The latest is Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Robin Givhan, who told the Toronto Star that “[bloggers] are too cozy with the designers on whom they report.” According to the Star, Givhan doesn’t follow bloggers and she’s uncomfortable with their growing authority in the fashion industry–particularly when it comes to “reviewing” shows, for which they’ve essentially been paid (in the form of free flights and clothing) to attend.
“I like to think that journalists understand the importance of keeping an arm’s length between critics and designers,” Givhan told the paper. But it’s this distance that Givhan says is missing when it comes to bloggers’ ethos.
According to the Star, “Givhan has read blog posts that wax enthusiastic about an item the blogger has received as a gift from the design house…It annoys her…that a platform for fashion conversation bypasses both criticism and opinion — and goes straight to advertising.” It’s true that despite the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines, the lines of editorial integrity can get fuzzy for bloggers–something we’ve explored before.
The Star has another bone to pick with bloggers: Namely, that many of them are not qualified (either in experience or skill set) to offer valuable criticism or insight on the fashion shows they attend–something Givhan seems to agree with.
“It’s got to be more than just ‘I loved it or I hated it,’ ”Givhan told the paper. “You’ve got to explain your thinking — how you got there. Criticism is not personal opinion. At its best it’s opinion based on a set of facts that are set in context. I’ve seen shows that I’ve loved but I knew that critically they were not great. And vice versa.”
Givhan’s sage words should certainly be heeded by all critics and journalists–not just bloggers. On the other hand, we doubt that anyone is visiting personal style blogs for thoughtful and seasoned critiques on the collections. We can’t argue that bloggers increasingly occupy more space within fashion media, but are they really thought of as fashion critics? We’re not so sure.
What’s your take?