Seemingly out of nowhere, Fairchild Fashion Media, the unit of Condé Nast that publishes WWD and Style.com, announced that they had acquired NowManifest, which "hosts" fashion blogs BryanBoy, Fashion Toast, Anna Dello Russo, Mr. Blasberg, and Style by Kling. The acquisition is interesting because it means people who were once independent style bloggers are now part of one of the biggest media companies in existence. However, it also raises some questions, like...
Does Fairchild now technically own all of those blogs? Were the bloggers in on the deal? Or even aware of it? What changes will NowManifest and each of the blogs undergo as a result of the acquisition? What about editorial content?
While BryanBoy tells us he's "thrilled to be working with Fairchild," he reveals that he and the other bloggers--meaning Rumi Neely, Derek Blasberg and Anna Dello Russo--didn't even know about the acquisition until less than 24 hours before it was announced--and even then he was lead to believe it was simply a partnership.
From what we understand, NowManifest is owned by Christian Remröd and Elin Kling and they don't technically "own" the blogs they host--it's more like a collective so that they can bring in bigger advertising deals as part of a network. "All bloggers in the Nowmanifest platform are totally independent in terms of editorial content," Bryanboy explained. "It's funny because even as a blogger that's part of the network, I only found out about this whole thing less than 24 hours before Women's Wear Daily made the announcement. Nowmanifest didn't consult or advise us that they sold the entity to Fairchild/Conde Nast."
Fellow NowManifest blogger Rumi Neely confirms that she, too, "was not informed whatsoever" and her blog and brand are hers and she can leave NowManifest whenever she chooses.
It definitely seems strange that NowManifest--which wouldn't even be a thing had Remrod and Kling not brought on already-famous bloggers like BryanBoy and Rumi Neely--didn't feel the need to let them know that they were in talks with a huge media corporation. Also, if BryanBoy et al were kept in the dark during negotiations, that probably means that they're not getting anything out of it financially. It all sounds a bit shady to us.
According to a Fairchild spokesperson, no "changes/advances" at NowManifest will be discussed until Remrod begins at FMM--not that there will necessarily be any.
Both BryanBoy and Neely were eager to stress the fact that they own their content and their editorial content won't change as a result of this deal. "My content will always remain the same," said BryanBoy. "We don't report to anyone nor [do] we receive any guidelines whatsoever. In fact, we are 100% in control in terms of content in our sites."
While we're relieved to hear that the bloggers should continue to maintain ownership of their own content--and will likely benefit from the vast resources that a relationship with Fairchild/Condé can bring--it's disappointing that NowManifest seems to have gone about that deal in an underhanded way.