In September of 2016, just after Milan Fashion Week, the editors of Vogue.com posted an online “roundtable” to discuss their reactions to the shows. The conversation quickly turned to bloggers. “The professional blogger bit,” wrote Sarah Mower, Chief critic for the website, “with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible.” They “troll up and down up and down outside shows, in traffic, risking accidents even, in hopes of being snapped.” This was not a new sentiment for fashion editors. Suzy Menkes published a now infamous piece on the “circus of fashion” that surrounds New York Fashion Week for T Magazine back in 2013. Fashion, these editors insist, has been taken over by bloggers, would-be “influencers” who use their websites and Instagram galleries to launch their fashion careers. The fashion masses have revolted. They have stormed the fashion Bastille, and now it’s the editors’ heads that are on the chopping block.
Only, you wouldn’t know it on the sidewalks of those fashion shows. Out there, where I have spent the last eight seasons of New York Fashion Week, shooting alongside those street photographers, it sure looks like the editors too have joined the party, parading their brand-loaned clothes as the cameras shoot off 12 frames per second. Instagram has taken over fashion, and it has left no one untouched. There is no division anymore between fashion insiders and fashion influencers. Bloggers and editors sit next to each other at shows. The very model of being an insider has been reshaped by the practice of blogging. We are all influencers now, or at least hope to be. And after five years of being deeply immersed in this scene, shooting Fashion Week for my street style blog Urban Fieldnotes, I too have had enough.
This presentation chronicles my last five years of immersion in the world of Instagram fashion influencers through anecdotes about my life as a street style blogger and dozens of photos documenting the sidewalk circus of Fashion Week. I talk about why I started blogging, what I have learned about the fashion industry from doing so, and why, ultimately, I have decided to give it up. Influence fatigue has become a widespread ailment of today’s fashion industry, and like the editors of Vogue.com, I have begun to imagine what the industry might look like after social media.
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