As 2013 came to a close, the fashion industry sent a strong message to its groupies- "You are no longer welcomed here." The "here" that they were referring to was the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The reason for such harsh words? Lincoln Center had become a circus of narcissistic street-style bloggers and people with DSLRs who feed the egos of the vain. Fashion Week had gone from seven days of exclusive chic-ness [is that even a word?] to 168 hours of a charity ball where most are invited and a lot more crash the party for the freebies.
Let's go back to 2010 shall we?
In 2010, MBFW moved from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center for production reasons. Simply put, Bryant Park had gotten too small to hold such an extravagant event. Everyone was excited to attend shows at the new location. It made more sense to have Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, a place where the classy and cultured regularly gather. It wasn't only fashion insiders who were looking forward to the new structure. Lincoln Center meant exposure for even more companies willing to fork over sponsorship fees. Sure, there were bloggers in the tents at Bryant Park but Lincoln Center was where they blossomed into faux celebrities for mere seconds.
Veteran editors, buyers and columnists became irate at the fact that Fashion Week was becoming something more of a convention rather than an intimate showcase of fashion that it was once. The creation of FNO or Fashion's Night Out added more unwanted crowd. In theory, it was perfect- kick off Fashion Week with shops offering lower prices and designers celebrating with the masses. But more people came for the spectacle than to actually buy.
I first attended Fashion Week as a writer for a local performing arts magazine (press pass and all). I have been making 'appearances' since then: as a contributor for Encore, as a Fashion Editor for Kouture, as a PR Director for Uptempo Mag, as a blogger for Lucky Mag and for my own blog. With that said, I can relate to both sides and I agree to both opinions to a certain extent. Yes, it's quite exhausting trying to get past the horde of faux celeb bloggers to get to the actual shows. Nothing annoys me more, than seeing anyone show up with the sole intention of being photographed and just hangs out outside. Also, I can't stand bloggers who literally only post images of their 'outfit of the day' without a single typed word. However, I don't think that bloggers don't have a place there. Sure, anyone with access to internet-connected desktop, laptop or tablet can open up an account on Tumblr, WordPress or Blogspot call themselves bloggers, but it's very easy to spot the ones who have something to say apart from those who are, shall I say, cutting their fabric to the season's trends.
Bloggers aren't the only ones at fault for the recent craziness at Fashion Week. It's the PR companies that allowed the madness to happen (not all of them but a good handful of them). As much as some agencies want the general public to think that Fashion Week is still exclusive, it certainly seemed like they handed out invitations to anyone so desperate to get in. A whole lot of folks wait for up to a couple of hours to get in and for the show to start, just to stand for the duration of the show. Looking at the packed standing sections, those who have seats wonder "why even come here?". But most people with 'Standing' tickets don't know that they'll be placed in the standing section until the night before or hours before.
Adding to the zoo, are some marketing directors of fashion houses. They're always on the blogosphere radar-who's hot and who isn't? Well, actually, they decide that. The screwed up thing about it is that they adore skinny bloggers (I dare you to show me a really popular blogger who isn't stick thin!) because they look good (good= editorial) wearing designer clothes. Some marketing teams pay these bloggers to post nothing but pictures of themselves in cool cities wearing designer garments (o what if this is a run on sentence?). Where are the bloggers who actually write stuff? How come it's rare for them to be seen in the front row?
Bloggers are supposed to be the bridge between the disillusioned world of fashion (all concerned with external beauty and capitalism) and the real world, with concerns more focused on personal finance. Bloggers are supposed to be those who can't afford the latest it bag, don't have access to stylists but manages to look the part. Bloggers are supposed to be a little edgier, more Brooklyn-less 5th avenue. It seems that bloggers are just another batch of souls to be fed in the fashion industry's hierarchy.
But it's not their fault. Someone decided to let it happen in the first place.