The Future of Fashion

April 6, 2010 • Fashion


Will print fashion ever fully embrace the Internet as the wave of the future?

On Monday night, six Elle editors, including creative director Joe Zee and fashion news director Anne Slowey, held the forum "ELLEvated" to discuss their views on exactly how bloggers are affecting the industry. One of their biggest plights is the ever growing phenomenon that is 13 year old blogger Tavi.

Joe Zee weighed in on the blogger situation:

"You know, Tavi, like her or don't like her, she's 13 — whether she even really writes it herself, the idea that she has gotten all this attention, it's because of the Internet, not because of anything else. [At Elle] we're talking about people who have really done this their entire lives, who've really covered fashion, who really understand fashion . . . understand the history of fashion, can critique it from a point of view, [can] actually relay it back to something they've experienced and understand. I don't think Tavi even knows what happened five years ago. She has every right to [post] on the Internet, she has every right to have the following she has . . . everybody can follow her and find her creative or funny or quirky or inspiring, but the idea is there are people here [at Elle] who do know the history and I think that Anne [Slowey] stresses this. It's absolutely true: if you don't know what you're talking about, then do you really have the credibility to talk about it?"

But style director Kate Lanphear disagreed:

"But there's also something beautiful about these fresh voices that can say something that maybe sometimes someone who does have a lot of credibility misses, or they see it through a really fresh eye.  I think that's the debate that is going on in our industry full-stop, because we don't want to discredit years and years of experience and hard work and paying your dues and learning about what we do day to day, but there is something really beautiful about all of these really fresh perspectives that come out of the Internet."

Anne Slowey did have an opinion on the matter as well:

""Well I think it's really subjective, blogs — they're not holding themselves up to the same standards that a journalist would, they're really just an expression. It's entertainment and it's fun. I think that you just have to judge people according to what they're setting out to do. Tavi's a unique situation because she's put herself — first of all, she's been 13 for like, the last 4 years — but she's put herself in the center of the cyclone. She swore she'd never sell out and now she's being paid by Target to do video . . .But case in point, BryanBoy, he's the sweetest kid out there and he's just so excited about fashion that it's contagious. I love finding myself sitting next to him at a fashion show and listening to him just bubble over with enthusiasm. Maybe what he's saying isn't groundbreaking prose, the writing's not that great, but it's how he talks. So, I think there's room for both."

I can understand their plight. Fashion insiders who have been in the business for years, even decades are being pushed out with youngsters with no real credentials. 

Everyone has a right to make their own opinion. But where does the line between "fashion journalist" and "just opinionated" start? If you are informed on the history of a designer, does your opinion become more valid than someone looking at a collection with fresh eyes or are you considered jaded because you know too much information?

Fashion print media is aware that they have to change the way they report news. It used to take weeks for a collection to be printed in a magazine, while now, it can be uploaded in real time. Fashion has always been a bit behind on the technological trend. Now, that we are just now catching up, we have to make due learning the new ways with while youngsters already have the techniques down pat. Only time will tell how this will play out…

-Taneisha Jordan

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