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Fashion's New Fever: Bloggers in Spotlight As They Aim for Fame

Fashion bloggers like Tavi Gevinson and Bryanboy are courted, coddled and charmed like never before by houses like Marc Jacobs and Rodarte.

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Gevinson noted the hype “gained momentum because [the Grazia editor] Twittered she couldn’t see behind my hat. I thought they were making a joke. But all of a sudden, it’s ‘Bloggers and editors at war! Which side are you on?’”

Streetwear photographer Phil Oh of Street Peeper noted, “When there’s hype, there’s a backlash. I’m wondering when that will start to happen.”

In person, Gevinson, a self-described fashion geek, is calm amid the hullabaloo surrounding her. Her comments on her blog and in person are ironic and thoughtful. It’s impossible to imagine she doesn’t write her blog herself, as some publications, such as New York Magazine, have suggested.

Gevinson was upset to read that, said her mother, and now mostly avoids reading about herself in the press.

“It’s a lot more to think about,” said Engem as her daughter was signing autographs and giving interviews before her panel at the Independent Fashion Bloggers conference in Chelsea. “We used to live a normal life, and now we need to think about where she’s going, what she’s doing and be careful. It’s intense, but so much of it is fashion week and Internet related. So normal life at home is not affected. We don’t talk about it much at home.”

Gevinson is missing only one day of school this week to attend the New York shows, which is no different than when she was in theater, said Engem.

Jacobs met Bryanboy during a trip to the Philippines, said company president Robert Duffy. As for the other bloggers, the firm’s p.r. department usually decides who is invited. It’s all part of the bigger effect that social media is having on fashion. “It’s moving very, very quickly and I think that’s the way it is now,” said Duffy. “Information is available to everybody instantly. We’ve all learned to search on the Internet and now people are just delivering it to you and this will all evolve into something else at this point. We’re already experimenting with 3-D for our Web site, this stuff will all change constantly. I guess I was a little late, but I caught up,” said Duffy, who has been tweeting these past two weeks.

The Chictopia conference was abuzz with young women in little hats and white gloves, most of them between the ages of 14 to 25.

“I’m so excited to be part of changing an industry that traditionally has been so top down,” said Chictopia panelist Susan Koger, who founded online store ModCloth and has sponsored personal style bloggers such as Rebecca Stice of The Clothes Horse. “Department stores are obsolete,” she continued.

“You don’t want to sell everything to everybody anymore. It’s about buying new product all the time, moving quickly and reacting quickly. Street style is what is propelling it. The old pyramid has been turned on its head. It’s the girls in this room who are saying, ‘This is what we want to wear and how we wear it.’ They have a really strong voice now.”

And fashion brands are taking notice. Jennifer Wexler, marketing director of Botkier and a fellow panelist said, “We feel that social media is almost an extension of the brand. You’re putting your brand out there. Sometimes putting your brand in other people’s hands can be scary.”

Most fashion brands and retailers have some form of blogger outreach, such as sending out news and new products, affiliate programs, special events, inviting bloggers to shows and writing about bloggers or inviting guest bloggers on their own blogs.

“Social media is incredibly important to us as a brand,” said Tory Burch. “We are sharing as much of the whole experience with our customers as we can.”

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