When you look at the big names in any industry, your expectations should be high. You’d expect any name that carries weight to live up to the hype and for their entire operation to ran at an elite level. Unfortunately, some of the big names in fashion journalism seemed to have backpedaled to a point that they’re not just failing to be elite, they’re also missing the fundamentals.
Paid reviews, personal disputes and lack of imagination have turned some of the biggest names in fashion journalism into jokes. The magazines I once worshiped have begun to lose my respect to independent bloggers who are more concerned with accurate and well thought out content than the petty matters plaguing magazines.
It’s disheartening both as a reader and as a journalist to not be able to trust the “go-to” sources in the industry. Most recently, the blurred lines about sponsored content have been a concern. In the Fundamentals of Journalism class I took as a college freshman we learned that accepting monetary, or any other kind of gifts, from the subject of your story/review is unethical. So, did the journalists working for major fashion publications skip that day of “fundamentals” or have they simply abandoned the integrity of their craft?
That same lack of integrity has led to the fashion world mirroring the cafeteria in “Mean Girls” with a “you can’t sit with us” attitude. Stepping on the wrong toes can result in total exclusion. Oddly enough, that brings up another Fundamentals of Journalism lesson– bias. It goes without saying that bias is something every journalist is told to avoid, and completely ignoring those you don’t care for is arguably the worst kind of bias.
However, what’s most painful is the boring and out-of-touch approach to covering the industry. Editorials are beginning to blur together and the critiques are becoming increasingly safe. Once again, this lazy approach to journalism shows a lack of interest in the fundamentals. A journalist is supposed to inform as well as entertain, and the content is supposed to be relevant.
Sadly, the giants of fashion journalism have shown us that they’ve either forgotten or felt they’ve become above the fundamentals. It’s hard to defend my favorite magazines when I’ve literally been trained to see where they’re going wrong. At this point, my only hope is that they stop trying to imitate young writers, and start hiring us. If not, we may witness the fall of multiple giants in the near future.
Be the zeitgeist.