THE PRINT DEBATE: Is the future of fashion online?

As the fashion world reaches the half-way point of Fashion Month Spring Summer '15, it is hard to ignore the presence, and thus the importance, of the internet. The world of blogging and the future of fashion journalism go hand in hand. They are in direct correlation to each other, no sooner has a fashion show begun then it is already Instagrammed and blogged about by the new fashion elite from their Macbook or Smartphone. Savvy to the ever increasing importance of 'The Fashion Blogger', companies are beginning to give said writers the recognition they have rightly earned - in most cases at least.

The Front Row was previously reserved only for those who had served their fashion cupboard dues and worked their way up the fashion ladder to highly esteemed positions such as 'Fashion Director' or 'Style Editor'. Universally, it was understood that should these directors and editors need an assistant to take notes or hold their belongings, they would sit behind them - therefore not in the essential 'front row' photograph. Having worked in Fashion Public Relations, I know first hand the emphasis given to the 'FROW', pressure from the client or brand to have the creme de la creme of magazine editors combined with celebrities to be seen at your show. Until recently, bloggers were often given standard seating if they were lucky, or even standing if that was an option or not so much as blessed with a ticket most commonly. This season however, 'The Fashion Blogger' was often given as much respect as 'The Fashion Editor' at numerous shows. From Mulberry to Topshop Unique, the emphasis on having fashion bloggers attend and be seen at their shows was paramount. Susie Bubble, of Style Bubble, is by now a household name, and has been invited to an incredibly respectable amount of shows across all four fashion capitals, and most often those invites have extended to a coveted 'FROW' position.

I have conflicted views about 'The Fashion Blogger' and their presence at Fashion Shows. As previously mentioned, until now the road to becoming a Fashion Editor or Director was pretty straightforward: you would start as an intern in a fashion cupboard, returning samples across the city and working endless hours with seemingly little in return. Then, if you could endure it for long enough and do so with enthusiasm, you would progress to Fashion Assistant, then grow up though the ranks until hopefully becoming a Director or Editor. It may all seem very 'Devil Wears Prada', and for the most part it is. Hard work, dedication, countless coffees and blisters are eventually rewarded with Front Row tickets and Designer gifting resulting in an enviable wardrobe. However, with the rise of 'The Fashion Blogger' and the development of technology, this fashion editorial hierarchy is off-balance. I am not disputing how much time and effort Susie Bubble, or other professional bloggers - that is to say those who make a living from their blogs - put into their pieces and they are often incredibly compelling and interesting pieces of journalism. These Fashion Bloggers deserve their place on the front row, because they too have shown persistence and passion, just as their print counterparts have. What I do have a problem with however is the idea of some fashion bloggers think that all they have to do to 'make it in fashion' and start their Fashion Journalism career is to post some barely literate piece of writing full of grammatical and spelling errors on a generic subject.  I will freely admit that I am from a generation that have an undeservedly high sense of entitlement, that they do not need to put in the hard work in order to reap the benefits. This of course is a generalisation. I have met some incredibly hardworking interns in the fashion industry who either have or are prepared to do several months, if not years, of unpaid internships in order to work their way up in the fashion industry, myself included.

However, Generation Y have grown up surrounded by technology. The 'easy option' is widely considered the first option, and setting up a free blog and being sent some free clothes in return seems appealing to the younger potential 'fashionistas'. They don't seem to respect the hard work it takes to work in fashion. I am not trying to pretend that Fashion Editors are on par with Brain Surgeons, however it is important to remember that fashion is as important as other factors when establishing the economic and social situation of any given period. Therefore these Gen Y 'Fashion Blogger' kids who only set up a blog to try and wangle 'FROW' invites are rightly refused. While fashion's future may be online, we still need the analytical eye of the elite Fashion Journalists such as  Hilary Alexander and Suzy Menkes, who have both embraced technology's adaptation of the fashion world by upping their internet presence and began to interact with social media. Similarly, top Fashion Titles are now all available as digital issues alongside their print sisters. While these digital copies sometimes have added extras, such as videos, click-through links or 'behind-the-scenes' additions,  and are also often much cheaper than print issues, many find the experience of reading a fashion magazine from a tablet or iPad simply doesn't compare to that of reading an actual magazine.

Coinciding with Fashion Month interestingly was the announcement that Company magazine, owned by Hearst - who also publish Elle - would be ceasing their Print editions and focusing on their online presence instead. The last Company Magazine, that was recognisable for its matte paper and creative, arty lay-outs, in print form is currently available and is the October Issue. What is interesting to note however, is Company was one of the first magazines to celebrate and involve 'The Fashion Blogger' a great deal in how they ran their magazine. From famous 'Zoella' gracing their cover, to monthly focus on bloggers and their style, Company had always portrayed the line between the magazine world and the online fashion representation as incredibly thin. Now it seems however, that they have realised, like many, that the future of journalism and of fashion lies on the web.

Despite the debatable 'future of fashion' being online, it still is, and I think always will be, my goal to have a piece of fashion journalism printed into a respected fashion magazine or in a newspaper's fashion pages. Although this does not take away any achievement for my ever growing online portfolio, for me the idea of my words being inked onto the pages of magazines that inspire so many and that are read by such a wide audience will forever be a turn on. 

Through Nouvelle Noire, I have been able to express my options on several topics, and my interest in print does not cheapen this. I think the internet is a fantastic way for people to showcase their talents, be it in journalism, styling, artwork or photography. I love thinking of posts, spending time researching them and losing myself for a few hours writing each and every thing here on Nouvelle Noire. I hope to build and expand Nouvelle Noire into a much more complex and professional dark fashion platform, with the dream of eventually making it an 'ezine' and perhaps even a 'coffee table' esque volume. In the meantime however, I am more than happy with my little corner of the internet, and will continue to be intoxicated with the beautiful fashion spreads printed in my favourite Magazines.

Personally, nothing beats the crisp pages of an actual Magazine. From the glossy fashion spreads that I tore out and that still adorn my bedroom wall, to the almost shoulder height stack of past Vogues and Elles that stands proudly in the corner of my room, I will always have a place in my heart, purse and room for printed editions of fashion magazines. I do not feel that I am alone in this, with many of my friends, both those are are 'into fashion' that is to say who have active experience in the industry be it through blogging or working, as well as my fashion student friends, as well as my 'non fashion' friends, all enjoy flicking through a magazine. Magazines, on a much smaller scale, are always present in waiting rooms, a sign that no matter who you are, most people are akin in their ability to appreciate and rather enjoy a peaceful read of a magazine, whether they spend time to read each article, cover to cover, or simply appreciate the beautiful photography covering the pages.

While it is safe to say that the future of fashion will no doubt encase an increasing amount of online emphasis and interaction, the nostalgic element and satisfaction of exchanging money for a brand new print magazine, cannot compare to reading a digital copy on an iPad or Tablet.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this article! Totally agree with your viewpoint on those who blog for freebies, and I adore print too. I don't think I'll ever opt for a digital copy of any of my favourite magazines, there's nothing like a glamorous, tangible copy that you can treasure and revisit whenever you wish.