Fashion Trivia: The Origins of the Unending Influencers (Née Bloggers) vs. Editors Debate

It's been 84 years...

<p>Photos: Getty Images, Pixabay; Artwork: Angela Wei/Fashionista</p>

Photos: Getty Images, Pixabay; Artwork: Angela Wei/Fashionista

Test your fashion-industry knowledge with our new-old weekly series, Fashion Trivia! There’s no prize (yet) for having the right answer, but you get theoretical bonus points for not using Google.

Q: What single event ignited a heated bloggers-vs.-editors debate that's still bubbling up over a decade later?

Scroll down for the answer...

A: In September of 2009, an image circulated from Dolce & Gabbana's Spring 2010 runway show, featuring Bryanboy, Tommy Ton, Garance Doré and Scott Schuman all sitting front row. That alone would have been perceived as an affront to fashion's time-honored hierarchical system, but they were all also seated behind laptops (this was pre-Instagram) to ostensibly cover the show live. This really did mark a turning point in the way fashion is marketed and consumed, and, unfortunately ignited a pattern of traditional media stalwarts criticizing and even mocking the representatives of digital media who were, at that time, "crashing" fashion's front rows, per the headline of a defining New York Times story by Eric Wilson.

That particular piece was exceptionally balanced, but still telling of old media's unease around new media's industry infiltration. An excerpt:

As a relatively new phenomenon in the crowded arena of journalists whose specialty it is to report the news of the catwalks, fashion bloggers have ascended from the nosebleed seats to the front row with such alacrity that a long-held social code among editors, one that prizes position and experience above outward displays of ambition or enjoyment, has practically been obliterated. After all, what is one to think — besides publicity stunt —when Bryan Boy, a pseudonymous, style-obsessed blogger from the Philippines, is seated at the D & G show in Milan between the august front-row fixtures of Vogue and Vanity Fair, a mere two positions to the right of Anna Wintour?

The story, alongside other similar ones in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, made editors-vs.-bloggers a hot topic of conversation on and offline. And it didn't end there: Every few years since, there seems to be a widely circulated piece of writing, typically in a legacy publication of some sort, that drums it up all over again.

There was Suzy Menkes' "The Circus of Fashion," a critique on the street-style peacocking phenomenon, in 2013. Then, in 2016, there was's editor roundtable dispatch-turned-takedown from Milan Fashion Week, the conversational nature of which yielded some particularly cruel missives on influencers. Examples:

Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: Please stop. Find another business. You are heralding the death of style.

The professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible, but most of all, pathetic for these girls, when you watch how many times the desperate troll up and down outside shows, in traffic, risking accidents even, in hopes of being snapped.

It's now 2023, and, guess what? Digital won. Instagram sponsored the Met Gala. Basically every show is live-streamed. OG bloggers are now millionaire entrepreneurs. Editors are expected to be influencers, too. The front row has morphed into an extension of the runway, with VIPs — a catch-all term for influencers and other types of celebrities — also dressed by the brand. Soon, if it's deemed profitable for brands, robots will take all of our jobs.

View the original article to see embedded media.

And yet — thanks to a retro conversation pit filled with influencers at the Gucci show — that tired discourse is back, with a few of those old-media journalists still undermining the validity of those front-row guests, just in subtler ways. (And once again, some publicist's seating decision is at the root.)


View the original article to see embedded media.

In addition to the shrewd responses from Bryanboy and Susanna Lau embedded above, I'll leave you with this.

Did you get the answer right? Hahaha.

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