In the four years since I set up my blog, I’ve seen the media landscape change from ‘What is a blog?’ to ‘How do we communicate effectively with blogs?’
Some publicists and brands get it. Many do not. When I first started writing LLG, back in 2006, no one in fashion in the UK talked or even really knew about blogging, and I certainly didn’t think of it as an adjunct to my career. I continued as a fashion editor in the print world, and just wrote away on LLG in my spare time, shouting into the ether about my life and opinions. I didn’t talk to publicists and they certainly didn’t want to talk to me.
Fast forward to 2010 and HOW things have changed. I often call publicists for information or images for stories that will run exclusively on LLG and not in print, and I receive hundreds of unsolicited emails a day from publicists in London, Paris, Sydney, New York, Tokyo and beyond. But that’s not to say that those PR people and the brands that they represent all understand this brave new world, or how bloggers work and what kind of content they run.
And bloggers themselves are feeling their way too. How much church & state should there be with brands? How do we fit into the fashion & media industry? Should bloggers attend fashion weeks? What should our relationship with print media be?
Topshop were one of the first British brands to run a specific blogger press day, which went a long way towards making bloggers feel that they had a voice that was taken seriously in the fashion industry. But that kind of event has become redundant with the realisation that blogs are another cog in the media world, not a separate machine.
This season, Arcadia, (home of Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis & Evans), changed tack. They invited a small group of fashion directors, senior editors & style bloggers on their home turf in London to a dinner at The Ivy Club last week. The aim of the evening was to foster relationships in the industry as a whole, to introduce bloggers to print & web editors and vice versa, to make the point that all have a place at the fashion table.
And what an interesting table. Amongst the guests were Paula Reed from Grazia, Clare Coulson from Harper’s Bazaar, & Claudia Croft from The Sunday Times’ Style, Dolly Jones from Vogue.com, three editors who straddle both blogging & print: myself, Grazia’s FashionEditoratLarge Mel Rickey and Disneyrollergirl, and dedicated bloggers including Susie Bubble & Style Salvage, along with the Facehunter, Yvan Rodic, whom Arcadia had commissioned to take portraits of the guests. (That’s mine above.)
Bloggers are solitary creatures, by definition, and we don’t often get to meet each other, let alone print & web editors, in the way that traditional media do, so putting us all in a room together and shaking us up worked well. (Although the print editor who remarked to me that she must have been on the wrong table as hers was full of bloggers missed the point of the evening so dramatically that I fear for her future.)
In recognition that video is playing a larger part in online, Flip kindly co-sponsored the event, gifting us all a Flip Mino High Definition Camcorder, which Grazia Daily’s editor Angela Buttolph immediately put to use, filming short What are you wearing interviews with a few bloggers, which are on Grazia Daily here.
What I’m wearing:
Cream tux: Theory
Black lace cocktail dress: Rory Beca
Freshwater pearl necklaces: from friends
Suede & lace peep toe heels & footless tights: New Look