Yesterday, Robin Ghivan proclaimed on The Cut that the "Golden Era" of fashion bloggers is caput, dunzo, finito—in Fashionese, like sooo over. Seeing bloggers' success and growing influence, she argues, magazine editors adopted the blogger's bloggery ways, closing the gap between how traditional media and bloggers provided coverage. As a result, fashion bloggers are now insiders, a part of the fashion establishment—a phenomenon "swallowed whole," as Ghivan says, by the industry it worshiped. The door has closed to new voices, or, at least, the shades have been drawn.
There's no denying that editors have adopted many of the habits of bloggers—live-tweets, parades of runway Instagrams, selfies and snaps of designer-gifted swag—or that fashion magazines have deftly built out their online presences. But fashion blogging was a phenomenon driven by followers, not magazines. And the most provocative thing about the article is not the premise, but the reaction it elicited: a near universal THANK GOD. At some point, "fashion blogging" developed such a negative name that its audience effectively made it an epithet. And it's that audience—the followers—who are writing the lyrics to this funeral dirge.
Watching woman after woman and man after man show off a glossy free object captivated us hoi polloi for a while. The "I-could-do-that" factor of seeing a person who's seemingly no more talented or better looking than you hoist up a Dries Van Noten coat on Instagram and thank the brand's PR rep for sending it over is undeniable. But while Ghivan writes that "there is minimal distinction" between fashion's establishment and its bloggers, in fact, the reality is less that the establishment learned to accept bloggers and more that they found ones who fit their image. They legitimized a slew of very talented people who were breaking ground in a then dubious profession. And now, in place of the "wild west" where anyone could selfie themselves into the front row, there is a blogging establishment as codified as any magazine masthead.
Much of the fashion establishment has crowed about our too hungry worship of bloggers demanding our eyes, attention and money since the beginning. And as the great unwashed do with all great trends, we eventually caught on. It was the fashion blogging establishment itself that pointed us in that direction. As blogging kingpin Scott Schuman tells Ghivan, many, many bloggers are too self-oriented: "It's me, me, me. Look at me. Aren't I cool? Look at this bright, shiny world I’m portraying," he says. "Who am I to say don't take the handbag, or don't take advantage of the opportunities," Schuman adds. "But don't expect people to respect what you do."
And, just like that, we decided that indeed, we did not respect what they do. Amy Odell wrote on Buzzfeed last June that the personal style blogging era "must come to an end." It even became uncool this past February to Instagram your way through a runway show. Suddenly, the online fashion audience wasn't surfin' the net to look at some blogger's amazing new sneakers or buy the handbag seen on some rando Chicogoan's personal style blog, but to lament the fact that long time New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn had resigned.
Now, the fashion blogging audience is hungry for the authenticity and refined opinion that they felt blogging lacked. Ironically, the backlash to fashion blogging has been the sort the establishment could have only dreamed of: well-researched, high-quality writing and photography that focuses on a point of view, rather than a person. It's pretty hard to put that on a spring trend report. Here's hoping it remains the status quo.