like independent journalists” – yeah, OK, whatever you say.
Take a look at The Sartorialist, a street fashion blog run by photographer Scott Schuman. See how there is absolutely nothing written about the brands these people are wearing. Instead, we focus on how chic or crazy or pretty these people look in their clothes. Inspiration, not advertising. Blogger’s Wardrobe, take note.