>> Elle's fashion news director Anne Slowey has sounded off on bloggers — particularly Style Rookie's Tavi Gevinson, before — which then prompted her to take to Elle's blog to further expound on her comments. Last night at ELLEvated, a forum of six Elle editors hosted by WFIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology's radio and television broadcasting network) in New York, the subject came up again, and creative director Joe Zee and style director Kate Lanphear, too, put forth their views on bloggers.
When asked his feeling on the Tavi phenomenon, Zee replied:
"The Internet has allowed people to be 'couch critics.' You could sit anywhere in the world, you could sit in Oklahoma, look at a fashion show on the Internet, you could post your thoughts . . . the Internet has made fashion a lot more democratic in this way. 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?"
Lanphear disagreed » 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."
Slowey then piped up:
"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 . . . It's like, her father's an English professor, I don't know. Her editor at Harper's [Bazaar] said her copy comes in clean . . . I work with New Yorker writers, their copy doesn't come in clean. You can punch holes in that. 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."
Lanphear added: "We're in the midst of an evolution, all these people that were outsiders are now sitting first, second row. They have fashion advertisers on their sites, or their blogs . . it's really changed the way that they've reported on fashion. So it's really interesting to see how this whole thing is happening so quickly."