Friday, 30 September 2016

Am I The Death Of Style?

I'm just a girl standing in front of you, in a ripped skirt that I bought for a fiver off the internet, ready to express her frustration at the recent news story regarding Vogue's disdain for fashion bloggers. In an interview, Vogue editors discussed Milan Fashion Week and made a number of comments about fashion bloggers, suggesting in no uncertain terms that their presence was not wanted in the high-fashion world. Most significantly, they describe fashion blogging as ‘heralding the death of style.’

I could not have been less surprised. This is the sort of viewpoint I would naturally expect of a publication dedicated to tradition and elitism, trying to find its uncertain place in a world that is relying more and more on digital media to be inspired. It represents a deep fear of becoming irrelevant in this world, and having their own special brand of snobbery compromised. 
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Top - Lazy Oaf
Skirt - Secondhand via Depop
Shoes - Charity shop
Bag - Daisy Street via Love The Sales

The recent BBC documentary on Vogue touched on their uncomfortable standing in an ever-changing world. It felt as if Vogue was just picking up on internet culture, like a parent reluctant to try out new-fangled technology. They disregarded Kim Kardashian then decided to invite her to talk at an event just a few months later, they use social media but explicitly ban the use of emojis. With this in mind it’s unsurprising that fashion bloggers represent the worst nightmare for Vogue, young women so fiercely in tune with social media that they are carving out fashion careers for themselves. And it's not just fashion. Many share intimate details about their experiences with mental health, sex and their bodies, a sort of confessional "oversharing" culture that contrasts against Vogue's rather stiff upper lip.
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Of course,when they are talking about fashion bloggers, they are not talking about the kind of blogger I perceive myself to be and the community I have found myself in. They are referring to a vapid, sleek haired caricature who lives off daddy’s trust fund and totes the latest handbag, who calls themselves a blogger but really only updates her Instagram account once a day. The truth of it, which Vogue knows full well, is that regular blogging takes a lot of time, digital media insight and fresh new ideas, which they seem to be all out of. When you tar all bloggers with the same brush you’re inevitably going to create some backlash from young people who are able to find a voice through blogging, who find satisfaction through self publication and who treat every new purchase like it’s gold dust. 
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It leads you to wonder what exactly Vogue’s problem is with fashion bloggers, and I think it’s a bit deeper than they’ve tried to imply. To refer to young women as ‘pathetic’ and ‘desperate’ for daring to walk on the same Somerset House cobbles as them each fashion week reeks of misogyny, perpetuating the idea of the stupid vacuous girl who lives for fashion, exposure and money. But you're not like the other girls, right Vogue? Yet this is the magazine put the rich sons and daughters of famous people and the Royal Family on a pedestal, who only feature the most expensive of clothes in pages and pages of advertorials. The sentiment is clear, your prestige does not come from what you are able to make of yourself, but who you know. 
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The classism is pungent too. In the interview they talk of bloggers ‘who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes.’ Vogue would clearly like to see the fashion world go back to better, classier times, when everyone who could afford to wear beautiful expensive clothes did and everyone who couldn’t kept their mouths shut and fawned over the richer women preening for the cameras. But now it is an emperor in new clothes situation for foolish bloggers who are supposedly not intelligent enough (or rich enough?) to appreciate them. 
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It’s a far cry from the blogger’s world I know, one that certainly has its dramas but also thrives on supporting each other, championing creativity and finding empowerment in sharing your words with more people than you ever thought possible 30 years ago. A community that loves style but who are also mindful of what is going on around them and aware of feminism, politics and ethics. It’s certainly not perfect in terms of diversity and accessibility, but the days where only the richest, whitest and skinniest are given the opportunity to appear in stuffy fashion publications are over. We are taking it upon ourselves to create our own fashion idols, playing dress up with borrowed clothes and sharing our experiences on social media.

This is a society where anybody can become a star and make a name for themselves, where you don't have to wait to be picked up by a fashion publication to have your work seen. There is so much empowerment in that. Having spent much of my childhood cutting out scraps from fashion magazines (that my mum would often fish out of the local communal recycling bin) I pray that print media can hold on even as digital takes over. But an awareness by fashion publications of the ways in which things have changed is so crucial, and an ability to offer something other than snide comments even more so. 

To wear elitism and classism as a badge of honour, whilst also expecting the younger generation to embrace you with open arms, is asking too much. You cannot have both, Vogue.

(Thanks to Freyia for taking these photos).

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6 comments :

  1. This was such a great read! When I read that Vogue interview I felt generally uncomfortable with it and you've put my vague feelings into words perfectly. Fashion blogging is definitely not perfect but it's so bizarre for Vogue magazine of all people/groups to be calling it out, the lack of self-awareness is astonishing.

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  2. I love this post! Screw vogue! I fully agree with everything you've said. Social media just continues to increase in popularity, so either jump on board or be left behind!
    Tegan xx - Permanent Procrastination

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  3. Such amazing look. Your handbag is really cute. Hope I can catch a similar one to suit my glitter dress.
    kisses from Landybridal

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

Thank you so so much for your comment! It makes me smile everytime I see a new one pop up. If you leave me a link to your blog I will aim to get back to you within 2 days because I love looking at all your blogs too!
If you want to continue the conversation, tweet me @thebelphoebejar

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