Thursday, November 05, 2009

It’s No Vogue

Have fashion blogs really taken the place of our beloved magazines?

Fashionistas all over the world have recently set aside their fixation, dare I say- addiction, with various fashion magazines (or at least until the release of the next issue) and are opting to hop online to peruse articles, entries, information and photo shoot-reminiscent stills from an entirely new breed of fashion icons; the style blogger.

With the economic times begging us to put that $5.99 into our savings, instead of nonchalantly adding the current issue of Elle to our grocery pile on the conveyor belt in front of us, it makes sense that the modern fashion savvy gal is turning to a cheaper, and often more bountiful, alternative.

Internet blogs come in many different styles and forms, offer diverse opinions, and are often updated once daily (sometimes multiple times). They are also opening the door for a fresh new group of entrepreneurs looking to voice their views on the sorts of things normally only found within the beautifully glossed-pages of Vogue.

This year, the front row of Dolce and Gabbana’s fashion show during Milan’s fashion week was filled with new, internet famous faces- two of those faces belonging to Bryan Boy and Tommy Ton, well-known style blog owners. Bryan Boy has even had Marc Jacob’s name a bag after him, a feat not easily accomplished. And there they sat, perfectly poised with their Mac books placed atop of their knees, between the likes of Anna Wintour, Hamish Bowles, and Vanity Fair’s Michael Roberts.

Tavi, a mere child at the age of 13, jumped from runway show to runway show at this year’s New York fashion week, all the while accompanied by her daddy dearest. She was also featured earlier this year on the cover of Pop magazine, all because of her rise to fame due to her internet journal entitled ‘The Style Rookie’. But a rookie is the furthest thing from what Tavi actually is, often jumping from the topic of her daily school yard dramatics to that of her opinions on Alber Elbaz’s Lavin collection for spring 2010 with ease. And don’t let the age fool you; she knows her stuff!

Jane Altridge, the Texas-born sweetheart who writes Sea of Shoes, has recently designed a collection for mass fashion chain Urban Outfitters and Karla Deras, of Karla’s Closet, was featured in a nation wide ad campaign for American Apparel.

With 88% of people saying that the internet plays a daily role in their lives, it seems like the concept of an online resource, such as a fashion blog, was bound to happen eventually.

But why the sudden rise in popularity? Fashion blogs can, to put it simply, do a lot of things that magazines can’t.

For example, at a regular fashion magazine, the articles take time, are normally planned months in advance, and are checked countless times by various people in order to make sure they are saying exactly what they should be. Stories go back to ‘the desk’ and are proofread, fact-checked, and circulated to Editors who shorten, squeeze content, and filter the tripe. The editorial process of a blog is much simpler. The content is created, almost as quickly as it is thought up, and then published. No shortening, no content squeezing, and definitely no filter. The world of blogging takes journalism to an entirely new, unedited, level- it seems to contain more real content with room for opinions and mistakes.

The rise of the fashion and street style blog seems to be the antithesis to the days when supermodels, celebrities, and fashion insiders dictated the world’s definition of style. Now, new style icons are made with the click of a mouse and a snapshot of one’s everyday wardrobe.

Most style blogs feature a mix of high-low purchases and anonymous labels; some even highlight thrifted pieces, which readers can connect to. Not everyone is buying a new Louis Vuitton every season or the hottest pair of Yves Saint Laurent pumps this spring, so seeing how to wear pieces we could purchase at our local shopping district (for a tiny fraction of the price of the new LV messenger bag) helps define our own style without feeling like most fashion is unattainable. It reminds us that it truly isn’t what you wear but how you wear it. Style blogs also blend a snapshot of a daily outfit with a feeling of camaraderie. The more you read a blog, the more likely you are to check back on a daily basis because you feel connected to the writer, as though the bloggers are your stylish best friends next door with a really great Nikon and a penchant for witty reviews of the last Proenza Schouler show.

But does this mean that we are going to see the passing of the fashion magazine entirely? It’s hard to tell. Many women’s fashion magazines saw a decline in advertising sales this year, with most companies pulling back buying a page in Vogue during the recession and instead trying to experiment with more efficient places to invest their money- online or otherwise. InStyle, Vogue, and Elle saw revenue declines of nearly 21%, 26% and 20% this year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. And September issues of these magazines were almost a third slimmer than last year’s batch!

However, there are still things a fashion magazine can do that a style blog might never be able to. For starters, magazines keep the industry alive and thriving. The magazines need their advertising spaces to be filed just as much as the advertisers need their placements in between the pages of Elle. Many magazines have long-standing relationships with brands and designers and bring them to life in a way that no blogger can because the magazine can afford to. Only Vogue can provide us with jaw-dropping editorials using the hottest, off the runway looks of Alexander Wang or Rodarte. It is unlikely these samples would be sent to an internet savvy teen across the globe, but they will be sent to the fashion closets of our favourite magazines on a regular basis, where we are able to see them as up-close as it’s going to get.

Magazines also have the ability to take us to another world. Opening the first few pages and absorbing it all in can be a real treat; the colour, the sheen, the smell of the gloriously printed pages. Every young girl remembers their first foray into the world of the lifestyle magazine- whether it was snooping through your mom’s issue of Chatelaine each month or saving up your weekly allowance to be able to afford your very own issue of Seventeen. Buying magazines reminds us of that comfort, that tradition, and they offer us tangible keepsakes that we can carry around with us until we get bored…or see another issue gracing our newsstands.

Blogs can give us the information we are craving faster, provide us with a more realistic and affordable approach to style, and invite us into the lives of other fashionable, real-life women we can connect with and look-up to through our laptop screens. But even though the dot-com generation is moving to the internet for faster, more accessible information it seems as though magazines will always have a place in the heart of women everywhere. They are there for us on our longest plane rides, comforting us beneath the covers after the most terrible break-up, and tucked right within our purses for a little pick-me-up during the commute home. So are e-writers the ‘future’ of the fashion industry? Maybe not, but they are definitely the right (click) now.


Anonymous said...

Excellent job! This is extremely well written and a pleasure to read.

Morgan Ratcliffe said...

Interesting and very relevant topic!