Statement Makers & Trash Talkers: In response to Franca Sozzani

“Punk is….
Questioning colleagues on their assumptions, and never accepting any form of the “it’s how we’ve done it before” rationale.” – Punk Marketing (2009)

Italian Vogue editor since ’88, Franca Sozzani dished (her rather personal) dirt about fashion bloggers on her own blog yesterday (read here). She likened the recent phenomenon to a “viral cold.” Her post boiled down to her belief that fashion bloggers are uneducated, overblown nobodies who do not deserve the presence they are gaining within the industry, specifically citing fashion shows bloggers have been invited to over recent years.

I was stopped-in-my-tracks-stunned when reading her very candid post. I was also baffled that Franca Sozzani, was allowing, clearly, personal opinions to blur into a business posture. (Don’t mistake your blog as a personal journal if it has your name on it! Before spilling volatile vinegar, one must consider that it has the power to clear a room and a little goes a long way.) After reading her emotional vomit, I pondered her statements from my computer. How does stating her frustration help her as an editor/designer, push her brand further, and how will it be received or not within the fashion industry?

“Punk is…
Realizing that people don’t care about your business and certainly not your marketing unless you give them a serious, no bullshit reason to care.” – Punk Marketing (2009)

I was troubled by her clear loss of sight that the fashion industry is not all art for designers to convene over, deciding which of the privileged and beautiful should wear their art. It could never be that in order for it to succeed. Her personal opinions were rather one-sided. Sozzani has beef with the fact that bloggers tend to have very little background in fashion and, therefore, are not able to articulate and interpret designs, professionally.  She felt, that, in turn, lack of understanding can create criticism from bloggers toward designers unfairly. This clearly caused her a disconnect between the undeniable relationship between designer, brand, and blogger that has evolved as technology has become readily accessible across the globe.

“Punk is…
Hiring people not based on the amount of relevant experience they have in your industry but on how the unique skills they have will help the organization grow.” – Punk Marketing (2009)

1 for All, All for 1

The fashion Industry has different, multi-level platforms that have each been assigned a job with its own purpose and intent. There is one main goal amongst these different platforms and that is for the industry to succeed and progress toward the future, which does not necessarily mean that they need to work from top to bottom, but often times, side by side. Included in the different platforms are brands, bloggers, designers, marketers, etc. From design conception to roll out and, finally, into the consumers closet, these platforms offer a matrix of  how they work, as co-heirs, shifting in public dominance during the different phases, across the industry.

“Get off your ass and join the revolution” – Punk Marketing (2009) – best advice ever

Relatability

The biggest mistake Sozzani has made is confusing the general population of fashion bloggers with designers and businessmen. They are not on the same platform. Bloggers will not shape a brand like the designers and business world can. A blogger, though influential, cannot ever crossover, as a blogger. Their power rests in a role between consumer and representative of the consumer, a liaison if you will. It is questionable that a fashion blogger should know and have the understanding that a designer has when talking about multi-level marketing. If this occurs, I believe, that it will threaten the position of the relatability that he or she is helping to create between brand and buyer.

We are in an age where consumers do not want to be bombarded with ads and images they do not want to consume. Prior to this new millennium, marketers forced us to see what they, as marketers, wanted. Our response, as Tivo was released and television became accessible on the Internet, was to turn off the ads we didn’t like. (Surprisingly, studies show that we are more likely to view ads that we’re interested in.) Marketers are finally taking note and turning to its consumer for inspiration.

The biggest threat to designers and consumers, alike, is going to be advertising monopolization. More and more, brands are reaching out to relevant bloggers and/or sending merchandise for consumers to see and experience on blogs. Some brands will pay big bucks for bloggers to participate, while smaller brands may not be able to compete. Additionally, blog readers are looking for authenticity. Bloggers must remember who they are serving first, the consumer. If they lose sight, their authenticity will be challenged. As a result, it may be that giving into to any and all adverts to fill that 3 x 3 spot on their webpage side-column will hurt the blogger. Rather, being aware of who the readers are and what brands inspire them should be considered when selecting adverts.  As the relationship deepens, between fashion bloggers and the industry, this will be interesting to watch how it unfolds.

Correction

Ultimately, the designers needs the bloggers’ invites (not the other way around) to attend the fashion shows, along with hand-picked rich-and-famous and the fashion reporters. This industry is a business. Those looks on the runways need to be delivered to the consumer in a multifaceted way, across all levels, to reach them. Vogue’s print magazine isn’t going to cut it, single-handedly, but additionally.


Sources:

Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer & Mark Simmons. Published by Harpper 2009.

refinery29.com: Franca Sozzani Trashes Fashion Bloggers, Calls Them “A Disease”

Vouge.it: “Trash is all around the world”

Suggested Reading:

Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons or visit their blog for bad-ass, revolutionary business info!

Franca Sozzani Blog Post: “And Now I’m doing My Blog!”

This article are the sole expressions and opinions of Chelsea Reyes, unless otherwise stated. I have little experience in the fashion industry and business world. However, it is important to note that my raw passion and current observation is why I am moving toward a degree in both, business and design. There is a delicate balance between the new and the old. Much to our dismay, ageism is hurtful. However, a fresh perspective, young or old, will be apart of our success, as we move through the generations to come. – Chelsea Reyes, owner and operator of Lucky Rabbit Shoppe.

(click images for source)

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One thought on “Statement Makers & Trash Talkers: In response to Franca Sozzani

  1. So if a blogger does not have formal “designer” training (people “design” a lot of things, like pencils…) they are unable to grasp design? Well your average consumer is not a “designer” so surely they do not know what they are buying too, right? Why would this person want to design stuff so that the agnostic and unwashed masses may gaze upon her designs and say “you know [I’m not a designer] but, this just does not do my eye color justice!” or “this looks like that blouse I bought at Target for $5 not $500!”.

    So next time you go to buy something from this lady or from another “designer” make sure you have your designer ID and designer club rewards card handy…or else!

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