It’s relatively easy for public relations reps and show organizers to know who should be in the front rows at the Bryant Park tents this week — that is, until they get to that amorphous otherworld known as blogs, most of which use awkward puns incorporating the word “fashion.”
The bad news for the ones doing the show invitations is that, this season, New York Fashion Week organizer IMG has issued credentials to more bloggers than ever, although new media still account for only 10 percent of the overall media list.
Of course, that list doesn’t only include stay-at-home moms and former fashion assistants. Many traditional media companies are growing their own digital presences, either by employing a Web-only staff, inviting a well-known blogger to cover the shows on their sites, or getting a notable to blog for them. Fabiola Beracasa will contribute to Elle’s and New York magazine’s media coverage, and both Web sites will have models blogging — Selita Ebanks at New York, and Maggie Rizer at Elle.
But not all doors are open. “Marc, Ralph, Calvin — anyone who can be referred to by his first name is off limits to bloggers,” said Julie Fredrickson, founder of the network of blogs called Coutorture. (Although some bloggers claim they have had the joy of waiting two hours for the Marc Jacobs show to start, and then seeing its results.) Fredrickson, herself a former Glamour intern, will be bringing a crew to provide photo and video content for the Coutorture network. Small designers who might be overlooked by bigger outlets, she argued, can particularly benefit from blog coverage.
So, for those who find them alien territory, here is a who’s who of independent bloggers covering New York Fashion Week, both well-known and up-and-coming. Web site traffic figures were self-reported.
THE SITE: “To me, The Sartorialist is about well-executed style, whatever that style may be,” said founder Scott Schuman. The Sartorialist is a fashion-industry veteran who shoots a wide range of ages, sizes, races and income levels.
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WHO’S BEHIND IT: Schuman is a contributing editor at GQ and also just shot Lucky’s new ad campaign. His site soon will have ads for the first time, thanks to the sales efforts of CondéNet.
READERSHIP: An average of 40,000 visits a day and about 80,000 page views a day.
ON FASHION WEEK: Schuman has covered New York, Milan and Paris for about a year and is looking forward to the Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Marni and Ralph Lauren shows. “I also really look forward to just getting lost in Milan and Paris between shows.”
THE SITE: A “daily dose of snarky celebrity fashion policing,” or “the online version of sitting down with your girlfriends and watching awards-show red carpets.” This is the third season the Fug Girls will blog fashion week for New York magazine’s Web site.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Los Angeles-based Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks, both of whom have professional writing and reality TV producing backgrounds. A year ago, both began to blog full-time.
READERSHIP: About 3 million unique users a month, less in the summer and more during awards-show season.
ON FASHION WEEK: “There’s a lot of us saying to each other over and over that we can’t figure out how this all happened to us, but we’re so grateful that it did,” said Cocks. They’re looking forward to seeing both the spectacle-laden shows such as Baby Phat and Marc Jacobs, as well as discovering less-familiar designers.
THE SITE: The eight-month-old site is described by its head bloggers as “a site that’s obsessed with style, [but] we also understand you have a life outside of your wardrobe. When you get information from us, it’s like getting a text message from a friend — it’s fast, it’s funny, it’s a little bit rushed and imperfect, but it gets you and makes you feel like you belong.”
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Twenty-six year-old Faran Krentcil, a former fashion reporter, plus two freelance editors and four interns work out of owner Dead Horse Media’s downtown New York City office.
THE READERSHIP: By fashion week, about 200,000 individual readers a month are expected. Krentcil says readers skew young, averaging at about age 26.
ON FASHION WEEK: This is Krentcil’s sixth fashion week, and she’ll also be blogging for Teen Vogue.
THE SITE: “I’d describe it as an antidote to all the precious, materialistic ‘women’s’ Web sites out there — most of which are about shopping and fashion — and the misogynist celebrity gossip sites that are constantly taking famous women to task for looking less than perfect,” said managing editor Anna Holmes.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Gawker Media launched the blog in May. Holmes has worked at Glamour, Star, In Style, Entertainment Weekly and HBO. Her co-bloggers have worked at The Wall Street Journal and Elle, among other places.
THE READERSHIP: An average of 250,000 page views a day.
ON FASHION WEEK: Jezebel is dispatching a team for its first fashion week to cover the shows from three perspectives. Holmes previously covered the shows for Entertainment Weekly.
THE SITE: Describing itself as the first fashion site on the Internet (founded in 1994), LookOnline has a daily fashion blog plus video interviews, market reports, profiles, book reviews, gallery reviews, editorial cartoons and more.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: A team that includes former Harper’s Bazaar market editor Marilyn Kirschner and former New York Times fashion writer Bernadine Morris. The blog has been up since 2002.
READERSHIP: About 4,600 readers a day (in January) to free access areas, 800 paid subscribers, plus e-mail newsletter subscribers. The intended audience is fashion-industry professionals as well as consumers.
ON FASHION WEEK: “Twelve years ago when we were covering the fashion shows, I’d mention the Internet and people thought it was something they’d wear on their head,” says LookOnline publisher Ernest Schmatolla.
THE SITE: “Unabashed and honest reviews of the ultimate accessory, the handbag.” It’s been active for two years.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Best friends Tina Craig and Kelly Cook, both stay-at-home moms with fashion-industry experience. The two have appeared as fashion commentators on the E Style Network.
READERSHIP: Per Craig, there are 200,000 unique visitors on its network of sites (which include snob spin-offs in other categories) and half a million page views a month.
ON FASHION WEEK: This is the Bag Snobs’ third fashion week, and Craig is most excited about Tuleh — particularly because of the addition of “Jada Loveless’ line of exotic skin bags to the runway show.”
THE BUDGET FASHIONISTA
THE SITE: Budget Fashionista “teaches women how to be fabulous for less.” It’s been up since 2003.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: New York City-based Kathryn Finney, who describes herself as “an Ivy League-educated epidemiologist who had a love of fashion and lack of cash.” Her book, “How to Be a Budget Fashionista,” was published last year by Random House, and she’s a television regular.
THE READERSHIP: More than 300,000 unique visitors a month. “There’s a lot of cheap people out there,” says Finney.
ON FASHION WEEK: Finney counts herself as one of the first bloggers to attend fashion week, in February 2004. She’s looking forward to seeing Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang (“I want to compare the pieces on the runway to her pieces at Kohl’s”) and Heatherette.
THE SITE: The Fashion Bomb focuses on women of color, so readers have more of an interest in Rihanna or Kelly Rowland than they do in Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: A reporter-researcher at a Time Inc. title, who also has interned at New York and Newsweek.
READERSHIP: Approximately 2,500 page loads a day. About 60,000 loads per month.
ON FASHION WEEK: “This is my first fashion week where I have invites, seats, etc….Can’t wait for Baby Phat. I also love Tracy Reese. I’m also really excited for Nanette Lepore, Peter Som and BCBG.”
THE SITE: A handbag blog featuring a mix of luxury handbag designers and emerging ones, with a little bit of fashion thrown in.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Ehmonie Hainey, a 32-year-old “serial entrepreneur” with a serious handbag addiction.
READERSHIP: An average of 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a month.
ON FASHION WEEK: During Hainey’s second fashion week, she is looking forward to seeing Nanette Lepore, Michael Kors, Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson and Abaeté. “And, of course, celebrity eye candy!”
THE SITE: “Fashionologie is just the product of me needing a creative outlet and a way to connect with people to bounce my ideas off of,” said Tommye Fitzpatrick.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Fitzpatrick is an associate editor at another fashion blog, FabSugar.com. For Fashion Week, she also is guest blogging for Elle.com.
READERSHIP: Fashionologie receives about 4,000 hits a day.
ON FASHION WEEK: “This is my third fashion week, but my first time to attend for the entire week,” said Fitzpatrick. “I like to keep it a healthy mix of the big names, up-and-comers and the new blood (Avion Feminin, Poltock & Walsh, etc.) — that way I get all my bases covered, and get a good, well-rounded idea of what is generally going on for the season.”
THE SITE: Both an online magazine and a shopping portal, “devoted to all things bags — seasonal trends, bag-a-licious finds, celebrity style, street trends and more. We specialize in up-and-coming brands and the contemporary market.” Founder Pamela Pekerman also has a personal bag blog, updated daily.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: Freelancer and former In Style and Cosmopolitan intern Pamela Pekerman, based in Brooklyn, founded the site two-and-a-half years ago. There are four full-time employees and about 10 freelancers and designers.
THE READERSHIP: “We get about 1,500 visitors a day each visiting an average of six to 10 stories/pages.”
ON FASHION WEEK: This is Pekerman’s fifth. “I always look forward to Tracy Reese’s show. I also — surprise — like to see what bags other editors are wearing.”
THE SITE: Focusing on fashion for plus-size women, the site “takes the trends shown on runways and shows how to wear them and incorporate them into their daily lives.” It was launched in August 2006.
WHO’S BEHIND IT: New York-based Janelle Okwodu, a master’s student at New York University, describes herself as “a lifelong fashion devotee” with an arts background. There are a total of four writers for the site.
READERSHIP: “As of right now, we have over 10,000 readers,” said Okwodu.
ON FASHION WEEK: This is Okwodu’s second season, and she’s interested in seeing Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler.