Home > Uncategorized > Are bloggers the new black?

Are bloggers the new black?


Russell (et al.) compares elite media and institutions with bloggers and ponders the following question: “Do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?” (Reader, page 136). Do you agree? 

When blogging is mentioned, what springs my to mind is the thriving fashion blogging community. Citizen journalism within this field has never been more popular, thousands of style enthusiasts, trend followers or just plain die-hard fashion victims participating in online discussion through blogs, sharing their love of all things clothing related. Yet despite this, pardon the pun, ‘trend’ of style blogging, media commentators and theorists are quick to query the validity of such journalism. Russell (et al.) questions, “do bloggers, with their editorial independence, collaborative structure, and merit-based popularity more effectively inform the public?”(2008:67) The question just begs to be asked. Are bloggers the new black?

There is no doubt that elite media institutions have superior resources at their fingertips to access exclusive information that in turn effectively informs the public. US Vogue’s notorious editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has more connections than could possibly be imagined, from Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Ford to Donald Trump, Roger Federer and even the Obamas, providing her readers with in-depth, expert and factually perfect interviews and stories that bloggers cannot even begin to match (Groth, 2011). Furthermore, the professionals behind these fashion powerhouses have had years of experience not only in obtaining style information, but also in delivering it. It could be asserted that the quality of reporting is of a higher standard within magazines than online.

Is Vogue editor Anna Wintour losing her Queen Bee status? [Photo credit: Tommy Ton, Jak and Jil]

Yet without denying the journalistic excellence of such media, fashion reporting has shifted dramatically in recent years. The participatory nature of fashion blogging appeals to style followers for the pure accessibility of trend information. While it may take months, if ever, for US Elle style guru Joe Zee to answer a question about the latest way to wear a mid-length skirt, one can easily ask a popular blogger the same query via the ‘comment’ button and receive a reply momentarily. Crucially, street fashion blogs revolutionize this field of journalism as they blur the lines not only between citizen and professional journalism, but also the ordinary and the celebrity. For this reason, the editorial independence of blogs such as Scott Schuman’s “The Sartorialist” resonates with readers and in this way; bloggers are able to effectively inform followers of up and coming trends in a participatory, subtle manner that includes rather than shuns the unique dress sense of regular people.

Celebrity blogger Rumi Neely before a Marc by Marc Jacobs show [Photo credit: Colin Sokol, Fashion Toast]

What’s more, trends can change almost instantaneously, allowing blogs to update their readers with the latest news as often as they choose, whereas most publications are distributed monthly or bi-monthly. Russell et al. (2008:66) agrees, contending that “with increasing opportunities for amateur cultural production, it is clear people are actively resisting the content and practices of mainstream news.” In fact, following this explosion of blogging popularity, PR companies have begun to reserve coveted first row seats at iconic fashion shows for ‘celebrity’ bloggers such as Tavi of ‘Style Rookie’ (Daily Mail, 2009), illustrating the influence they have on information distribution and demonstrating the increasing shift towards online collaboration within the fashion industry. However, it can equally be argued that once popular bloggers reach a certain level of fame, they are approached and supported by companies. For example, Rumi Neely of ‘Fashion Toast’ is now face of US fashion chain Forever 21 (Sunrainey, 2010). This may undermine the independent nature of blogging, still informing readers yet having to vocalize a certain bias towards brands or companies that support the blogger themselves.

Tommy Ton’s ‘Jak and Jil’ blogs the latest runway fashions the moment they leave the venue. [Photo credit: Tommy Ton, Jak and Jil]

We will always view established fashion magazines as style bibles, but in terms of truly informing the public of new trends and other fashion news, bloggers are the way of the future. They don’t all have Galliano on speed dial, but the instant, accessible, independent and yet collaborative nature of blogging truly connects readers to their passion and in this way, is most effective in conveying information.


Groth Aimee (2011). Inside Anna Wintour’s $350 Billion Power Network. http://www.businessinsider.com/anna-wintour-2011-5 [accessed May 17, 2011]

Russell, Adrienne., Ito, Mizuko., Richmond, Todd., and Tuters, Marc. (2008) ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’ in Varnelis, Kazys. Networked Publics. Cambridge:MIT Press.

Rawi, Maysa (2009). ‘Meet Tavi, 13, the ‘tiny’ blogger with the fashion industry at her feet’, The Daily Mail Online.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1215048/Meet-Tavi-Gevinson-13-tiny-blogger-fashion-industry-feet.html[accessed May 17, 2011]

Anonymous, (2010) Sunrainey.  http://www.sunrainey.com/fashiontoast-rumi-neely-forever-21-new-ad.html [accessed May 17,2011]

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  1. roseanne
    May 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    This is a great post Phoebe, you’ve really targeted the question well by using the notion of citizen journalism and fashion blogs. It is true that they blur the lines, like you say, between citizen and professional journalism and the ordinary and the celebrity, and that is what makes then so accessible. If the Internet is truly democratic then participation should be universal, and the mix of the producer becoming the consumer is what really makes culture (and aesthetic) sharing so great.

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