The Talks has an interesting interview with Scott Schuman, creator of the immensely popular street fashion blog The Sartorialist. The interview covers the business of fashion blogs, and how a street fashion blog like The Sartorialist can succeed amid entrenched fashion magazines. Schuman makes a case for focus and integrity, and controlling the entire site experience using his own photography.
Fashion brands are fragile; fashion brands must be agile
Alas, fashion brands are fragile. Therefore, fashion brands must be agile. A fascinating part of the interview concerns Tavi Gevinson, a teenage fashion blogger (Style Rookie) whose meteoric rise and huge following gets her invited to Fashion Week “with the fashion world at her feet.” Can a teen like her steal the fashion blogging mantle from Schuman? Schuman thinks not. He sees her as just a kid “who can talk about art and stuff only in an abstract way.” In fact, he sees detects a bit of print magazine “conspiracy” behind her amazing success, as if to push serious fashion blogs to the sidelines.
Be sure to read the 60+ comments to the interview. Some readers think Scott’s remarks are right on; others are highly critical. There is a bit of brand flak, too.
Fashion is the difference of different
I can see why Scott Schuman might be a bit peeved at the sudden fashion media success of teen Tavi G. He has put in years of work to build the leading brand of fashion blogs. As that brand he is the show. Fashion blog = The Sartorialist. For a brand in Scott’s position, anyone who threatens to steal the show threatens you, even if they’re a teenybopper in a different part of the market. The problem is that the “show” is also about culture and context, and it’s often dynamic and changing. Fashion is the difference of different. It’s bringing a different context more than just bringing a different “look.” Cultural innovation pulls the thread. (Go watch Coco Before Chanel to see what I mean.) Truth is, in many respects—and at this point—Tavi can be a bigger difference than The Sartorialist because she’s a better story. She’s a human story in contrast to the largely aesthetic story of a cool street fashion shoot. If The Sartorialist were a brand of street culture—and not just street fashion—our brand story here may well be quite different.