Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quite a lot of bile and a couple of moments of brightness.

Blogs have proved an endless source of debate for online media platforms. If blogs aren't overtaking the fashion industry as we know it, they are shallow, whiney spaces upon which self-absorbed teens exercise their narcissism. If blogs aren't these vapid streams of consciousness, they are a savvy portal with a wide, engaged readership which are ripe for access by PR agencies and brands. 
Bloggers have sparked heated debates over attendance at industry-only events, they have been the recipients of a number of vile Twitter attacks, and yet they are still producing interesting, thought-provoking personal content. 
So, without further ado, I introduce the spectrum of what I have been reading online in this past week. All perspectives are present and accounted for! 

Reblogged from BoF

"There is one form of fashion blogging however that I am yet to fully understand. The style blogger. When I say I don't understand, it's not so much I don't get why they are continually taking photos of themselves and sharing them with the world (although their unashamed vanity does freak me out a little). More so I am continually left wondering why so many people admire them for doing it. "
-from Laure Burvill's 'The style blog stigma'
This is a not-particularly-groundbreaking opinion piece on style bloggers and yet what it conveys is a common sentiment- a state of bafflement at why bloggers do what they do and irritation that they have become so popular. As usual, instead of trying to tease apart why people might enjoy reading style blogs, the activity is shut down as 'fawning' done by 'the masses.' This kind of sneering work, haunted as it is by shades of elitism and panic  about 'the industry', bothers me no end. (I'm still trying to figure out if 'style blog stigma' was selected as the title because of the alliteration. What is the 'stigma'? Having a style blog? Odd.) 

And, in a similar (yet much more pernicious vein), here we have Kat George's article 'How blogging got so bitchy' published on the same platform, The Vine, giving an account of two Twitter accounts attacking a number of Australian style bloggers. I would suggest that it is not 'blogging' that has got bitchy, but attitudes towards style bloggers. They seem to be seen as fair game, perhaps because they place themselves in the public sphere, yet I don't think that means that a no-holds-barred attack on them is ever appropriate. As George writes, it is outright bullying- what these Twits are writing is cruel, malicious and snarky, not constructive or thoughtful or even politely critical in any way. 

And then- the break up. Brands break up with bloggers

Yet there are still blog like that of the delightful Roz of Clothes, Camera and Coffee which thoughtfully engage with the personal life of their blogger. Roz is Welsh and has a classically vintage style which she shares on her thoughtful blog. She also writes about her love of books, her daily life and, admirably, her painful and challenging experience with scoliosis. She blogged about the latter for IFB and you can read all about it here: Blogging against adversity.
The blogs of most style bloggers I read do not engage with the furore that surrounds their practice, and it is restorative to escape the internet maelstrom and just read blogs like this. Style bloggers may frequently be written off as vain, shallow, and self-important but I think that often what is being attacked is a straw man that bears little or no resemblance to most style bloggers.


  1. I can't comment from my blogger profile, but this was a fascinating post - and thank you for the mention of me! I agree that there are an absolute glut of style blogs now, but they're all different - some just post photos, others (like myself) enjoy writing and some showcase their photography.
    I guess my reason for blogging started off because I loved fashion - and wanted to share that interest with a wider audience. I live in the West Midlands (very near Wales), and there aren't many other people my age who like to engage in thinking about style, art or literature creatively. My blog's aesthetic has evolved over the two years I have had it, so my aims when I started out are very different to the ones I have now.
    I think that although the internet has opened up a multitude of opportunities for some, it has also led to easy spreading of bile and vitriol. Everyone likes to air their opinions, and some take this as a chance to direct hatred (or even just narrow-minded criticism) at those that they dislike.
    Saying that all style bloggers are alike is like stating that every musician within a certain genre makes exactly the same standard of music...

    Thank you for such an engaging post to read on a monday morning!

  2. My pleasure. It was almost a shame to include your lovely blog amongst the mudslinging but I felt like the post needed a high point! I agree with what you say about both blogging and the criticism of it online. The mocking just flattens out what is a very complex, nuanced practice and interchange, i think. Anyway, as long as people keep uploading undeterred, that's the main thing! x