Friends, if you are like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about fashion. Nothing brings me more joy than a strappy sandal, some knife pleats and a vented yoke.
OK, I don’t know what any of that means. When my couture is haute, I generally put on some shorts and a T-shirt. But I was nonetheless interested in Josephine Collins’ blog post about blog posts and their place in the fashion world. I’m interested because she could have been writing about online car reviews, music sites or any other thing that print journalists used to own.
Collins, who teaches fashion journalism at the University of the Arts in London, argues persuasively that the legions of new commentators have democratized the catwalk and made the job of “real” journalists more challenging … and more interesting.
“It’s easy to be snobby about fashion bloggers as untrained arbiters of style. But the fact is that these aficionados of fashion have become important, perhaps the central, 21st-century trendsetters,” she writes.
She goes on to say that those of us who get paid to comment have to provide history and context and not merely say something like, “Look at this dress. I like it.” After all, anyone with an Internet connection can decide for herself whether that new frock is for her. …
How do you do that?
- Lean on your newspaper archives. No one has the same access to the history of the things you cover.
- Lean on your contacts. You get paid to do this. You spend more time with sources than most bloggers. Make that work to your advantage.
- Write smarter. Focus on the “why” and the “how.” Provide unique perspective and not only breaking news.
- Be there. There is no substitute for being at an event. I might write about London Fashion Week from my home in California, but it will never be as insightful as what Ms. Collins lays down, in part, because she is there.
None of this is a revelation. It’s just evidence that the Internet has changed the information economy across the globe and across every industry. You can ignore that fact, rail against it or pretend it’s all going away, but that won’t make you relevant. Evolve.