Vogue.com's editors published a reflective recap of Milan Fashion Week on Sunday night, which included their favorite collections —Gucci, of course, along with Versace, Bottega Venetta, Prada and Marni — and the overall splendid time they experienced in the Italian fashion city.
But a good portion of the conversation was targeted towards fashion bloggers and influencers, and the editors did not hold back on their thoughts surrounding street style and outfits with paid-for brand placements. Have a read below.
Sally Singer, Vogue Creative Digital Director: "It's a schizophrenic moment, and that just can't be good. (Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.)"
Sarah Mower, Vogue.com Chief Critic: "So yes, Sally, the professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible, but most of all, pathetic for these girls, when you watch how many times the desperate troll up and down outside shows, in traffic, risking accidents even, in hopes of being snapped."
Nicole Phelps, Director of Vogue Runway: "Which brings me back around to Sally and Sarah’s points about the street style mess. It's not just sad for the women who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes, it's distressing, as well, to watch so many brands participate."
Alessandra Codinha, Vogue.com Fashion News Editor: "Am I allowed to admit that I did a little fist pump when Sally broached the blogger paradox? There’s not much I can add here beyond how funny it is that we even still call them 'bloggers,' as so few of them even do that anymore. Rather than a celebration of any actual style, it seems to be all about turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching in your seat as you check your social-media feeds, fleeing, changing, repeating ... It's all pretty embarrassing — even more so when you consider what else is going on in the world. (Have you registered to vote yet? Don’t forget the debate on Monday!)
Loving fashion is tremendous, and enthusiasts of all stripes are important to the industry — after all, people buy clothing because of desire, not any real need — but I have to think that soon people will wise up to how particularly gross the whole practice of paid appearances and borrowed outfits looks. Looking for style among a bought-and-paid-for ('blogged out?') front row is like going to a strip club looking for romance. Sure, it's all kind of in the same ballpark, but it's not even close to the real thing."
Susie's response continues, bringing up the fact that she faced the same criticism nearly eight years ago. "The fashion establishment don't want their circles enlarged," she said. "And for the ivory tower to remain forever that. Towering and impenetrable." And since the Vogue.com team finds street style hopefuls so sad, Susie also suggested that they stop running Phil Oh's street style roundups from fashion month "for site clicks," to which he responded, "Maybe let's think of an alternative solution." (Dude's gotta get paid after all.)
"It's schoolyard bullying, plain and simple," said Bryanboy on Twitter. "How satisfying it must be to go for the easy target rather than going for other editors." He also noted his past outfits and designer-name items that were, in fact, not borrowed. (The influential blogger often vocalizes his preference for buying over borrowing.)
"I'd have a bounty for my head if I name-checked all the editors who told me they only go to certain shows because they're advertisers," continued Bryanboy, alluding to the industry practice of favoring advertisers on the fashion calendar. He also alluded to editorials with head-to-toe runway looks, covers with celebrities/brand ambassadors and editor salaries that are "being paid for by advertiser credits."
Singer's call for bloggers to "find another business," is probably the harshest remark. However, bloggers do find other businesses — multimillion-dollar businesses: clothing lines, collaborations, campaigns, contributing or full-time professional gigs in the industry, judging or expert panel appearances and even music careers. Street style and front row opportunities are only a fraction of what these bloggers really do. Don't knock the hustle.
Update, 9/27/16: Shea Marie of Peace, Love Shea and her best friend, singer and model Caroline Vreeland have also chimed in on the "Bloggers vs. Vogue" debacle. The Los Angeles-based blogger posted on Instagram with a lengthy caption that includes, "I'm sorry if you can't accept that what a 'public figure' wears on the street is undoubtedly more influential than your post-fashion week column. That the fashion world isn't controlled by you alone anymore."
On Twitter, she continued her point with another photo of her and Vreeland in matching BFF Jackets by Veda. "Can anyone guess what @voguemagazine most commented Instagram pic is (by a landslide)?" wrote Shea Marie. "A street style photo of me and @carovreeland. Ironic."
Vreeland also took to Instagram, posting a photo of her from Milan Fashion Week alongside Anna Wintour. Her caption directly addresses Vogue, saying, "I find it shameful that an institution such as Vogue would demean and belittle these young people who are building their own paths, especially since they are mostly young women, calling them 'pathetic' and comparing them to strippers. This certainly isn't the Vogue voice my great-grandmother once stood for."
Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What also shared her thoughts on Vogue's criticisms via Instagram. "I'd like to give Vogue the benefit of the doubt here, and say that a few old-school editors representing an archaic mindset of the prestigious publication rattled off some thoughtless, bitter comments," wrote Bernstein. "Perhaps they'll change their opinions after reading the responses of countless bloggers, followers, and readers alike who are firing back with their own opinions on who and what matters in our industry."