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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My gorgeous friend Jennine — The Coveted blogger and Independent Fashion Bloggers founder — pulled off quite a feat yesterday with the Evolving Influence Fashion Blog Conference. Three hundred bloggers from all over the world came to attend four panel discussions and an after-party.

I moderated a panel called Navigating Blog Ethics. Because I was planning to ask a lot of questions that had to do with how bloggers’ financial opportunities affect their editorial integrity, I decided to wrap myself in dollar bills.

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Clowning around with Pamela from Market Publique at the after-party.

My panelists were Imran Amed of the Business of Fashion; Diane Pernet of A Shaded View on Fashion; Jessica Schroeder of What I Wore; Gina Garrubbo of BlogHer; Mary Scherpe of Stil in Berlin; and Clark Hoyt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning public editor of the New York Times. It was a lively discussion. I think everyone agreed that the concept of ethics for bloggers is still evolving. (Clark pointed out that the current ethical standards of newspapers have only existed for about 60 years.) The one thing we were missing was a representative from a fashion magazine on the panel. A hot issue lately is whether freebies from fashion companies, aka swag, affect what bloggers write. The typical blogger comeback is, “Magazines do it too!” That drives me crazy because they’re disparaging the credibility of the magazines AND proposing to emulate them.  I would have liked to hear what a magazine editor had to say on the topic.

The highlight of the panel came during the Q&A session. A woman who identified herself as a new blogger launched into a monologue defending swag. She wound up comparing it to the barter system and then said something like,  “The Jews barter!” The whole audience gasped and, as my atheist-Jewish jaw dropped, I thought happily, “I’m going to Tweet this shit!” Nothing makes a panel memorable like a moment of astonishing stupidity. And just for the record, I don’t barter. If you want to buy Wendy Brandes jewelry, you’ll have to pay cold, hard cash.

Also for the record, I must confess that right after moderating the ethics panel and interrogating people about whether they accepted gifts, I strolled offstage and gave my youngest blog friend a silver “G” ring from the Gaga set I made for myself. So if Tavi Gevinson says anything good about me, don’t believe her! Unless, of course, it turns into a barter situation and Tavi makes me that special red-lipped t-shirt I’ve been wanting. Is that too Jewish of me? Anyway, the rest of you shouldn’t count on getting any Wendy Brandes freebies unless you’re a close personal friend who is having a birthday, or you’re extremely little and cute and happen to have a last name that begins with “G.”

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Tavi is wearing my "G" ring. Look closely!

Here’s one more picture for the road: me in a vintage Christian Francis Roth dress, Tavi in an impressive headpiece and Jennine wearing my Cleopatra necklace. That last one was just a loaner, I assure you.

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Jennine is wearing my Lasting Lust MAC lip color.

I might do a follow-up post on ethics when I’m not so exhausted, but right now all I can think about is that I wore my slip backwards and Jennine told me to eat more bran. Good night!

UPDATED TO ADD MORE CONFERENCE COVERAGE:

  • WWD mentioned the conference in its cover article on fashion bloggers here.
  • Nice post by Sammy Davis Vintage.
  • The incredibly adorable and petite Clothes Horse got a picture of me in the dress I wore before I changed into the money dress.
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76 Responses to “Independent Fashion Bloggers: Evolving Influence”

  1. what a fun dress! it reminds me of something carrie bradshaw would wear! just fabulous!
    and all your jewelry is GORGEOUS!!!!!! i love it all!
    and how fun you got to meet tavi!
    xoxo

  2. Couture Carrie
    Twitter: couturecarrie
    says:

    Awesome dress, WB!

    xoxox,
    CC

  3. Jessica says:

    Most amazing dress ever. Seriously.

  4. Sheena says:

    I thought you did a wonderful job as moderator! I couldn’t hear that well, because I had on my crappy headphones at work, but I did see many people with their mouths open when that comment was made, so I knew it was something bad. Either way, I thought it was a great panel and the entire day’s conference was full of great information! And you looked fab in your money dress!

  5. Marian says:

    Fantastic show stopping dress Wendy! Love it and adore the G ring!
    xoxo
    marian.

  6. issa says:

    ACK. i wish i was in NYC.. or lived close enough to make it to such an event… and baby you’re so money you don’t even know it.

  7. melissa says:

    Nice meeting ya at the Conference!
    Check my blog! I posted a pic I took of you! Plus I made a short video of the Coutorious party!!

    take care
    Melissa
    xoxo

    http://melspain.blogspot.com

  8. Kelly says:

    I cannot believe that blogger stood up to spew that idiocy! Geez!

  9. Mariam says:

    I loveeeee the jewlery & the money dress & tavi of course
    :))
    my birthdays coming up if youre willing to give out freebies ;] haha
    cute blog

    http://www.littlevoguette.blogspot.com
    im new :)

  10. Ela says:

    I so wish I could’ve been there!!!
    And look at you! Worth every penny.

  11. I would have loved to have been there! And your dresses are always the most enviable!

  12. enc says:

    “Eat more bran?” I just saw that bit as I re-scanned this post.

    I can help you with that!

  13. Nancy Drew says:

    I am a new to the world of fashion blog, and find myself zipping around the web for hours at a time. While I love seeing what people are wearing, mixing and buying, I started to see a trend of what you might call “tie-ins,” that are not exactly worded is the most transparent way. I’d like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that as many of these bloggers a young, they have not held a job in a corporate situation and may not know about business ethics — but I’m so glad you brought it up. I read on one blog a comment that spoke to this issue and the blogger responded, “if you want to know where I got something, just ask.” !! If bloggers want to be taken seriously and make revenue from their blogs – then they must step up to the plate and develop an ethics standard. Bravo to you for bringing the subject to light!

  14. ThatGirl39 says:

    ha ha was just about to say how I love your money dress and my anti spam word is Too rich! (But I guess you did that on purpose right?) Anyhoo… you look V cool in it and the debate sounds like an interesting one.

  15. [...] “Getting free stuff for writing a blog post is like the barter system,” exclaims a semi-scandalous blogger at the IFB conference. What can only be described as a rant by said blogger, went downhill fast after making slightly anti-Semitic generalizations about the Jewish people (read about it here). [...]

  16. miss sophie says:

    that is the coolest dress ever!! am intrigued about all the issues that are bubbling up for bloggers as we navigate our new media realm…bravo to you for steering the conversation ahead! :)

  17. Kirafashion says:

    I so would like to be there Wendy!
    It must so great and productive! It is really important that issues like that can be discussed…

    You are the best! And Tavi looks like to be having fun with you here ;)

  18. budgetchic says:

    Love the dress wendy and what’s wrong with that little girl’s hair? I’ve heard she 13 why does she look like that? LOL

  19. That dress is beyond perfect for the occasion.
    You certainly know how to put a fun twist on everything you do!

    Hey, my last name starts with a G and I’m cute. Although I’m tall, I could squat down if it helped me get my free ring! ;)

  20. Vivian says:

    Oh I wish I had been able to go to the conference. Actually since I’m so new to blogging, I’d love to hear from the experienced!

    Love your take on the whole debate. I still have yet to face that ethical dilemma yet :)

  21. Alice says:

    Well done to everybody with the Conference!

    Oh my, I can’t believe she actually compared the freebie dilemma to a barter system! She missed the whole point!

    Love you dress, very witty!

  22. Lol… Wendy, you are so, so awesome. I just love you. xo

  23. Sister Wolf says:

    Oy, Jews! Hahahahahaha!

  24. Stef M says:

    you look priceless (couldn’t resist)

  25. TracyAnn says:

    The dollar bill dress is amazing–love it!! and you look awesome! I do get a kick out of Tavi, what an interesting gal :) ….and I’ve only just recently begun to get to know a bit about Jennine through IFB..the fashion blog world is so big and so interesting! I’m enjoying learning more and more about it! Would love to attend one of these events someday!