THREE THOUGHTS about fashion blogs

screenshot of a Google image search for "fashion blog"

... there seems to be some new momentum in the ongoing (?) debate (??) about fashion blogs, at least in Austria (I'm saying this because of this, this and that). Alright then, let me add just three thoughts:

One: fashion blogs are indeed the most self-referential media I know (except for print media writing about the nearing end of all print media, of course - ha ha ha). To the point that there are some examples that are actually more about fashion blogs than they are about fashion. That is, from my point of view, an absurdity, unless these blogs actually start to refer to themselves as fashion blog blogs. 

Two: self pity seems to be a common thing among fashion bloggers, or rather the need to repeatedly point out how many bad feelings there are and how sad that is, and yet everyone (I will have to include myself, I guess) who writes about this whole bad feeling thing just contributes to it. And, let's face it, the Internet is not a particularly happy place. When I go through some bloggers' or journalists' or just "ordinary" people's timeline on their Facebook pages or Twitter feed, it sometimes feels like there is more complaining and moaning and disliking stuff (I'm still sticking to fashion here) than there are positive remarks. 

Three: the whole "we are doing this for free and this is so great and do you not feel sorry for us heroic bloggers" aka (pseudo?) self exploitation discourse is just, well, misleading. There are lots and lots of young and aspiring writers who work for free for print publications, and you'd be surprised at the magazines that are not willing to pay you ("we'd love to, but we just can't, and it'll always be good for your CV to have worked for us" ... uhm, yeah, super!). I myself worked as a "fashion editor at large" (great job title, right?) for a pretty okay mag just after its launch, and I did that for over a year, and all I got for that job was one umbrella. Of course I'd have loved to be paid, but I knew what was in there for me, and when I didn't see the point in doing that kind of job for free I stopped. Period. I don't say that this is a good thing, quite the contrary of course, but sadly it seems to be the way things work these days, at the beginning of a "career" in fashion writing at least. And it's the same with a blog: nobody makes you start it, as long as you like writing about fashion and have something to say and don't feel too tired/exhausted/overwhelmed to continue blogging, just go for it. And the very second it stops being fun, stop. It is not an obligation, towards noone, and it will most likely not turn you into a superstar in the world of runway shows and red carpets. It is, or should be, all about a person interested in (saying something fascinating and making a contribution to) fashion. Just saying ...

Edit: Two seconds after publishing this I realized that I should add one more remark - instead of the self-referential boredom, self pity and self exploitation, fashion blogging (just like everyhting else, basically) should be something that fills you with or adds to your already existing self esteem. Don't you agree that this should be the way it is? Let's try to stay on the bright side of all things stylish.



Jana Wieland's graduate collection (Hetzendorf, photo: J. Hammerschmid)
... I was talking to some people the other day and we found out that since Vienna's annual "festival for fashion and photography" was moved to a later date in autumn, the city's fashion folk had much less occasions to meet and mingle than they usually would at this time of the year. I mean, at least if you calculate that the people attending a show with avant-garde fashion by student designers are not 100 percent identical with the luxury aficionados that invade the countless openings of new luxury flagship stores in the city centre.

Anna-Sophie Berger from Angewandte (photo: Shoji Fuji)
Anyhow, so we were all really really happy and full of energy when we went to the traditional fashion show of Modeklasse at Angewandte last week, and the same thing goes for the BA Fashion show by students of the bachelor course for fashion design located in Hetzendorf. 

First up was the show of Angewandte's fashion department, one of the highlights on Vienna's fashion calendar for sure. The air was thick and damp and heavy, but that didn't prevent us from digging the work of Bernhard Willhelm's students. There is quite a lot of Willhelmy stuff around, and a surprisingly great number of collections made me think "that's a little Margiela-ish" or "isn't that one of Miuccia's whims?" (wasn't that a little different some years ago? probably not, and I'm just imagining things - I HAVE been very busy at work lately, so that would be pretty understandable). 

Taro Ohmae from Angewandte (photo: Shoji Fuji)
There was quite some colourful stuff, quirky shoes, some valid criticism of the fashion system, and there was the graduate collection of Taro Ohmae who does BEAU-TI-FUL things together with Tanja Bradaric - as you, dear readers, should be well aware of... Keep it coming, dear fellows (does anybody know when the Willhelm era will come to its end, by the way? was this his last season at Angewandte already? I guess there's one more year to come...?).

Regarding the fashion show of BA Fashion students at Hetzendorf in collaboration with the University of Fine Arts in Linz (phew! always such an effort to get *that* right...), that was quite another thing. I mean, basically it should be just another chapter of the same story, which is or should be about about creativity and being young and a newcomer

But sadly, there is one great difference: the City of Vienna, which used to finance this very fashion course, decided (that was two years ago) that money spent on such a bachelor degree was money spent not wisely enough. 

Isolde Mayer, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: Jürgen Hammerschmid)
Huh? Yeah, you understood that correctly. First they started it, and then, after three or so years, they said - that's enough, we'll pay for another three years, and then that's that. Quite the contrary of political farsightedness, I'd say. Urgh.

Alina Saavedra Santis, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: J. Hammerschmid)
The fashion show was marvellous, you'll find images on most Austrian fashion blogs (the same thing is true for Angewandte's show), there were really original ideas in some of the collections and also on how to present fashion (and shoes - with torches, lighting them, as in Isolde Mayer's case, for example; or sitting on a chair pretending to try them on as you would in a shop). 

Lena Marie Fuhrmann, a Hetzendorf graduate (photo: J. Hammerschmid)
24 collections of Hetzendorf graduates being presented at the same time, quite a challenge, and all in all pretty impressive, right? And let me express my hope that some high-ranking person from Vienna's town office was there and will be able to take the right decision for this bachelor course. I will keep you posted, you can take that as a promise ...

... quelques mots en français pour terminer : je viens de vous parler du festival de la mode et de la photographie qui n'a pas encore eu lieu à Vienne cette année, et des grandes attentes que le people a pu avoir à l'égard des défilés des deux universités de mode existant à Vienne. 

En ce qui concerne la fameuse "Modeklasse" de l'Université des Arts Appliqués, les traces de la direction artistique de Bernhard Willhelm ont depuis longtemps pu devenir manifestes - il y avait décidément, çà et là et ailleurs, une influence willhelmoise très, on va dire, bigarée.

Et pour parler de la licence ("bachelor") de mode, cours d'études dirigé par la designer autrichienne Ute Ploier à l'Université de Linz mais situé à Hetzendorf : cela aura été l'avant-dernière fois, tragiquement, qu'on a vu les travaux de ces jeunes gens apparemment très doués défiler car la ville de Vienne, soutien économique principal de ce cours universitaire, a décidé, il y a deux ans, qu'elle allait arrêter ce flux d'argent. Ce qui, trois ans seulement après qu'on avait démarré ce même cours, a surpris par l'absence totale de clairvoyance de la part des responsables politiques. C'est presque surprenant que l'on puisse encore être surpris par une série d'actions dépourvues de sens en politique, mais là, ç'a été fait. On verra bien l'an prochain si la décision a vraiment été prise une fois pour toutes ...