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The ‘Circus’ of Fashion Journalism and Niche Media

Whether or not you live in New York City, you are bound to be bombarded with fashion on some homepage this week, as #NYFW kicks off a month-long season of shows.

Like in general news publishing, the niche, elite world of fashion journalism has undergone some serious changes in the digital landscape. And it’s anxiety ridden. This past spring, Garage Magazine produced a short, 10 minute, video called “Take My Picture” anchored by the notorious fashion journo Tim Blanks. The piece examines the rise of the fashion blogger and “street style” photographers. It’s the same anxiety news hounds have about citizen journalists, but the elitism is ten fold. It’s fashion, after all.

Even the New York Times noted this week that the state of the fashion industry — which relies on fashion media as much as fabric — is reaching circus levels. Industry standards like Women’s Wear Daily, Harper’s Bazaar, W, and of course, Vogue are still kings of fashion content, but ‘good’ fashion blogs — the Andrew Sullivans, if you will — of fashion media, like Natalie Joos’ Tales of Endearment and Man Repeller are just as important sources for fashion news and features. But again, the idea of ‘good’ journalism is problematic.

Media commenter Jay Rosen wrote this month in CJR that journalism is defined by ‘awayness,’ as in “I was there, you weren’t, let me tell you about it.” In that sense, the Tumblr-fication of fashion media and street style is a good thing. The more the merrier. But it’s an interesting problem. In “Take My Picture,” Blanks seems to suggest that arming civilians with cameras and free blogging sites is bad for culture, in general. It cheapens the niche. It’s the same worry the general news publishing world has about Twitter and listicles.

I wonder what sports writers would feel about the locker rooms being opened up to just anyone? Or what political writers would say if the White House press briefings were open town halls that any blogger could walk into? 

 

Image via Mashable

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