Fashion's top editors like Cathy Horyn of the The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes, Teri Agins from The Wall Street Journal and Vogue magazine's Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley used to be the go-to names for fashion followers and fans.
But thanks to the blogger boom, names like Bryan Boy, Style Rookie, Manrepeller and Fashion Toast are moving onto the front row of fashion (literally and figuratively). The bloggers behind these aliases have built impressive followings and snagged Fashion Week's coveted front row seats from some of fashion's top journalists.
The line between seasoned journalist and savvy blogger has started to blur (and may even disappear).
Robin Givhan, special correspondent for style and culture for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, recently discussed her dismay regarding this issue with the Toronto Star.
Givhan, who was the first fashion writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, argues that bloggers lack the appropriate insight and experience when it comes to critiquing designer collections.
"It's got to be more than just ‘I loved it or I hated it,' " Givhan told the paper. "You’ve got to explain your thinking-- how you got there. Criticism is not personal opinion. At its best it’s opinion based on a set of facts that are set in context. I’ve seen shows that I've loved but I knew that critically they were not great. And vice versa."
But there really isn't much criticizing going on.
In fact, many bloggers use their sites to praise the sartorial contributions of their favorite designers while their presumed unbiased content is often being tainted by free clothes, trips and even the possibility of landing a big campaign deal. Conflict of interest or capitalism?
“I like to think that journalists understand the importance of keeping an arm’s length between critics and designers," Givhan tells The Star.
The cozy relationships between bloggers and designers is just one of the many factors playing into the rapidly changing atmosphere of the fashion industry.
We must admit, style blogs are fun to look at and provide an engaging platform for any (and all) to join in on the conversation--but are bloggers compromising the integrity of true fashion criticism?