Online 'experts' are interested in fame rather than fashion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2011, 12:00am


It's only two days before the end of men's fashion week in Paris. Amid the excitement of another season, attendees have been pushing themselves through the gaggle of ticketless folk snapping photos outside almost every major catwalk show. These snappers represent a new cult - the cult of the amateur fashion blogger.

The fame of big fashion bloggers such as Diane Pernet, the Sartorialist, Facehunter, Hong Kong-born Susie Bubble, BryanBoy and Tavi Gevinson has given hope to a flood of new hopefuls. Seeing teenage Gevinson flown to New York shows and sitting in the front row at Dior a few seasons ago ignited the dreams of would-be bloggers. With fashion becoming an increasingly powerful cultural force, more are jumping on the blogging bandwagon.

The democratisation of fashion through the internet has given us many positives: free information, a bottomless pit of eye candy, freshness and immediacy, and catwalk shows streamed live. That's not to mention the rise of web shops such as Net-a-porter, Topshop, Shopbop and ASOS - and ASOS even delivers here free of charge.

Drawbacks include the growing number of self-appointed experts who are only trying to build their own celebrity. For every great fashion blog that has a loyal following, inspiring visuals and well-edited content, there are hundreds of others that just feature self-indulgent self-portraits of the writer in 'trendy' clothes and clich?d, nonchalant poses.

Inane 'philosophical' musings about leggings are usually accompanied by a smattering of poor grammar. It's the fashion version of the YouTube rant.

The cult of the amateur has arrived, en masse. Gathered in gaggles outside fashion venues, they come dressed like last season's American Apparel mannequin, feigning visual impairment with lensless glasses.

This week's column isn't a hipster hate-a-thon, nor do I dislike fashion blogs. I appreciate well-written blogs with real content and opinion. I love the immediacy and personal touch of the medium. They have become an essential and exciting part of our industry. But another picture of a teenage girl trying to 'Terry Richardson' herself is not. (Peaches Geldof, do you hear me?)

Just like reality television, the amateur fashion blog explosion has gathered mass momentum. There are models and 'It' girls spawning mini-followings online.

Even Vogue has jumped on board, and a lot of the time it all looks suspiciously pro.

Do we really need any more contrived pictures of hipsters in six-inch Louboutins, patent studded gloves, floral tights and neon-coloured dolly dresses pretending they are just popping out for some milk? Don't we have Lady Gaga for our daily dose of the ridiculous? I'm happy with her. You can keep that Nicki Minaj out of my sight.

While I, too, might like to don a Lanvin silk-pleated maxiskirt, YSL espadrilles and a pussy-bow blouse rarely, I won't photograph it and foist it via the web onto the unsuspecting public.

I think the above portrait is as much as we can stomach for one week, don't you?