Anyone can be a fashion critic

As New York Fashion Week gets under way, fashionistas will be relying less on magazines and more on bloggers to tell them what they'll be wearing come spring. Beyond the written word, online video platforms, digital photography and social

networks have revolutionised the relationship between consumers and brands. Now anyone can be a critic.

Anyone can be a fashion criticMany people might not have heard of Tavi Gevinson, Scott Schuman, Susie Bubble and Bryanboy but they are household names to dedicated followers of fashion.

For years fashion was written about by a small number of publications whose edidtors guarded their access to shows and designers as fiercely as their Chanel handbags. Even those heading to a shopping centre to replenish their wardrobes will be aware of the fashion bibles such as Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar.

These glossies contain expensively-produced adverts alongside picture-heavy reflections on the season's catwalk trends from the likes of Prada, Chanel and Dior, timed to coincide with them filtering into shops. Titles such as i-D, Dazed and Confused and FRUiTS represent the more radical end of the fashion magazine market.

But bloggers have been chipping away at the mainstream media as more and more people want to hear about fashion from people who apply it to everyday life.

Like consumers, the blogs come in all shapes and sizes and the hierarchical fashion landscape changed beyond all recognition with the advent of digital media.

The situation was summed up by Lady Gaga in her column for V Magazine: "The reality of today's media is that there are no echelons." She believes the views of Gevinson are equal to that of Cathy Horyn, fashion critic for The New York Times with 25 years experience, and the Pulitzer-prize winning Robin Givhan of Newsweek and the Daily Beast.

Fashion brands broadcast their catwalk collections online and people can post an almost instant review on microblogging sites. Others go further and post videos and pictures of themselves flaunting their unique style or latest purchases.

YouTube is awash with videos of teenagers showing off their haul of clothes and cosmetics to their peers.

The phenomenon, known as "hauling", has been big news in the US for the past year and is now going global. It's not gone unnoticed by brands eager to capitalise on the apparently independent recommendation from the sort of person they want to buy their clothes.

The blogs that have stood out from the crowd tend to be chatty - short on analysis, long on opinion - and confessional. But the secret to their success is a quirky individual voice and distinct sense of style.

Robin Derrick, former Creative Director of Vogue UK, argues there are only a few really good blogs out there.

He says they made the meteoric rise to the fashion front row because the traditional print media were slow to fill the vast space emerging online. "Nothing compares to the landscape change. It was an incredible collision of so many things all coming of age at once."

Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor at the Daily Telegraph, insists that newspapers have always recognised the powerful reach of the web and the need to engage with a younger audience who get their information online.

"We can all do speed, we've all got websites. It's not us against them. Newspaper fashion editors have got enormous experience and know what they're talking about."

She's not intimidated and welcomes bloggers bringing more people to fashion.

"What's great is that you can engage with fashion on every level - you can get all sociological and read 6,000 words in The New Yorker or you can read the blogger saying 'these platforms [shoes] are orgasmic' and I'm fine with that."

Source: BBC©
Image: Carine Roitfeld / The Sartorialist
 

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