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.
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.”
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.
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.