Thursday, December 3, 2009
Bloggers are the new Outlaws
The growing and prevailing attitude by some Designers here and abroad are that bloggers are to be feared, silenced and ostracized. This is pretty dramatic and obviously a statement about the controlling of information. The fact that the information in question is not that of the traditional press but independent people with no responsibility or ties to that press. With designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, Dolce and Gabbana and now Christopher Kane expressing fear and loathing of the blogging community many of us as a group are quickly becoming outlaws.
Dolce and Gabbana complained about their front row being filled with bloggers. This alone was described as a phalanx of lepers. Christopher Kane complained of the irresponsibility of allowing preteens to judge the work of professionals. Alber Elbaz's fears appear to be of the free floating variety. There are always going to be critics, journalists, editors and , yes, bloggers who will report irresponsibly and unfairly. The agendas of many are vast and filled with nuances. But more importantly, the information highway has more lanes than can be counted. Perhaps people in the position of being critiqued and judged are uncomfortable with the fact that they are now scrutinized without recourse. The days of banning journalists from collections because of critical reviews are now over. As long as the message was glowing all was well.
I think it's ironic that many journalists have said confidentially that they envy the voices of many bloggers simply because of our relative freedom of speech. That freedom that bloggers possess comes with an obligation to be responsible. My point of view and opinion is exactly that. It is no one else's but mine. Inflammatory statements are unproductive, hurtful and ultimately drive away one's audience. When the intention is to incite or provoke thought and a dialogue it can be productive. Wholesale destructive diatribes are only self serving and annoying. Bloggers who use their voices to create "brands" and steer financial rewards their way by means of salacious stories and commentary are a breed unto themselves. Most of us are just passionate about the subjects we cover. The financial gains are negligible to non-existent unless you are reaping benefits from product placements or have other business arrangements. This is not the case for most of us.
I've written things in the past that, in retrospect, were not always clearly thought through. That said, the majority of my opinions on the subject of fashion, the industry, the world of appearances and popular culture are sincerely felt and not off the cuff. I consider it a privilege to write and share my insights. I love nothing better than compelling, thought provoking collections and design full of heart and soul. The double standard inherent in the design community which mourns that loss of greater control of the news /infomedia is understandable but no longer valid. It's finally a democracy for grass roots journalism. Without the ability to control and manipulate the new press the powers that were have a level playing field which has thrown them off balance.
The smartest thing for all concerned is to do your best at whatever you're doing and let others do and think as they please. The worshiping of false idols and the wholesale manufacture of the Emperor's NEW Clothes only invites derision. Over-seriousness should be excised from the equation for both the creators and the critics and a lot more fun could be had by all.