Have bloggers sold out? That's the question posed by NZ Herald contributor Cathrin Schaer in her piece The write stuff, published in today's Viva (the Herald's Wednesday fashion/lifestyle pullout). "Once upon a time they were voices in the online wilderness, crying out for love from the industry they adored... My, how things have changed. During the last round of fashion shows in Europe and America, which wound up last week in Paris, elaborately clad bloggers sat in the front row alongside the industry's most influential. Fashion bloggers are now collaborating not just with established fashion media like Vogue, Elle and assorted newspapers, but also with designer labels and fashion agencies both to create signature fashion items and to help market new products."
The article includes quotes and insights from Kiwi designers Kate Sylvester and Karen Walker, who both appear to be pro-blogging, though Sylvester does mention that undisclosed commercial ties can be problematic; and PR agent Murray Bevan, who says that while many of his clients have experienced significant international growth as a result of their work being published on blogs, he is often disappointed by bloggers because, "They're in it for themselves, not the industry. So they'll never truly have integrity."
Schaer also interviewed me for the piece:
"I used to write about sneaking into fashion shows. Now I get invited to them," he explains. "So you can't always be fighting the system. And some brands might see that sort of thing as disrespectful - which isn't positive if you want to build a relationship with them. But I don't see that as selling out, I see that as mutual respect. I started my blog as a reaction against what I could see was being published in New Zealand. It seemed to me that there was a lot of fluff and that nobody was really telling the truth. But I've since come to realise there is a reason for this. It's a small place, if you go for a coffee on Ponsonby Rd you're highly likely to see five of the people you've just written about - and it's hard being Public Enemy Number One."Like I always say, everybody loves the truth, as long as it's not being written about them.
Special thanks to Cathrin Schaer for including me in her piece, it's an accurate and well-balanced look at the relationship between bloggers and the industry. For the record, I do believe that when it comes to commercial ties and freebies, honesty is the best policy: disclose, disclose, disclose.
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