Illustrated T-shirts by California-based artist Danny Roberts featuring likenesses of fashion bloggers got loaded onto racks at Forever 21 today. “The portraits on the shirts of the bloggers behind Pandora, Fashion Squad, Because I’m Addicted, Style Bytes and Alice Point were culled from an existing series of blogger images, many of which he made to thank bloggers he reads and appreciates,” says Women’s Wear Daily. Up next for the 24-year-old artist is “a third collaboration with Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers and a first with men’s footwear brand Heutchy.”
Meanwhile, a controversy is heating up among fashion bloggers over a similar style of tee, currently on sale at Zara.
The Spanish retailer reportedly started stocking tees with illustrations of both Betty from fashion blog Le Blog de Betty and Tavi of Style Rookie— without their permission. “Maybe you were one of the 700+ people who left comments saying how ashamed they are of Zara, how they would support her in a boycott, how she deserves money and should sue them,” commented blogger Ganymede Kids in a post on Betty’s blog entitled “Zara, we have a problem.”
It’s nothing new that fast-fashion retailers, like high-fashion brands, are looking to cash in on all the fashion blogger fuss. H&M is partnering with Bryanboy, while Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes got a shoe design contract from Urban Outfitters thanks to her virtual presence. Zara’s misguided example shows how getting on a blogger’s good side can lead an enormous amount of exposure, while getting on their bad side can lead to a boycott that’s spreading like wildfire.
Photo via Fashionista
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.
Earlier this week Tavi, the tween blogger behind Style Rookie, set off a press frenzy when she was tweetpic’d wearing an over-sized Stephen Jones-made bow hat to the Dior haute couture show in Paris. In defense of her chapeau on steroids, Tavi writes “Dudes, it is a HAT. And I’m SHORT. So watching the show behind me would be like watching it through a regular-sized adult, but better, because adult heads do not have holes in them. Other than the stinky cheese man, from that one book, from like, second grade, or something. I’m pretty sure the Grazia writer that tweeted this picture was joking, too? Or did I miss something…” Tavi goes on to say that she wishes news sites would write about more than just what one wears to a fashion show: “otherwise, it feels pretty pointless to me!” Ouch.
(‘’)“I forgot to say so here because I was packing and then we left and then the hotel didn’t have wireless and then I felt awkward using the computer in the lobby?,” Tavi continued. Of her experience in Paris, Tavi writes, “the day before the show we went to the Dior atelier (which was, in a word, amazing, but that’s all for another time) and spent a bit of time with Stephen Jones, who, being the incredibly friendly and charming mad hatter… was very kind as to give me this hat he had made as a sample for one of Dior’s couture shows a couple years ago but ended up not being used.” Not too shabby a freebie, Tavi. And, considering she’ll soon make an appearance in French Vogue, it’s been quite a year so far for the Style Rookie. For those still on the fence as to whether or not a teenager deserves a front row seat and fashion cred to boot, check out Tavi’s newly posted review of the Dior show replete with references to “ass scientists” and “having ice cold diarrhea.”
“I’m tremendously in favor of anything that is new and fresh in fashion,” Suzy Menkes–the longtime fashion critic for the International Herald Tribune–says in a newly released video on fashion blogger, put together by Mary Scherpe of the blog Stil in Berlin. Scherpe sat down with Menkes as well as the bloggers behind Facehunter, The Coveted and Les Mads to talk about the blogosphere and fashion.
(‘’)I think Yvan Rodic–the face behind Facehunter–sums it up nicely by saying that today’s fashion bloggers are not only writers and sociologists, they’re marketers and business people too. Meaning, the bloggers who get props in the aforementioned video are not your average specimen; they’ve managed to perfect the art of self-promotion and community building in a new realm.
“In their innocence, some of them believe that they are completely independent in what they say,” Menkes says. Pointing out that, like Rodic says, top bloggers are also typically savvy business people, and some are surely receiving kick-backs for certain promotional pieces. “I’ve done quite a lot of work and tracking of how much intervention there is now and how bloggers are being fed stories,” she says, citing a trend toward “seeding,” where bloggers churn out what are essentially sponsored posts. “Every month is getting more crazy,” Rodic says of the fashion blogging world. “The advantages of a blog are quite obvious. It’s so much more flexible. It’s a media that can change instantly.” Menkes continues, “I think it’s smart of companies to look to bloggers. I don’t feel threatened. It’s a generation thing,” she says with regard to older fashion alumnae who quiver at the concept of anonymous web crawlers doling out their thoughts on fashion as they please. The tipping point has obviously taken place, but what this means as far as more and more bloggers in front row seats at fashion week, not to mention inking book and design deals will be especially interesting to watch.