Why Fashion Criticism Thrives on Black Twitter | Instant News


Social media has not only changed the way we consume fashion content; it also completely changed the way we criticized him.

While established opinion critics once reigned supreme, now, online commentators – and their controversial opinions – are increasingly shifting the landscape of fashion criticism. Of course, esteemed scholars – such as Tim Blanks, Vanessa Friedman, and Robin Givhan (although he has turned to the intersections of politics, race, and art) – still deserve respect for their keen analytical talents. But some fashion aficionados have noticed that from season to season, typical comments in the form of runway reviews or show summaries are not as harsh as they used to be as a whole. To find more of the unfiltered and uncensored fashion commentary they craved, they turned to Twitter Black.

They include fashion archivists Kim Daniels, stylist and Black Fashion Exhibition founding father Antoine Gregory, and author and archivist Rashida Renée’s neighborhood have become a bona fide power of the Internet thanks to their approach that is not limited to fashions in the digital age. (Others, such as journalists and Perfect magazine editor Pierre Alexandre M’Pelé – better known as @pamboy—And the fashion historian Shelby Ivey Christie, also noteworthy black fashion critics influence the industry on the platform, but do not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story.) Their unfiltered reactions to industry developments, whether they post about the latest fashion shows, fashion campaigns, or the change of creative directors, on a regular basis went viral. Unlike, say, well-known or heralded critics with ties to legacy publications, the likes of Daniels, Gregory, and Ward answered nobody. Their opinions and influence are their own.

Antoine Gregory, founder of the Black Fashion Fair

“[Publications don’t want] to scrub the brand the wrong way, while we are on social media, and we are on Twitter, and we are not looking for a brand to sponsor us, “Gregory, who is also a stylist and known for his savvy industry knowledge and commentary, telling you BAZAAR.com. “I think the publications need to be a little friendlier in what they say [when reviewing fashion]whereas if I don’t like something, I’ll say it, and I’ll tell you why I don’t like it and why it’s important for us to discuss things honestly and openly. “

He continued, “I feel like a critic doesn’t criticize many things anymore. They just tell you, ‘What a beautiful color palette.’ Like, okay, that’s fine. It’s a great color palette. It’s true, but the collection is bad. But they won’t say that part. ”

Fashion comments via Twitter also provide deeper insights into the historical inspiration behind certain collections. Daniels is known for sharing vintage imagery that features throwback moments of how trends that started in the hands of celebrities or black public figures often end up on the runway years later. Daniels believes, however, that while Twitter is an imperfect medium for in-depth fashion commentary, its instant and massive reach helps blacks with an industry interest feel seen.

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Kimberly Daniels, archivist of fashion

“[The platform] Definitely [feels like] community, because there is little room for us elsewhere. We have to find each other and support each other, “said Daniels.” There are so many exceptional people who are highly qualified or study in prestigious schools [contribute to these conversations] who really deserves the flowers. “

Ward, echoing similar sentiments, says that even non-professional critics, such as fashion bloggers and budding influencers, who will publish regular runway commentary from season to season, are also falling into the allure of the prestigious list of luxury brand PR and gift-giving – a practice that ultimately and regularly drastically changing the way someone in the public eye chooses to comment on an event.

“Look, this is the industry,” Ward told us. “You know how it goes, you’re in the major fashion publications [and you can’t really say that] the couture was kind of whack or boring or whatever. So, people trust the Sally Singers of the world, because they’re just used to reading this – I don’t want to say clean show reviews – but almost sterilized. “

Renee Rashida Ward

Rashida Renée Ward, fashion writer and archivist

Ward says that even some fashion bloggers “may start coming from a really critical place until they start getting a specific PR list,” and then dilute their coverage. “A lot of people who use Twitter fashion or who have a large online background, for example, love it Prada Diet, they are not journalists. They don’t come from that world. They are not writers. They just do this as kiki. I feel like we really need everyone [involved], because everyone comes from a different perspective, “he said.

Perspective, according to Ward, is everything when it comes to how one views a collection or campaign. It’s about who you are, where you come from, and how you want to feel after seeing the latest offering from a designer. Online critics like Ward can provide context behind interesting brands and trending items that connoisseurs of casual fashion may ignore or appreciate. “You may not like something, but [brand’s] consumers perhaps, “he said.” You might think the Max Mara collection is boring, but according to my mom this is the most genius thing she’s seen in the last 15 years. “

Although Ward found a loyal fashion following community through platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr, he realized that they were better used for sharing fashion imagery and quick shooting, than criticism. “[Twitter can be] double edged sword, because you can have a lot of misinformation. [There are] people who don’t understand the cultural context, people who don’t really understand what these artists and designers are referring to. How many times have you seen people post side-by-side comparisons talking about someone copying, when what they’re comparing is a few Madame Grès folds from 1940-whatever? ”

Gregory, Ward, and Daniels have seen the influence of their online style commentary opinion prove itself in many forms. “When I saw my thread turned into an article without my input, [that’s when I noticed my impact], “said Gregory.” I will see my opinion shaping up into other things for other people. That’s when I was like, ‘OK, wait. Let me rethink what I did. ‘”

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For Ward, celebrity stylists scrutinize her fashion archives and draw inspiration from her work – either through the “neat”-style Tumblr site dedicated to fashion models like Naomi Campbell or her tweets commemorating archival standout appearances.

“When I found out that this was out of control and these people were really just using me as a resource and giving me absolutely nothing was when one of the Kim Kardashian stylists opened my blog – via the Versace tag – saving all the photos, and gave it to Kim Kardashian as a reference for getting that look, “Ward explained.

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“I know because he is a friend of a friend, and he follows me.… He gets called for taking from me, he starts crediting me sometimes, but the photos are from a defunct photo blog that hasn’t been around since years. 2007. So instead of getting mad about it, I just made a video about it on Twitter. And it got something stupid, like, three million views, “he added.

Our creative accomplishments don’t have to be in this historical white space to be something to be considered art.

To create a more inclusive fashion industry, credit needs to be given where it belongs, the influence of black culture on fashion in general must be acknowledged, and black critics need to be provided with a microphone and a platform to show that their opinion too. problem. Whether the industry will keep its promises from 2020 – to hire more Black content creators and promote more Black talent – remains to be seen.

“Our work has to be seen [and reflect] we are multifaceted beauties, “Ward said.” Our creative accomplishments don’t have to be in this historical white space to become something that is considered art. ”

To Gregory, the passionate fashion criticism seemed like a long time ago. “I don’t think a publication wants to invest in another voice like Givhan, or even Vanessa Friedman, or Diana Vreeland,” said Gregory. “These are people who write about fashion in a way that is so beautiful that we don’t appreciate it anymore, which we don’t value, and we barely understand. Because you have to almost love it to talk about it in the way they do. For reference, you have to. researching. I don’t think people appreciate that. ”

Gregory added, “I’d love to see real fashion criticism again, because I think it’s absolutely necessary. There’s no fun in fashion when you have to play it safe.”

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