As far as labels are concerned, if critics can’t be expected to mindlessly praise a collection, then bloggers provide a unique loophole: their vestige of DIY credibility conceals the corporate hand at work. High profile bloggers are essentially covert advertising tools, which may have a lot to do with their sudden rise to prominence (and the internet is the wave of the future and all, etc). “It” bags and “it” shoes–oftentimes the bread and butter of a brand–can be created practically overnight if photographed on the right bloggers.
Although the insidious influence of gifting can be assuaged somewhat by transparency (a simple “skirt courtesy whoever” is common but not standard), style bloggers and designer labels have developed a grossly symbiotic relationship: the bloggers get free shit and front row seats at Altuzarra, for example, then gush about the experience and all the famous cheeks they kissed on their blogs… the fawning coverage ensures their placement at the following season’s show, which keeps their profile high and the traffic coming to their blogs. Is BryanBoy going to give Marc Jacobs a bad review if his front row seat and free namesake bags depend on it? Especially if his own status is, in turn, determined by that front row? The answer is of course not.
But! It’s obvious that most personal style bloggers have no integrity (and plenty of people besides Givhan have noticed). The real question here is: do you care? Does it affect your pageviews if all those neon belts and quilted bags are calculated placement? We know this fact still surprises people (while many commenters on these blogs remain blissfully unaware) but, we’re curious, does it matter at all?
Moreover: when legitimate magazine editors regularly tweet their appreciation for gifts, why call out bloggers for being that much more unapologetic about it? Isn’t criticizing the absence of ethics in the fashion industry comically pointless? Hasn’t street style eroded its own value by photographing the marginally famous regardless of what they’re wearing?
Join us next week, as we sort out all of these problems and resort to drinking.