As technology has evolved over time, so too has the fashion industry. In the ever-expanding blogosphere and incredible array of online social media outlets, it is clear that in this day and age, there is a passionate need within society to reconnect, to form communities, and to start an on-going conversation that is above all else, deeply personal and profoundly humanistic. And as fashion has always done, it is certainly advancing to embody this societal shift toward self-expression and interpersonal relationships. Lovers of style and trendsetters are no longer just looking at the airbrushed bodies of elite celebrities or top models for what clothes they should put on their backs. Today, the public and fashion-insiders seem to both be drawing inspiration from regular people who wake up each morning, sit down at their computer, and turn the everyday wardrobe into something iconic.
After flipping through the highlights of New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, I began to notice a few new faces that sat front row among the regular old socialite/celebrity/stylist staples on the seasonal fashion show scene. These were the fashion bloggers, the style-hunters and the whimsical idealists behind street-style photography. There was Tommy Ton sitting front row and taking notes at Dolce and Gabbana in Milan. Tavi Gevinson, the 13-year old quirky girl in glasses posed pre-show with Alexander Wang and the designer duo of Rodarte in New York. And outside the tents that showed some of Paris' synonymously chic collections for spring, Scott "The Sartorialist" Schuman snapped photos of attendees that brought the uninvited right onto the steps of the Palais Royal. They are all a new generation of fashion-enthusiasts and muses to the style gods. With a single keystroke on their laptops, or a click of their digital camera, these style bloggers remind the every-day consumer that elements of design and inspiration for style can be found everywhere in the world that surrounds them. What they capture is the raw heart and soul of fashion; an art form that is often underappreciated by the masses. In essence, they have sparked a conversation about style that relies more on the individual and their surroundings, rather than on the labels or the brands themselves.
In the late 80's and early 90's, it was all about the supermodel. Magazines and designers and collections themselves were influenced by the other-worldly sex-appeal and glamorous allure of models that showcased the latest trends on the runways. A few years after, Anna Wintour became the first fashion editor to place celebrities on the cover of Vogue, thus illuminating a new shrine for style mavens to worship. For many years, our culture has heralded the celebrity as something of a god-like entity, a presence that consumes our everyday lives and drives our wants and needs from what we wear to what we buy. In the past two decades, fashion had seemed to have lost a little bit of an edge, and a little bit of its raw artistic integrity.
This season, style bloggers have emerged as the fashion industry's new muses. Their photos, comments, and personal styles all reflect a move away from perfection and predictability, and towards a more natural, unique and creative approach to fashion. Like the technological advancement of blogging has allowed these individuals to do, their approach to fashion has created a dialogue that allows inspiration for design to come from some unassuming places. Whether it is Tavi's up-side-down doll in her front jean pocket, or a girl wearing a cut-up version of her father's old blazer photographed by Schuman, it is clear that the buzz these style bloggers have received throughout the past few weeks is well deserved. Like the ultimate style icon, Coco Chanel once said, "fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with idea, the way we live, what is happening". I guess even in her day, without the slightest hint that the computer or internet would ever exist, she could sense that this dialogue would be the future of fashion.
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