How to Avoid Being the Ungrateful NYFW Blogger

Sep 8, 2011

Every Summer, I say that I’m going to attend New York Fashion Week.  And every Fall, I decide not to go.  What keeps me away?

Well, the Congressional calendar for one.  Vacation days are tough to come by when we’re in session.  And frankly, I’d rather use my off time to travel to the Wild Wild West.

The insane cost of hotel rooms in NYC for another.  $300 a night for a possibly bed bug infested room is just more than I can spare or bear.

And lastly, the fact that there is a plethora of NYFW content posted online, usually in real time.  But virtual access to the shows thanks to Twitter, blogs and YouTube is both a blessing and a curse.

I support my fellow bloggers in any way that I can, especially if they have been kind enough to support me.  But most of us are part-timers who, while passionate about our sites, couldn’t live by web traffic alone.  Does that mean that our opinions aren’t valid or that we don’t deserve to attend the NYFW shows? 

Of course not.  Blogs carry water for the designers and make trends accessible to millions of readers who might not otherwise care what was happening at Lincoln Center.  In fact, some bloggers (The Glamourai, Atlantic-Pacific, Sea of Shoes) are on the verge of being more influential than the traditional fashion magazines.  

But even bloggers who provide thoughtful, quality content on their sites can fail at the task of covering Fashion Week and whenever I watch a fellow blogger misuse their Golden Ticket a little piece of me dies.

Bloggers who are lucky enough to attend the shows need to maintain at least a modicum of professionalism.  They need to remember that this is more like a work trip than it is a vacation.  

Enjoying the experience is encouraged, but if the bloggers who are writing from their couches hundreds of miles away are providing more in-depth, thoughtful content than the bloggers who are actually attending the shows in person, we have a problem.  

Here are a few things that bloggers attending the shows should try avoid doing.  Unless, of course, they want to look like star-struck day trippers.

  • Posting grainy photos of the runway models taken with your cell phone camera, from a seat in the 4th row, in a dimly lit room and then captioning the pics with “Wow,” “OMG,” “Amazeballs” or 
    “I die.”  
  • Tweeting every celebrity sighting at every show.  Even more egregious? Tweeting your sighting at the celeb.  For example, “OMG @KimKardashian is here! KK, you look ah-may-zing!”
  • Spending significantly more time talking about what you’re wearing, what you’re eating, what you’re drinking and who you’re meeting than you do discussing the clothes, the makeup and the hairstyles coming down the runway.
  • Posting photos of your “swag bags.”  When you start blogging about all the free stuff you receive, your readers start to wonder if that’s the only, or at least the primary, reason that you blog.
  • Complaining about the lines, the surly check-in staff, being seated in the back rows, the shows starting late, how “exhausting” the pace is, etc.  Isn’t a bad day at NYFW better than a good day at work?  Because most of your readers are trapped in their cubicles right now wishing that they could be at NYFW.  So when you complain that you went to bed late because you were at the after party and now you have to be at an 11:00AM (?!?!?) show, we want to suffocate you with a pillow in your sleep.
  • Thinking that a trip to NYFW makes you Anna Wintour or Cintra Wilson. Please resist the temptation to start sentences with the phrase, “When I was at Fashion Week…” and refer to the designers by their first names, unless you actually know them.

And the number one thing that bloggers should avoid doing:

  • Forgetting how you actually got to NYFW in the first place. 

Allow me to explain.  A lot of bloggers go to Fashion Week and they get so busy going to the shows and hitting up the parties that they don’t have time for anything beyond a few tweets, Twitpics and a short blog post or two.  They promise that there will be more coverage when the maelstrom ends, but when they come back from Fashion Week it becomes like they were never there.  Don’t be one of those bloggers.

What allows bloggers access to the shows, the thing that makes it possible for them to even attend NYFW is usually not their original, creative and earth shattering blog content.  What gives bloggers access to a world once closed off to all but a select few is our influence and our readership.  Without readers, bloggers are basically basement-dwelling cat ladies with Wi-Fi sending opinions into the void.  

So, long story short, don’t use your readers to gain entry to the shows and then provide half-assed, lackluster content that is basically culled/plaigarized from other sources.

As I said above, the NYFW posts that I write from the comfortable solitude of my rust orange couch should not surpass the content of someone who was actually there.  Designers opened their doors to you because they wanted you to carry their water, so grab a pail and give your readers the coverage they deserve.  Because if all you’re going to do is document your oh-so-exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip to NYC and all its accoutrements, you should step aside and let someone else fill your seat.

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  1. DC Celine says:

    Belle, this is one of the best posts you've written. When you blog, you have to decide what you're going to blog, why, and who you're going to be when you blog. Mistakes like those above happen when you forget that.

  2. Nina says:

    Preach!

    It was very ladylike of you not to call out specific idiots, but because I am a dedicated hater I have GOMI for that.

  3. Jenna says:

    “â– Complaining about the lines, the surly check-in staff, being seated in the back rows, the shows starting late, how “exhausting” the pace is, etc. Isn't a bad day at NYFW better than a good day at work? Because most of your readers are trapped in their cubicles right now wishing that they could be at NYFW. So when you complain that you went to bed late because you were at the after party and now you have to be at an 11:00AM (?!?!?) show, we want to suffocate you with a pillow in your sleep.”

    THANK YOU. So many of those fashion bloggers drive me crazy with how tired and “busy” they are (I nearly roll my eyes out of my head every time Jessica Quick complains about this). Let's be serious — if you don't go to the office or have a REAL job (yes I said real job) — you're lucky. Very lucky. I really do admire people like you, Belle who can manage such a popular blog while working full time as well. Not that anyone needs to work full time and have a blog to prove themselves…I just wish some of these girls would really put things in perspective!

  4. Belle says:

    Jenna- Thanks for that. My least favorite thing that Jessica Quirk and others who blog professionally do is say, “I have 900 unopened email in my inbox.”

    First off, some of that is spam. Second, some of that is reader mail that can be responded to with a one line thank you. Third, until you've seen the email that White House staffers or House/Senate leadership staffers get, you can't complain. Because they get hundreds/thousands per day, and their emails aren't about shoes, belts or purses.

  5. cginnyc says:

    Bravo Belle for not being afraid to call out bloggers on this. I usually stop reading fashion blogs during fashion week because of all the reasons you listed. I think we should start a reader-voted campaign to get you to the next fashion week – seriously!

  6. Amen. From one part-time blogger to another.

  7. Leslie says:

    GREAT POST! Thank you thank you – so very true!

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