Diary of Academy of Art University Graduation 2013: Of Blogs and Whatnots

Day 2: May 9, 2013 Morning

Today is the Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Show, but it was not until 7:00 PM but we still have a full day ahead of us.

First on our agenda was “Bon Chic, Bon Chat” at AAU’s Morgan Auditorium in Mason Street. Here, we met the final member of the VIP group, Suzy Menkes, the Fashion Editor of the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times.

With Dr. Elisa Stevens, President of the Academy of Art University as the moderator, Suzy Menkes, Max Azria and Lubov Azria answered questions from Gladys Perint Palmer and from the audience.

The discussion was lively and there were so many topics that were covered yet the one that truly caught my attention was when Ms. Palmer asked Suzy Menkes on how social media in general and blogs in particular affect fashion.

And, oh boy! That was a loaded question. Just to give you a backgrounder. Last February, during New York Fashion Week, in one of her articles at New York Times’ T Magazine, “The Circus of Fashion” (http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/the-circus-of-fashion/), Suzy Menkes wrote, “Many bloggers are — or were — perceptive and succinct in their comments. But with the aim now to receive trophy gifts and paid-for trips to the next round of shows, only the rarest of bloggers could be seen as a critic in its original meaning of a visual and cultural arbiter.”

And though Suzy Menkes was not the first one who commented on the “swag” for bloggers (remember the scandal about mommy bloggers and the IRS), the fashion blogosphere was up in arms about this article which was surprising because Ms. Menkes is the first established journalist who acknowledged the importance of blogs and bloggers.

Suzy Menkes

Suzy Menkes

So, today, when Gladys Perint Palmer asked Suzy Menkes about blogs, I was all ears. And guess what, Ms. Menkes who is the most influential fashion editor in the whole world continues to be an ardent support of blogs.

“Blogs are here to stay,” said Suzy Menkes. “The fashion industry will be doing itself a disservice if we don’t recognize it as such. Yet, bloggers also has to learn accountability. And that means being objective when expressing their opinions.”

Hearing that, I agreed with Ms. Menkes wholeheartedly. Like her, I have seen bloggers who continually write on their “reviews” of a collection who says that “It’s a good collection because I like it and want to wear it.” That might not be the exact wording but the gist is the same just said in different ways.

FashionWindows began long before there were blogs; when being “online” also meant being a red-headed stepchild when it comes to fashion journalism. Coming fresh from working in Silicon Valley to the tents in Bryant Park, I was shocked on the fashion industry’s view on online journalism.
Being one of the few online journalists and fewer websites attending the New York, London, Milan and Paris seasons, I understood early one that I have to gain everyone’s respect if I want to be treated seriously.

It was not just the established media who was looking at online journalism; the fashion crowd (they were not called fashionistas yet during that time) was also watching. Of course, it is different now. Online journalism is as important as being published in print.

I believe that is where most bloggers are missing the point. Unlike in print that when the next issue comes out what you said is literally “yesterday’s news”, what is published online is forever. And that is why self-accountability is very important.

[MARI DAVIS]

Suzy Menkes, Lubov Azria, Max Azria, Gladys Perint Palmer

Suzy Menkes, Lubov Azria, Max Azria, Gladys Perint Palmer

Suzy Menkes, Lubov Azria, Dr. Elisa Stephens, Max Azria, Gladys Perint Palmer

Suzy Menkes, Lubov Azria, Dr. Elisa Stephens, Max Azria, Gladys Perint Palmer