Vogue is an incredibly influential institution, dictating people’s style for over 123 years now. So when they call you out for being absolutely sh*t at what you do, that’s got to sting.
As Milan Fashion Week drew to a close, Vogue.com published a roundtable discussion summing up the week’s events. Now you’d think such a roundup would be lighthearted and jaunty, maybe one harsh line claiming sequins are so 2011 (they are). But no, the world’s most iconic fashion title took time to sink their teeth into the blogging community, ripping into them like they just failed a Jeremy Kyle lie detector test.
Alessandra Codinha, Fashion News Editor for Vogue.com, said: “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."
Worse was to come as Nicola Phelps, Director of Vogue Runway, added: “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."
What have the bloggers done you ask? They’ve only gone and made some money out of their bollocks Instagram posts - and that’s what’s gotten up Vogue’s perfectly pruned nostrils.
True, I hate a cringe-inducing promoted social post as much as the next person (who the hell drinks Fit Tea or eats jelly teddy bears that make your hair grow?), but if I were a blogger, and a brand approached me and offered a couple of grand and some cool clothes to post some robotic statement and a pouty selfie to my followers, I’d be like HELL YAAAAAS. Not everyone can be a writer or editor for a high-end fashion magazine, and when you flaunt that decadent lifestyle boasting limited edition trainers, A-list parties and travelling the world over social media and in glossy pages, expect people to want a piece of it. You can’t be angry at people for wanting something and succeeding at it, never mind how idiotic it may ostensibly appear.
And can Vogue really talk? While a wonderful magazine, it's also one whose life force relies on paid advertisements. Do you honestly think that Anna Wintour loves every piece of clothing in the mag’s ads? Do you really think they put Kim Kardashian on the front cover because they think she’s a fashion influencer? Do they buy their own clothes instead of just borrowing them from labels and sending them back? Of course not, but if they were that picky they’d have gone out of business years ago, either that or each Vogue would cost about £1,250. They need the funding of brands to survive and they need occasionally insufferable celebrities who have no discernible sense of style, just a great stylist, to shift copies.
Bloggers are just doing the same thing glossy style magazines have done for decades and decades. It’s just that in 2016 how brands are communicated to potential customers is executed is completely differently. Rather than traditional advertisements, brands are taking advantage of regular people and their massive social influence, because it seems a bit more natural than spending thousands and thousands of pounds on a two page ad that sits in between about 20 others. So instead of sitting on a paper page, it sits on an Instagram page in the form of a paid for outfit, where a brand will give a stupid amount of cash to some youthful, good looking person, who’ll Tweet/Instagram/YouTube about it and wear it outside the shows to get papped by street style photographers, who will then showcase those pictures through their own mediums and sell them on to other publications.
Sure it’s not natural, and for our money give us print and honest editorial any day, but should it really bother Vogue that much? This just sounds like a case of ‘you can’t sit with us’ syndrome, because some spotty teenager with a webcam has more influence than a century-old publication. Vogue is always going to reign supreme, they’re just being the old body on the middle class estate who gets angry when hooded youths sit on their garden wall. In no way will they ruin the industry or tarnish the name of good style, all they’re doing is getting paid to brainwash the young into thinking something is cool.
They should really learn to pick their fights, especially online, as the internet is riddled with bloggers with huge followings. It’s like when you pick up a large stone in a forest and hundreds of woodlice scuttle from underneath, say something bad about them on a website and they’ll appear from nowhere on the defensive, like Susie Bubble, one of the world’s biggest bloggers did:
Firstly let's not pretend that editors and stylists are not beholden to brands in one way or another, getting salaries at publications...— susiebubble (@susiebubble) September 26, 2016
... that are stuffed full of credits that are tied to paid advertising but not explicitly stated as such.— susiebubble (@susiebubble) September 26, 2016
Secondly, bloggers who wear paid-for outfits or borrowed clothes are merely doing the more overt equivalent of that editorial-credit system.— susiebubble (@susiebubble) September 26, 2016
It's just that bloggers sadly don't have prestigious titles/publications to hide behind and represent themselves solely.— susiebubble (@susiebubble) September 26, 2016
So it basically boils down to the same criticism I heard eight years ago. The fashion establishment don't want their circles enlarged...— susiebubble (@susiebubble) September 26, 2016
If anything, Vogue should be embracing the new form of fashion content, because it's clear from the amount of YouTube subscribers that vlogger turned fashion writer Jim Chapman has (over two million) that online videos are the way this new generation soaks information up. They can't be alienating a whole community like this, because at some point in the very near future, Vogue's numbers will drop because they'll lose touch in an ever changing media landscape, and they'll have to turn to these bloggers for help. But with calling them 'sad' and 'pathetic' on a website that gets millions in traffic a week, they might just let them sink, and no one can blame them for letting them drown.
The problem is that Vogue, like the music industry in the early 2000s who didn't really see downloads as a threat, don't take their competition seriously. They need to shake hands and work with one another, before one becomes the CD and the other iTunes. You can probably guess which one falls where.
Sadly, after 123 years in the business, it seems like Vogue might finally be going senile. They need to either get with the times and adapt to the current climate, or pack their bags and be shipped off to a retirement home.