I just noticed that Fashion Television did a piece on fashion blogs for the April 28th show.
If you’ve been reading Final Fashion for a while, you may be aware that deep down, I really want to like Jeanne Beker’s show but my appreciation keeps getting thwarted by bits like this one.
First of all, fashion bloggers are represented by solely by Perez Hilton (ick), despite Perez’ attempts to explain that he is not a fashion blogger at all. You would think that fashion blogging’s best, like The Sartorialist and Susie Bubble would merit a mention, but nothing. (edit: thank you Aurora for pointing out that FT did a feature of the Sartorialist in the same show.) Fashion Television is Canadian-produced, but no effort was made to acknowledge any of the excellent Canadian fashion bloggers. Any of us could have expressed the zeitgeist better than poor old Perez. Did Fashion Television not consider featuring an actual fashion blogger in this piece?
Instead we are treated to some expert commentary from people who appear to have never been near a fashion blog. This clip’s most hilarious moment is Patrick McCarthy of Fairchild who gives us this short soundbite with apparent lack of irony – “…blogging has changed everything. Most of it is gibberish because there’s no real thought to it, because it takes, you know, one second doesn’t have… gives… very few people time to think about anything, so there’s not any real thought going into the blog. It’s just stream of consciousness stuff, most of it worthless.”
Thank goodness for a few choice words from fashion media’s best (Cathy Horyn and Colin McDowell) who both recognize that blogs offer some unique opportunities for those with something to say, and comment on the differences between writing for print and writing for the internet.
I have been thinking about the new/old media divide as events around town (like the upcoming Week of Style) are becoming more inclusive towards local fashion bloggers. Now we share the press lounge with established journalists, broadcasters and media personalities, and no one seems to be able to put their finger on what this change means. Yet. Here are my thoughts.
Blogs are not in direct opposition to magazines, newspapers, radio or television. One cannot pit one media against another – video did not kill the radio star, nor did mp3s. Blogs are just a media like any other, one more format through which human beings absorb information. If blogs someday supersede newspapers, for instance, it won’t be the blogs that are “responsible” for rendering newspapers obsolete. It will be the human beings who are the ones that chose that vehicle for relaying their information needs.
Writers can adapt to digital just as photographers adapt to digital. And bloggers, like many journalists, diarists, and authors, are writers with their own unique format. This is why I believe we are more united by our subject than we are divided by our media. I share much more in common with Jeanne Beker than I do with, say, Perez Hilton.
Where the big difference lies is the mediation of the media. Simply put, bloggers are responsible for their own editing, and the content they publish is at their sole discretion rather than being filtered through the publishing process. With no professional assessing who writes what and who reads what, the responsibility for mediation is shared between the writer and the reader.
This brings the writer and the reader within earshot of eachother. The benefit of blogging is the conversation and the relationships, something no other media offers. Believe me, I write Jeanne Beker every once in a while and she does not reply. I do not want to be Jeanne Beker. She does not have the privilege of being able to have real conversations with her audience.
I don’t care if my audience never gets bigger than 50 people. The fact is the 50 people I write for are awesome people who I admire and whose company I enjoy. I do not have to please an editor who has to worry about pleasing 50 advertisers who worry about pleasing 50 million consumers. I just please myself, and I am lucky enough to have met some wonderful readers who are into the same things.
I have no intention of burying Toronto’s fashion media establishment. I have a lot of respect for the work that they do – they are my peers and colleagues and they are curious about the same things I am. I imagine them as part of my ideal audience, and I write as if they are reading, even if they ignore me.
If you are in the media in Toronto, I invite you to delurk. Come to Brunch. If you plan on doing a story on Fashion Blogging any time in the near future, get the story from the source.