WWD reports the 2010 CFDA Fashion Award winners could be shaped by newly influential fashion bloggers. Both WWD and The Cut spotlights bloggers like Tavi, Bryanboy and Fashion Toast as possible voters. Members of the esteemed voting committee typically consists of the 300+ members of the CFDA in addition to a selection of more than 500 top fashion retailers, journalists and stylists. Now that mainstream fashion has begun to recognize select fashion bloggers as new media power players, will Black fashion bloggers receive seats at the table?
“We put in the same amount of work if not better.”
WWD reveals Bryan Boy and Tavi have been tapped to participate. The Cut however sought a response from Bryanboy stating he has yet to received a ballot. While these fashion bloggers enjoy a new insider status, we hope that critically acclaimed fashion blogs run by Black women and men like The Fashion Bomb and The Street Etiquette are not obscured. Speaking on the CFDA’s new open door policy to bloggers, Joshua Kissi of Street Etiquette shares they haven’t received an invite. “We know that we’re getting overlooked but we pretty much ignore it.” The Street Etiquette recently produced a widely popular online editorial project, “Sewn from the Soul” an iconographical fashion tribute to influential Black men. Refinery29 featured the editorial stating, “We can’t think of a better way to commemorate Black History Month.” Kissi continues, “We put in the same amount of work if not better and we’re just now starting to be recognized.” Claire Sulmers of The Fashion Bomb says, “There is something about an all Black blog that makes the majority uneasy.” The Fashion Bomb, easily a Black Fashion 101, has covered Black women in fashion since 2006. “I majored in African American studies, I love covering Black women in fashion because that’s who I am.”
Sulmers shares she also received no indication from the CFDA. “To be honest, I do feel a little excluded. We bring something unique and different to the overall discourse. We are just as curious about blogging, like Tavi and Bryanboy. In terms of numbers, we’re in the same class.” Clutch examined quantitative data from several web analytics companies. Statistical figures from sites like, Compete.com shows that The Fashion Bomb widely outranks Fashion Toast, Bryanboy and Tavi of the Style Rookie. For example, as of January 2010, The Fashion Bomb generated 47,879 unique monthly visitors to the Fashion Toast’s 20,278. Data for Street Etiquette and Tavi of the Style Rookie reveals comparable numbers up until September of 2009 where Tavi achieved a substantial peak showing 85,834 unique visits. Tavi’s peak in monthly visitors could possibly be due to the regular national coverage she receives in the fashion media. News sources like The Cut, The New York Daily News and Huffington Post marveled at the tween blogging sensation for skipping school in September for New York Fashion Week.
“I didn’t start blogging to be a celebrity.”
While fashion blogging, a medium that started around 2005 now achieves global fame, Sulmers shares she’s in it for the long haul. “I didn’t start blogging to be a celebrity.” Sulmers, a journalist by trade states, “I’m looking to be an Andre Leon Tally whose career spans for decades.” But it’s not only the CFDA. In January, Signature 9 released the “99 Most Influential Style Blogs” ranking The Budget Fashionista at 16 and AfroBella at 73. In a separate list “19 Blogs to Watch,” there was mention of the Street Etiquette and blogger, Jazzi McGilbert.
In conversations with both Kissi and Sulmers, the shared theme was motivation. Kissi explains, “This makes me want to work harder. This is my motivation.” Commenting on the autonomy of new media, Sulmers says, “The great thing about blogging is that we can create movements of our own that don’t have to be validated by anyone else.” As new media expands and changes our ways of communicating forever, a host of larger questions around representation in new media arises. According to McGilbert of Jazzi McG, “As style bloggers, we’re definitely not getting the same campaigns and modeling gigs. But that’s a problem that extends beyond blogging and into advertising and print media. It’s not necessarily what we’re in this for, but the recognition would be nice. It has come up when I talk to my fellow black blogger friends.”
The CFDA Fashion Awards, easily the Grammys of fashion annually celebrates the excellent contributions to American fashion by persons from all areas of the industry. Past winners like Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang have gone on to become multi-million dollar forces in the world of fashion largely due to this distinction.
Clutch contacted the CFDA for a comment. We have yet to receive a response. A CFDA spokesman did communicate with the The Cut stating the organization decided to include “Internet People” because many were submitting requests to be apart of the voting process. Is it really that easy?
The CFDA Fashion Awards are scheduled for June 7.
UPDATE: Steven Kolb, executive director of the CFDA released a statement to WWD. Read the statement here.
Should Black fashion bloggers be included in the CFDA voting process? Are they generally being ignored? You decide!