Fashion

Celebrity Stylists vs Editorial Stylists

The concept of celebrity stylists is not new. Rachel Zoe pioneered the trend back in the mid-2000s, changing the role of the stylist from exclusively focusing on red carpet dressing to dictating almost every aspect of their client’s daily wardrobe. The influence wielded by these stylists is, on the other hand, new.

A recent Fashionista article questioned if celebrity stylists were now more influential than editorial stylists. The article focused on an event hosted by The Wall Group and the CFDA featuring names like Karla Welch, Elizabeth Stewart, and Ilaria Urbinati. The article didn’t come to a firm conclusion, but I have: Celebrity stylists are more influential than editorial stylists. I’m going to tell you why, and I think there are two main reasons.

Ever since the recession, the print magazine market has been on the decline. The monetary cost of magazines for the consumer are often perceived as not being worth their dollar, given the amount of free content that they have access to online. As a result of this, circulation and readership of magazines have gone down. The loss of money to the print magazine market has meant that, I think, magazines are increasingly reliant on their sponsors for funding. Magazines make money from selling ad space. A page in the front half of the magazine costs more than the end, a inside cover or back page are even more valuable. As a result of this, magazines have become increasingly reliant on their advertisers and pleasing them. This is the first reason.

Lots of brands now stipulate that if a magazine wants to feature their designs in an editorial, they must use the full runway look from head to toe. That means no other brands can be mixed in. This has led to magazine editorials looking increasingly like catalogues, paid advertorials. There is no way to make an entirely new creative concept for an editorial if you are not allowed the freedom to style clothing as you wish. It is for this reason that editorial styling has lost some of its influence, because the stylists are simply not allowed to.

Maeve Reilly, stylist to Hailey Baldwin

The second reason that celebrity stylists are more influential is that celebrities are now more influential. Fashion has become entertainment, models have become celebrities, and Instagram has led to the mash-up of all of the different industries where fame has become the most important thing. With fame comes exposure and with exposure comes influence. It’s all a cycle.

Celebrities used to have one opportunity to show off their style and look good: the red carpet. However, TMZ and paparazzi culture has meant that every aspect of a celebrity’s life is now front page news. The Daily Mail will literally write a whole article about somebody walking to their car. Every moment of a celebrity’s existence will now be photographed, and for that reason they want to look good all the time. Every time you see a Kardashian or Jenner walking into a restaurant, stepping out of their car, or going into a store, their outfit has been carefully chosen by their stylist who picks out pieces to be worn throughout their regular lives. Stylists don’t just pick out gowns, but now they pick out jeans and t-shirts too. It was Monica Rose who decided to slash the neck of Kendall Jenner’s vintage band t-shirts last year and started the awful choker t-shirt trend. More often than not, the stylist doesn’t get the credit in the media or with the public for their influence.
Until the Instagram bubble bursts, celebrities will be dressed to the nines on the regular. If they are not spotted by the paparazzi, they will post a photo online themselves. In this way, they control the use of their image again. Another positive of this, for people who have a following at least, is that they can monetize their platform. Often a stylist will work with a brand, on behalf of their client, to form a partnership in which the model or celebrity is compensated via money and free clothing to promote the brand online. In this sense, celebrity stylists have taken on an even greater role than editorial stylists ever did and for that reason, the financial compensation involved is often greater.

There are a million and one editorial stylists out there, but the list of truly successful celebrity stylists is a lot smaller. If they play their cards right, they can have clients who rely on them and their services every day of the week and they can be flown around the world with their clients. The job of a celebrity stylist is very different than an editorial stylist, but in today’s celebrity-driven culture, the celebrity stylist clearly wields a greater influence and comes out on top.

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 9th December 2017

This week has been a hectic, crazy week for me. I have barely stopped thus far with lots of travel and appointments filling up my days. I’m not in New York at the moment and it is really strange removing yourself from that bubble. It is very easy to get stuck in the mindset that New York is the center of the universe when you live there, because it really is its own self-contained world. Everything you could ever need is there. However, the world did not stop turning just because I left the city and once again it is another week filled with news and happenings. Here’s some of the most important fashion news, in my opinion:

Kim Kardashian copies Vetements

Instead of finding this online, I stumbled across this myself and I was actually very disappointed. When Kim and North wore the matching silver Vetements dresses to one of Kanye West’s Saint Pablo tour shows back in September 2016, the whole internet’s collective hearts melted. They looked so cute. It was twinning at its best. Fast forward to 2017 and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West launched their own kids clothing line, called The Kids Supply. The line appears to be pretty successful, operating on a drop system comparable to a sneaker release and providing kids with miniature versions of their parents’ clothes. They even sell baby Yeezys. For the Holiday 2017 collection, Kim & Kanye included a silver dress which is a direct knock-off of the Vetements style that was custom made for North last fall. It’s disappointing to see them try to profit off of one of their friend’s (or at least acquaintance’s) designs, especially when the design in question was a one-of-a-kind piece made for their daughter. I understand taking inspiration from something, but when it looks like a direct replica that is a little bit inappropriate. This isn’t the first time that Kim & Kanye have been called out for copying with this line, with their furry slides last season getting attention for being very similar to the Fenty Puma and Givenchy styles. I noticed this on Monday 4th when Kim posted the line sheets on her Twitter. Since then, countless places have called her out and Kim responded by saying the styles were paying homage and that they would be named after the respective designers with the proceeds donated to charity. Sigh. Ok. I’m glad they are doing something positive but you know for sure that if they weren’t called out for the copying they would’ve kept the profits. The second garment in question is a copy of a Comme des Garçons bomber jacket.

Bruce Weber Sued by Male Model for Sexual Misconduct” – Fashionista

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke a couple of months ago, the entertainment industry’s sexual predators have been exposed at a rapid rate. The latest name to emerge is Bruce Weber, noted fashion photographer famous for his Calvin Klein and Abercrombie + Fitch ads. Weber’s name was first thrown around over a month ago after some of the stories posted by Cameron Russell under the #myjobshouldnotincludeabuse campaign alluded to him. Terry Richardson was the name most known but lots of people had heard rumblings about Weber too. Model Jason Boyce brought a lawsuit against the photographer in New York last week, alleging abuse and humiliation. Sadly, it seems that the news of the accusations weren’t anything new to a lot of people in the fashion industry and it makes you wonder how widespread this cover-up really is and who else is involved.

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Fashion

ScreenShop versus Bloggers

Last month there was a bit of controversy in the fashion blogging community. Kim Kardashian had began promoting an app which bloggers thought was going to cut into their affiliate link sales. Messing with people’s earning potential, especially bloggers who make astronomical sums from doing things that the rest of us do on a daily basis (getting dressed), is never a good move, and when people have a platform to make their voices heard, their criticisms will be noted.

The app in question, called ScreenShop, allows users to screenshot any image they see online, even Instagram posts, and receive customized recommendations for similar products or links to the same products that were featured in the image that they can immediately shop. It will stop the mass of comments on people’s posts asking where items are from (that are often ignored to generate further engagement) and make it so much easier to recreate your favorite celebrities/bloggers looks.

Fashion bloggers have taken particular offence to this app, and Kim Kardashian herself, saying that the app is just a way for Kim Kardashian to monetize someone else’s content. Bloggers make insane amount of money from affiliate links, and being able to provide their followers with links to products that prove advantageous to the content creator allows them to make money to continue doing what they do. The most common route taken by bloggers to monetize their Instagram (besides doing paid collaborations with a brand) is to use the LikeToKnowIt app.

LikeToKnowIt is part of Reward Style, one of the original affiliate link programs that allowed bloggers to start linking the products that they wore to stores that they could be purchased from whilst getting a cut of the sale price. Often bloggers only make money if people actually buy what they link, but some programs go one step further and allow bloggers to make money for clicks alone. Since RewardStyle started back in 2011, the platform has generated over $1 billion in sales. LikeToKnowIt is a further development of the Reward Style program. The app, used by bloggers and shoppers, means that when users like a photo from a content creator they will receive an email providing information on where to buy all of the products seen in the photograph. App users can choose the frequency of the notifications, with the majority opting to receive the product information as soon as they like the photo. Some influencers can make up to $20,000 per month from the app. That’s a lot of money given that they monetize various other platforms (blogs, YouTube channels) and still participate in paid promotions and endorsements with brands. It seems that the money train for bloggers is never going to stop.

Whipped cream 💘

A post shared by Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni) on

For this reason, Kim Kardashian’s app is being perceived as a strong threat. Bloggers are worried that somebody else may be getting a cut of their profits. Their complaints can’t help but sound ridiculous to an audience who doesn’t live the lavish lifestyles that they see on bloggers’ social media though. It is a little bit difficult to sympathize with the influencers, but I can understand why they are upset.

It’s not all bad news for the bloggers though. The ScreenShop app doesn’t have the best reviews. Apparently the matches that it comes up with aren’t fully accurate or sometimes even in the same vein as the product shown on the influencer’s post. The examples shown by Kim Kardashian on her promotions of the app were obviously pre-tested to ensure that they demonstrated the app in the most positive light. The quick, seamless integration of the app and social media channels isn’t quite as it seems initially too. I haven’t personally tested it out yet so I can’t give a definitive review, but from what I’ve seen online it doesn’t look like the bloggers will be as threatened as they initially thought.

The whole hoopla around the monetization of content got me thinking about blogging in general. Nowadays bloggers, in the original sense of the word, don’t exist. Their blogs have been put on the backburner, with their Instagram feeds serving the main purpose. They’re now pseudo-celebrities. There are some influencers who developed a following just from their Instagram photos, not even a blog or a Youtube channel. Because of the perceived easiness, so many kids want to be influencers when they grow up. That is their dream job. That’s kind of scary. But, is it all bad? After all, a blogger is an entrepreneur. They create their own schedules, they often start businesses, and they often make six figures a year at a very young age. Not so bad, huh?

Further reading

Kim Kardashian West may have just changed the way you shop – BBC

A blogger’s social media idea sparks a retail revolution, and $1 billion in sales – CNBC

Kim Kardashian’s new app Screenshop might ruin your self-esteem – Mashable

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 2nd December 2017

“Lisa Marie Fernandez Claims Emily Ratajkowski Copied Two of Her Swimsuits” – Business of Fashion

Emily Ratajkowski, a model most commonly known for her social media following and appearance in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video, decided to monetize her assets by creating a swimwear line. After teasing the launch for weeks online, a collection of 6 swimsuits was released on November 16th ranging in price from $75 (for either a bikini bottom or top) to $160. The collection was cute, retro-inspired, and totally made for Instagram. I can already imagine all of the influencers posing in the suits now. The launch was not without controversy. Lisa Marie Fernandez, a buzzy swimwear designer whose line is carried in stores like Barneys and Saks, alleged that Ratajkowski copied two of her copyrighted designs and sent her a cease and desist letter. Fernandez’s side of the story can be read in more detail in the above linked BoF article.

It seems that Fernandez isn’t the only designer whose work has been copied for the launch of the Inamorata line, as the “Swami’s” suit in leopard print is a recreation of a late 80s Norma Kamali piece. Ratajkowski has posted photos of her “inspiration” on Instagram, but doesn’t seem to realize the implications of admitting that you completely copied someone. I also think that swimwear is a super saturated market and it is very difficult to create original styles nowadays given that virtually everything has been done already. However, Fernandez’s styles were very popular and she definitely made the styles her own and gained brand recognition in the fashion industry for them.

I will be curious to see how this case pans out and if there are any more lawsuits against the company. Copyright laws for clothing are very poor in the US, but they are stronger in Europe where designers have more chance of winning a case. In this case, I feel like the lawsuit was brought against Ratajkowski to gain publicity and alert people of the copying that has occurred instead of actually seeking a financial settlement. Ratajkowski will need to be careful going forward because the last thing that a fledgling business needs is to go bankrupt from lawsuits.

“Established Beauty Companies Are Now Turning To Kim Kardashian For Business Advice” – Fashionista

Ultralight Beams 12.01, 12pm PST kkwbeauty.com

A post shared by KKWBEAUTY (@kkwbeauty) on

In the same way that Kylie Jenner smashed all odds and launched a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a little over a year, her sister Kim Kardashian launched one too. KKW Beauty was introduced in June 2017, beginning with just a contour kit comprising of double-ended cream contour sticks with brush and sponge applicators for blending. Since then, the product offering has expanded into more face and lip products, newly launched fragrances, and most recently a multi-purpose glitter-gloss. Instead of the traditional licensing deal that celebrities tend to stick to, branding products with their names but having no involvement with the actual manufacturing and development processes, both Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are highly involved in every step of the product’s life cycle, from ideation to market. What’s most notable about the two brands is how quickly they grew, something that most traditional brands cannot manage. In the six months that KKW Beauty has existed, it has done tens of millions of dollars in sales. The perfume launch alone made $10 million in one day. Both of these businesses have chosen to forego the traditional approach to advertising and marketing, using just the two founders’ own social media presence to promote the products and push the line. The Fashionista article talks about how other brands are trying to work out how to replicate the Kardashian/Jenner success, but I think that it cannot be done. You see, they have a loyal audience ready to spend their money on the products: their market already exists. KKW Beauty already has 1 million followers on Instagram, whereas Kylie Cosmetics has almost 15 million. For comparison, Anastasia Beverly Hills, a hugely successful cosmetics line that is around twenty years old, has 15.1 million followers, and their social media presence is considered gigantic for a cosmetics company. When a new brand launches they have to build up their following and gain fans and attention all by themselves; when a celebrity launches a brand, the following is already there. That’s why I think trying to replicate their success is a waste of time, because they are playing a different sport than most brands. The Fashionista interview was actually interesting. Normally I don’t like reading about Kim Kardashian but in recent months I have began to admire her business acumen. She is so skilled at turning anything into gold. It’s fascinating to watch and I am so curious to see how the Kim and Kylie competition heats up. Whose line will be bigger in the end? Stay tuned to see.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Louis Vuitton FW04

I’m headed back to Scotland for a little while this month so I thought it was fitting to feature a Scottish-inspired collection. Back in 2004, Marc Jacobs and his team took a trip to the Highlands to seek inspiration and look around the royal estate of Balmoral where the Queen spends her summers. The end result was a tartan-infused collection in the most luxe way possible.

Opened by Lily Cole, a model known for her lily-white skin (pun intended) and fiery red hair, the show had around 50 looks of real grown-up women’s clothes. This Louis Vuitton was definitely not intended for teenagers. It’s funny that fashion has made such a shift in the past decade because almost every brand seems to cater to a set of young people (aged 18-30) who often don’t have the spending power to match the price tags on the garments. Instead of focusing on the core group of women who are in an older age bracket (who will actually buy the garments instead of demanding PR samples or compensation for wearing the clothes), brands focus on kids and social media. Ten years ago, this was not the case. Clothes were made for grown-ups with real lives. People who wore pencil skirts to work. People who need cocktail dresses for various events. I guess the shift towards informality in society is also reflected in the casualness of our clothes nowadays.

Out of this show, my favorite looks were the tight black dress with the sheer netting detail on the shoulders and the little wrist-length gloves and the black suit jacket (very Chanel) with the velvet-looking pedal pushers. The collection even featured one of the fur stoles like what Kanye wore in a post from last month (but in brown, not grey). I hope you get the gist of the collection from the images I’ve added!

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Fashion

Rihanna for Vogue Paris

Every year the December issue of Vogue Paris is guest-edited. The reins are handed over to a specially selected fashion figure who gets to have a large say in the overall theme and direction of the issue. This year, they chose Rihanna. It makes sense given that Rihanna is no longer just a singer but a multi-hyphenate mogul. She shows a collection at fashion week, she has a make-up line, and she acts. Basically Rihanna is relevant in all facets of the entertainment industry which closely intersects with fashion. I haven’t seen inside the magazine yet but so far three covers have been revealed, shot by Juergen Teller, Inez & Vinoodh, and Jean-Paul Goude. I go between each one as my favorite so I really can’t decide which is my favorite. I like the styling best on the Juergen Teller shot but I think the Jean-Paul Goude one is the most striking. The Inez & Vinoodh one is so pretty but I also think it could be the cover of any magazine, not specifically Vogue Paris. I think the most VP feeling cover is the Jean Paul Goude. What’s your favorite?

by Juergen Teller

by Inez & Vinoodh

by Jean-Paul Goude

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Fashion

Weekly Words: 25th November 2017

This week has been overwhelmingly focused on Thanksgiving. At work, everyone was talking about how it was only a three day week and that they were excited for the long weekend. People were traveling far and wide and some were staying in the city. This year for Thanksgiving I stayed home and ate Chinese food with a friend. I am yet to actually experience a real American Thanksgiving with turkey et al. Maybe next year?

Working in fashion has led to Thanksgiving having a totally different meaning to me. Instead of thinking about a family gathering, I thought about the Black Friday sales. We spent the entire week prepping for the markdowns on what is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The Christmas creep and lengthening of Cyber Monday into the entire week prior just show how colossal this event is. Black Friday is the one day of guaranteed discounts at almost all stores, and my internship was no different. It’s actually insane the amount that you can get off designer clothes and if I were to ever make a big purchase (a coat, shoes, a random item of clothing), I would definitely do it on this day. Most sites don’t even have exclusions. Wow.

I’m trying to show restraint and not go crazy with shopping, which has actually gone well thus far. I had initially planned to buy another fur coat from Zara but I decided that I didn’t really need it so didn’t get it. I did pick up an Anastasia Beverly Hills contour kit because they were 50% off and I have been wanting one since it came out a few years ago. Getting a $40 kit for only $20 is an amazing deal. The amount of markdowns that occur on Black Friday just make you wonder how much stores actually mark-up all of the merchandise for the rest of the season.

Instead of doing a traditional weekly words this week, I decided to include some of the things that I’d suggest purchasing over this holiday weekend. Most places have sales running until Monday night / Tuesday so there is still plenty of time to get things. The photos are clickable so they will take you to the store directly to shop. Enjoy!!

All under $100 with discount!

On a sadder note, Azzedine Alaia passed away last weekend. The well-loved and respected fashion designer was 82. I always knew Alaia because of Naomi Campbell, who fondly referred to him as her Papa. This Business of Fashion article tells you everything you need to know about the topic. Alaia was one of the greatest designers to ever create in the past 25 years and his presence will be sorely missed.

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Fashion, Film & TV, Opinion

Movie Costumes as Wedding Attire

Up until about two or three years ago, the whole concept of a wedding was just not interesting to me. I was never a little girl who fantasised about the big white wedding with cake and 200+ guests. To be fair, I’m still not.

Things changed when I became hooked on Say Yes to the Dress, the TLC wedding dress show set in Kleinfeld Bridal in New York. The whole idea of finding this beautiful gown that makes the woman wearing it feel like a trillion bucks became so appealing to me. I decided I too wanted to say yes to the dress, or say I found the gown (there’s so many spin-offs now). However, a traditional big poufy dress doesn’t call out to me, nor does a sleek little mermaid silhouette with the embellished belt that seems to be oh-so-common nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, these often look amazing on people but I just can’t imagine myself ever having a wedding where a dress like this would be appropriate. If I ever get married, I want it to be a small affair and I need an outfit to suit. In 2014 I made a post about “non-traditional” bridal outfits and I still stand by what I said in that. (Olivia Palermo was the coolest bride of the past 10 years.)

I often find myself watching movies and seeing dresses that I think would look great on a wedding day, especially a low-key event. For that reason, I’ve decided to compile a list of some movie looks that I think could be modified or recreated for a wedding outfit. I do prefer the traditional white and neutral tones for a wedding look so if there’s anything in colour I’d more than likely modify it.

See some picks below:

This dress is one of my favourite Marilyn costumes of all time. I think the fabric is so sleek and the train adds such glamour. For a wedding, I can envision this dress recreated in a white silk, or even champagne.

One of Elizabeth Taylor’s most iconic costumes, this pleated white dress from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would be perfect for a summer wedding. The dress swings as she walks meaning that it would look so good if you’re dancing.

019-gilda-theredlist

Rita Hayworth in Gilda is a dangerously sexy look. However, for a wedding I’d suggest closing up the leg slit a little (it is Angelina Jolie at the Oscars big) and of course, changing the color. I can imagine you’d walk with a wiggle wearing this.

Grace Kelly’s casual outfit (although nothing was casual about the way she dressed) in Rear Window could work if you substituted the green skirt for a white.

Michelle Pheiffer’s white skirt suit in Scarface would look fabulous, especially if you added a short veil under the hat.

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 18th November 2017

“Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman: ‘I find the idea that there was a posh cabal offensive’” – The Guardian

Edward Enninful’s predecessor Alexandra Shulman has been dealing with controversy since stepping down from her role as EIC of British Vogue a few months ago. The formerly inoffensive character has been marred by allegations of racism and classism along with being charged with taking thinly veiled swipes at her replacement in a Business of Fashion column. In an attempt at damage control, Shulman sat down with an interviewer from The Guardian to set the record straight. As tends to be the case with any interview to address a problem, it didn’t go well. For starters, Shulman was set up to fail as the interviewer clearly had some personal issues with her and the article seemed extremely biased to read. I am not a Shulman die-hard fan but I did think that the interviewer seemed very keen on knocking her at every possible opportunity. The portrait of Shulman painted was one of a very out-of-touch woman. She didn’t seem racist or hateful in anyway; she really just seemed clueless. Shulman’s approach to editing British Vogue was all about numbers, not creativity. She was focused on growing the circulation and readership, not being groundbreaking or progressive. With Enninful as EIC, it will be interesting to see the changes that are made. Now that more people have got their hands on the December issue, more reviews are coming in. The cover has been praised by almost everybody in the fashion industry (and, of course, it is divine) but the editorials inside apparently still have the same cast of models who frequented the pages of Shulman’s Vogue. This, coupled with the accusations of photoshopping cover star Adwoa Aboah lighter, have meant that Edward Enninful’s debut issue may not have been as perfect as we all hoped. However, I’m sure it’s still great and I can’t wait to flick through my own copy.

 

“Exposed: Beauty Bloggers Committing Fraud!” – Chloe Morello, YouTube

Australian Youtuber Chloe Morello posted a video this week exposing the culture of buying fake followers and engagement on social media in order to receive influencer status. This is common practice and done by so many girls who see Instagram as a means to an end. They see other girls living fun lives and want to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the time to gain an online following has long passed. It was an easier thing to do five years ago but now the market is so saturated that it is almost impossible to grow a following from scratch organically nowadays. So how do new influencers keep popping up then? That is what Morello dives into in her video. The notion of bots, comment pods, and fake followers is nothing new but it is getting ridiculous and borderline fraudulent. Brands are wasting money by sponsoring influencers who don’t have real followings and therefore no audience to influence and turn into customers. On top of all of this, people are getting to live a life of luxury that they haven’t earned. I wonder how much more exposing has to occur before people get shutdown, whether that be by the social networks themselves (imagine if they deleted every account which had bought followers, the drama…) or by brands by effectively shutting people out. I’m curious to see how this develops.

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Essays, Fashion

The Role of a Fashion Critic

I have been reading a lot about fashion criticism and the role that it plays in the industry nowadays. Are critics important? Do they still have a voice? Do they even fit into the ever-changing world of fashion? Honestly, I have no idea. In my opinion, as long as there are people who care about more than clothes, but about the sociological and historical context of fashion, then critics are needed. If there’s nobody like that left, then they’re redundant. Thankfully, there’s still some people who care (even if it’s a shrinking group).

In the clickbait heavy world of fashion journalism critics are being overshadowed by shopping listicles and selfies. Most online publications would prefer to post 5 short articles filled with fluff that doesn’t really make a point or leave a memorable impact instead of 1 high quality review or in-depth story. Discussing fashion in an intellectual way is increasingly rare nowadays, but fortunately there are still some outlets which quench my thirst for this format. Quartz and Racked are two online publications that I’d recommend, along with all of the big newspapers for their critics (The Washington Post and Robin Givhan, The New York Times and Vanessa Friedman etc.).

The general consensus on why fashion criticism doesn’t matter as much anymore is that it has no impact on a business’ sales. Fashion designers don’t need critics on their side, they need the masses. Social media has let everybody become a critic by sharing their opinion online. You don’t need to be educated or informed to say your thoughts on a collection, but your voice does matter. Olivier Rousteing’s high at Balmain directly coincided with when the brand was at the height of fame on social media and was being posted by people across the globe. It didn’t matter that the critical reviews of the collection touched on the repetitive nature, as long as the public still liked it. Social media buzz doesn’t always translate into sales, but it certainly helps.

A celebrity/influencer-filled front row at Cushnie et Ochs SS17

I think the more accurate reason why fashion criticism has fallen by the wayside is because people simply don’t want to read anymore. I know this for a fact. Even just by looking at “fashion” bloggers who have huge followings and infinite views, you can see that the content they post is more image-heavy instead of words. When online, people don’t want to be confronted with huge blocks of text, especially on a topic thought to be as trivial as fashion. I can even tell this with my own blog. I know it would be bigger in terms of numbers if I tried to just post outfit pictures and click-baity articles, but that wouldn’t be fun for me so I choose not to. The digital presence of major fashion publications gives weight to this theory. On Vogue.com, the average article is short (maybe three or four paragraphs) and has at least two images or tweets included. Most of them focus on gossip or shopping guides. The reason why is that people want to read this kind of thing. Writing is all about garnering the most traffic nowadays. If a publication can gain thousands of views on an article that took 30 minutes to write, why would they waste their time getting potentially less views on something that took multiple hours to fine tune and perfect? If a writer is freelance, the more stories they write, the more they get paid. Say the base rate for an article is $500. Would you rather write 2 articles in a day and make $1000 or 1 article in the same day and make half?

If fashion criticism were to become relevant once again, it would take a major change from readers in terms of their behavior. For one, we would all collectively have to reject all clickbait. This includes commenting on articles via social channels, which still contributes to their statistics. The more comments something has, the higher it gets pushed in people’s feeds, the more likely they are to click on it. If outlets started to see a major drop in engagement in their current preferred format then perhaps they would invest in long-form journalism and criticism. However, until then I am happy to support the few remaining critics who still have a platform.

For further reading on this topic:

The Importance of Being Earnest” – Style Zeitgeist

Little impact, lots of prestige: A look at the role of fashion critics today” – Digiday

“Kelly Cultrone: What Happened to All the Fashion Critics?” – The Fashion Spot (from 2014)

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