Friday, December 13, 2013

Big Changes Ahead for New York Fashion Week. Maybe.

I don't know if you've heard, but IMG, the folks who run Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, have decided to invite 20 percent fewer guests to their shows next season (i.e. Fall 2014 in February). And guess who constitutes that 20 percent who is no longer invited? That's right, bloggers. Not all bloggers, of course. I'm sure Garance and Scott will still be there, just those insufferable up-and-coming ones, who still seem to believe there's some merit in fulfilling their fashion world dreams. IMG, apparently, had heard enough complaints from editors, designers, and journalists about what Fashion Week had become. They'd gotten sick of all the posing and the preening, all the cameras flashing, all the dressing up in borrowed designer duds for every show, as if Fashion Week were an 8-day, marathon Oscars ceremony. And who to hold accountable for such hardships? How about the bloggers? They're the newest kids in town and easy prey. "Those damn bloggers!" goes the common refrain. "They are ruining everything." You used to be able to throw on some basic black and slip unseen into even a DKNY or Ralph Lauren show, or at least so people in the fashion world like to remember. Now, you are continually being watched. The only way into the front door is through that crowd of street style photographers, waiting for the Gary Pepper Vintage girl and Susie Bubble to walk by. As fashion critic Suzy Menkes famously argued in T Magazine this past September, blogging has made Fashion Week into a circus, drawing in hundreds of wannabe Scott Schumans and distracting attention away from the collections. Now the real show is out front, among the teeming crowds of street style starlets. If only we could keep our shows free of the likes of Aimee Song, Bryanboy, Rumi Neely, and Chiara Ferragni, goes the fashion world logic, maybe we could get some of that old-fashioned exclusivity back. Democratization has gone way too far, suggest industry insiders. It's getting in the way of business. 

The question is, can you reverse the tide of digital democratization? Can you close the floodgates? If bloggers are shut out of the shows, will that lessen their impact on the industry? And will it keep the street style photographers at bay? 

I don't know. But I'm skeptical that it will make a huge difference. After all, as Devon of Fashion Command Post helpfully pointed out in a recent comment on one of my Facebook posts, Fashion Week was a circus way before the bloggers showed up. Spectacles are kind of what fashion does. But I'll be reporting back on this new informal policy's effects, should there be any, come February, when I'll once again be occupying the street style trenches of New York Fashion Week.

To learn more about the NYFW blogger embargo, read this article on Dazed Digital. 

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