Apparently it’s fashion panel week in NYC. While Francisco Costa, Maria Cornejo and Yoehlee Teng gathered to discuss celebrity designers and the cost of sustainable fashion late last week, some of the biggest names off Elle‘s masthead were featured in a similar panel last night at FIT called ELLEvated. Except, at the latter, which Fashionolgie provides hefty notes on, fashion bloggers took up much of the discussion. As per usual, teen blogger Tavi stole the spotlight: “I don’t think Tavi even knows what happened five years ago,” Elle‘s Creative Director Joe Zee said in defense of editors who have spent years if not decades following what’s happening in fashion. Zee went so far as to post the question, “if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then do you really have the credibility to talk about it?”
Revered stylist and fashion editor Kate Lanphear disagreed: “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.” Anne Slowley, who has taken issue with Tavi’s inexperience in print before, on the other hand, took a truly no holds barred approach to criticizing the Style Rookie. “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.”
The latter is definitely suspect but one of the most controversial points raised throughout the panel wasn’t Tavi. “They have fashion advertisers on their sites, or their blogs . . it’s really changed the way that they’ve reported on fashion,” Lanphear notes. Given the fact that Bryanboy and Tavi, for starters, dedicate posts to gifts they receive from high-fashion heavyweights like Miuccia Prada, they are inherently providing advertising platforms much in the same manner as magazines. The difference: with fashion blogs, the line between editorial and advertorial is significantly more fuzzy. The question becomes, would Tavi have dedicated five separate ‘mood’ posts (one of which is pictured here) to Miu Miu SS10 accessories had she not had them (most likely gifted) in her possession? Probably not. But is her influence over her audience any less potent as a result? Surely not. It’s a new, and exponentially potent form of marketing and not one that should be taken lightly.