|TOP: Wet Seal SKIRT: H&M Shoes: Primadonna Philippines Accessories: Forever21|
I am probably a week-long (or two) behind the uproar, but it was only on this rainy day that I finally got the chance to sit down and read about Suzy Menkes' The Circus of Fashion and Leandra Medine's rebuttal, Blog is a Dirty Word, the almost-endless comments and other opinion-related blog posts regarding Menkes' critique on fashion and blogging as a whole.
And well, hey. Since this is a personal blog, I might as well inject my opinion here as well, late though I may be. Hah!
First of all, I'm honestly really happy to read another critique piece about fashion. There's honestly so few of them about, that when something along those lines get released to a wide and unrelenting public, it causes such a mindful stir. I do appreciate the ridiculing harshness and raw honesty of such critique pieces because for one, it makes us stop to wonder about the things daily things we do in our lives, and for another, it makes us take a second look upon the current society we live in and want to do something about it - whether it's to cry in outrage, or simply reflect upon it, it works enough to provoke so much emotion and thought that hey, maybe a chance at change will occur.
Second, while most of me agrees and recognizes the content of Menkes' overall message, obviously while reading the piece, I felt as if I was a target of contention - me, along with probably millions of people around the globe simply because I (we) love to blog, we love fashion and we love posting a lot of mindless junk on our personal social networks. Menkes makes a mention of 'peacocks during fashion week', and bloggers who are 'famous for being famous'; people who have risen to celebrity stature because of their websites, their Facebook pages, and overall their playful-hand of exacting effective PR for brands and retail companies on a per-second basis. Yet I can't help but think of a similar analogy of Fashion Week to say, the Oscars or any awards-night Hollywood comes up with on an annual basis. So there, Fashion Week is like the Oscars and your celebrities parading the red carpet are as follows: the top-notch bloggers, editors, stylists, street-style trendsetters and the other whathaveyous (in Menkes' term, 'peacocks'). But honestly, hasn't this all been going on for... years now? The VIP treatment and gift-rewards have always been ever-present even in traditional media. Write a lovely article about a restaurant, you get a free meal or two. Work for an accessories store, you get a free pass to Fashion Week. So why the attack on bloggers who receive freebies from brands after doing them effective service? It happens everywhere since time immemorial.
Perhaps its more of a phenomenon now more than ever because of the continuous advancement of technology and the World Wide Web. Everything can be captured and delivered to the general public and online consumer on a per-second basis, of course, it's going be more crazed and it's going to generate more followers and spark interest among cyberspace travelers. More information delivered, more possible followers in-the-know of the current. I guess, that's the point of it all at the end of the day - to send out a message at the fastest possible way. Bloggers help relay those messages at the fastest rate possible. So the demand? Inevitable.
Though its understandable the point Menkes is trying to make. She comes from a time and age that adheres to the principles of substantial journalism and reverence to the practices of traditional media - the foundation that the new media today came from. And while bloggers have been an essential tool for PR-purposes of any retail brand, this negative trend of bloggers sprouting and paraders seeking attention from photographers for fame's-sake is a reality that truly exists (albeit frustrating and annoying), regardless of how we dodge around it. This trend makes people like me question the overall essence of journalism and blogging today - for their meaning is slowly (or maybe has always been?) becoming askew and lost. Substance can be lost against marketing and business-strategies. Its like an episode of Newsroom, except the focus has been shifted to online journalism and blogging.
What about people like me who started out wanting to express opinions, feelings and in this case, personal style to unknown viewers? Where do we place ourselves against rest of the crowd-robbing 'peacocks' and brainwashing business-strategies? Do we join the bandwagon and if we do, to what extent? Where does our substance belong to at the end of the day? What is substance, anyway and does it even matter anymore?
Questions like that.
For me, blogging has always been a personal thing. I write and post the things that directly affect my life in a personal space that belongs solely to me, as I'm sure most people do. So yeah, excuse the whole me-me-me syndrome because that's what the origin of blogging came from, really. It was supposed to be all about you. Why? Because that particular space belonged to you and therefore, go nuts with it, right? The annoyance is probably heightened due to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, but hey, we all need to feel as if we have a ventilation system or else we'll go ballistic. Aside from information of all things current events, cyberspace is ventilation for rants and vanity (and yes, I include in my own blog and social networks when I say this). And even if fame-seeking nutbags exist in cyberspace; they who have been the crop of countless viewers' source of envy, our opinions don't matter to them simply because they were doing it in their own space. And vice versa. To each his own and to hell with it.
"There is a genuine difference between the stylish and the showoffs — and that is the current dilemma. If fashion is for everyone, is it fashion? The answer goes far beyond the collections and relates to the speed of fast fashion. There is no longer a time gap between when a small segment of fashion-conscious people pick up a trend and when it is all over the sidewalks." - Circus of Fashion, Menkes
Before this, I spent the first half of the day piecing a mission philosophy for a company profile of budding local online store. And the vision of company was simple: a future wherein fashion no longer abides by the boundaries of social class and standing. In a Third World country, frivolity can only extend so far. Here, we've only got a few renowned It-Bloggers and the elite honestly still conquer and overtake all lines thanks to their VIP passes and freebies - this pertains to everything. Well, and great. That's society and that's how its been for a while. Fashion, as a worldly concept, has always been something meant and made for the elite, able and above.
But even so, why should fashion remain only for those who have the financial means and networks to do so? People have personalities and expressions, sure as hell they can spruce up a semblance of style, inspired by the latest whathaveyous. Perhaps this is the paragraph from the article that irked me a notch off the rails. Or maybe its just me - the frustration of being in a Third World country and seeing so much potential around me and then seeing said potential being squashed by senseless elitist who run the city. I'm sure Menkes had a completely different intent on saying this, but I'm showing another perspective her line be received and this is how it ran in me.
Still, despite the fine line between "the stylish and the showoffs", I believe that fashion should be for everyone. And when that happens, fashion will still be fashion. You've got your crowd but you've got your creative trendsetters. Unfortunately, along with that, you will also have your posers and fame-seekers. There's always going to be a duality in everything and that's just how the cycle is. This is similar to the ravings of comic-geeks and their issue of geek-posers and how they're everywhere and it's irritating. While they make valid points, I can help but feel a sense of elitism to the whole thing. I haven't been a Batman-fan for 10 years of my life, therefore I can't be one simply because I lack all the trivia details knowledge the "true-geeks" have and I've missed 10 years of my life? Honestly, enough with the elitism. Fast fashion and technology are concepts that have turned up with the overall purpose of wanting to diminish the differences between the high and the low; of trying to make both ends meet at one point.
Okay, enough ranting.
As you've noticed, completely unrelated outfit posts have been injected in between the seriousness of my thought-unraveling rant, regarding an article that struck me and made me think, to serve as breaks in case you're sick of the text-heavy post.
Or maybe I was trying to make a point? The photos are so-so and were shot through my iPhone. I'm no poser, but I don't don designer clothes because I'm still at an age where I can't afford those kinds of luxuries yet. I turn to my online reads, fashion news updates and fashion magazines to gorge on the beautiful and the someday. While I am still a conscious-onlooker of what's out there and beyond, I am still a blogger, this is my personal space and while I garb non-designer stuff, I look great. Yay for fast-fashion.
Shoot me, sue me. Point is, cut off elitism and find some positivity on the cynicism of how the world runs today.