Back in November, we reported that Rich Tong was out as Tumblr’s fashion director following some controversy over his reportedly pitching sponsorship proposals that were seriously overpriced.
In to take his place is seasoned fashion journo Valentine Uhovski, who has just been named “Fashion Evangelist” at Tumblr (seriously, that’s his official title).
We caught up with Uhovski to chat about how he landed the new gig, what he plans to change, and how Tumblr is dealing with that whole thinspo problem.
Fashionista: So how did you end up at Tumblr?
Tumblr is by far my favorite social platform, and I was lucky enough to consult them during their most recent Fashion Week program in February. We worked with 5 awesome local bloggers this season, and the content they created on their individual blogs and on our NYFW tag page was incredible. From top brands like Marc Jacobs and Rachel Zoe to our partners at Milk, everyone couldn’t have been more supportive. Nicola Formichetti, who’s a certified Tumblr addict, also got involved by working with us on an event and creating his own amazing Nicopanda virus blog. About a month after Fashion Week, I got a call from Tumblr with a job offer and I was extremely excited to join.
You’ve been in fashion for a while–including a long stint at The Daily. How did you get from there to Tumblr and everything in between?
I worked at The Daily for exactly four years. I’ve covered every fashion week on the planet, interviewed pretty much every designer, and worked with an amazing, young team. It was cool to be one of youngest people in the American sections in Paris or Milan for so many seasons and go to couture. I also worked with the amazing Aliona Doletskaya a lot during that time, who a year ago asked me to be one her first hires during the launch year of first international editions of Interview, and that turned out to be a rewarding and very creative project. I will still contribute to Interview Russia and work on Artruby.com, an art site I co-founded a few years ago. I also learned a lot from contributing to other big publications, like The Wall Street Journal, which I freelanced for during this past year.
What are your plans for Tumblr in this role? What changes can we expect to see and what will your role entail?
Tumblr is growing so fast every day, and our incredible fashion community is growing with it. We’re excited for mega brands with upcoming Tumblr launches, as well as a media debut that the industry will be very excited about. But my goal is to intimately work with bloggers and designers of all popularity levels, and to continue to strengthen our community, including our international fashion bloggers. My other mission is to get everyone we know and love on our dashboards. I sincerely believe everyone in fashion and beyond should be on Tumblr, because they’re missing out big if they’re not.
Tumblr took some flack last fashion week for reportedly charging high fees for partnership deals during fashion week among other things–how will Tumblr approach fashion week this coming season in the wake of this?
That’s something I wasn’t involved with so it’s hard for me to answer in detail. But the reality is, that proposal was preliminary and never actually implemented. In September, Tumblr will be more relevant than ever during Fashion Week and we’re planning some amazing things. We’re based here in New York and we consult and meet our creators on the daily basis. You’ll really see that sense of community translated to all of our events and special projects.
There’s been a lot of buzz recently about “thinspiration” for pro-Anorexia communities popping up on Tumblr among other micro-blogging platforms. How is Tumblr approaching the banning of Thinspo?
That’s an issue that we take very seriously and was recently addressed on our Tumblr staff blog. Very clearly, as part of our new Community Guidelines, we will not allow blogs that contain content promoting or glorifying self-harm. This is an ongoing process and our Support team is currently responding to reports that have been made. We understand the importance of giving users the appropriate resources and have worked with NEDA and other organizations and will start showing PSAs for pro-ana and related search terms in the near future.
Lastly, why do Tumblr and fashion go so well together? How do you see fashion and Tumblr continuing to evolve together?
Tumbr ultimately is filled with the most creative people in the world. It’s the most visual, most addictive, and most immediate forum for fashion. And a blogger from Croatia is just as important as Prabal on Tumblr. I think that this community of millions of fashion folks on Tumblr creates the world’s largest, most exciting, and regularly updated magazine and it just keeps getting better.