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Thursday, 17 January 2008



I, personally, think, that there is no reason for explaining why we do blog about fashion - you don't need to explain your background to justify how you live and what you write about - people love your blog - that's the most important thing.


I love your blog, but I didn't like this much (being an amateur graphic designer, :))
I'm not sure the words 'coloured'- last para or 'homage'- para 7 are quite right either. Magazines also get proofread :)

Queen Michelle

a-b, sorry to say it but those are the cold hard facts in a very competitive industry. I have seen many great designers and agencies go under due to the pressure of having to lower their costs. I'm sure if someone came along and undercut you on the thing you make a living from, might you not take exception to that? And you are correct - I meant to say umbrage not homage, but coloured is spelled fine though! As a designer who designs magazines (amongst other things) I am all too aware of the proof-reading requirements but you know what, when it comes to this blog, sometimes I just can't be arsed - it isn't a magazine afterall!
The designer comparison was merely there to point out the fact I can see why editors may be a bit peeved, and not the entire point of the post. Playing devils advocate if you will xx


SO here's a dichotomy: I AM a fashion editor, writer & broadcaster who blogs. Admittedly, there are very few of us professional fashion/beauty bods out here in the blogosphere (Roller Girl, Mrs Fashion, Rebekah Roy, Wee Birdy & Truth in Beauty in the UK for starters), and it is certainly true that the blog world is full of informed amateurs. But I see no reason why not being directly employed to write/edit makes their opinions are any less valid. It's very easy for journalists & editors to forget that they are only journalists by the grace of god and a good address book. There are plenty of talented writers/editors out there who haven't got the break for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with the standard of their writing or editing.

In the same way that Laura Craik of The Evening Standard recently commented after a recent visit to a club that she hadn't realised that people were actually wearing the body-con trend that she had been writing about, and it was a wake up call to her, blogs are actually extremely useful to see what people are wearing and what they are interested in. It's a two way street, I feel.

Sure, I have to admit that there are proportionally very few blogs I read regularly: I do require some aesthetic sense/writing ability, but those that are good are exceptionally good. This one for example! But if a blog isn't very good, it's simple: don't read it.

I also feel the need to point out that the so-called industry professionals who are flaming fashion blogs don't exactly seem to be A listers in their fields. Really, altho it pissed me off when the toxic crew spew bile everywhere, I just remember that in my real-world professional life I wldn't even bother to interview them for a job. SO there! LLG xx


Yes, coloured spelt fine - just a bit 70s/80s I thought.
I'm just playing though, I love your blog so much. I also work in a library and this subject is just doing the rounds everywhere; in education too 'the cult of the amateur'. But I think blogs are a completely valid way of documenting and sharing ideas. I have my fave blog writers [you're one] and my fav fashion journalists too like Hadley Freeman.

Queen Michelle

Liberty London Girl, I had people like you and Mrs Fashion in mind - I imagine if you ladies don't like something you'd simply move on and have the grace to say nothing. To me, you girls have it bang on - you see that we can all live together without treading on anyone's toes and without needing to resort to writing abusive comments.


I have to agree, Though as some could see bloggers as a thread I think we should look at them ( us ) like accesories, something extra that isn't needed but still makes the outfit perfect.

juliet xxx

Queen Michelle

Haha a-b, "just a bit 70s/80s I thought" that made me laugh! Well I was born in the 70's! It's a much used term here in Scotland by people of all ethical backgrounds.


I never thought what happened in my case was a pervasive fashion industry phenomenon - it turns out that another purported friend of the designer in question had been to another blog to tell a commenter off for giving a negative opinion of his work (which wasn't even remotely close to what I said). Some people are just touchy..
Part of what I love so much about blogs is the impulsive, DIY aspect to it all- it's a bit like what I imagine 90s 'zines might have been like. At the end of the day, your post is by one person (or two :)), and that is its appeal- it's easy to relate to the person behind the screen.
I do agree blogs will never replace magazines (I have a hopeless addiction to things in physical, paper form), but the fact that it's now so easy to get your voice out there might threaten some people who think theirs should be the final word, and who aren't mature enough to see that 'live and let live' really is possible.


wow great post, you really covered every aspect of these toxic comments! i never made the link that they were from fashion insiders though, which i guess separated them from the 'it's ugly, you're fat' comments. the toxic comments hit harder than them because you feel smaller than the fashion big wigs and put in your place. i think it all comes down to a misunderstanding of agendas- fashion editors and magazine staff are paid to produce what people want, get them lusting after things and produce totally factual, top notch articles, whereas bloggers have not promised anything, and we don't HAVE to live up to anything, each blog is different and has it's own aims and style, we do it for fun and mostly not for a living but as a little corner of our spare time. i think that blogs and magazines are really different and your point about us being 'real' is so true! maybe magazines should take a leaf out of us and feature more street style or diy? we can hold our hands up and say 'sorry, we just wanted to share some ideas, not steal your jobs/experiences!' we didn't set out to replace or replicate magazines, so these editors should get over it! btw i'm generally talking about the mainly non-profit blogs that are just normal people documenting the fashion part of their lives. fab post!
p.s. scotland may still use it but down here 'coloured' is very un PC and i know people who are offended by the word as it relates to times when there wasn't so much racial equality. it may just be lost in country-country terms though, like how here 'asian' people may be indian but in america are oriental


Many industries are facing challenges from online self-publishing. I'm not too impressed with the whiners. Whining isn't going to make the technology go away. Plus, there's room for both. No matter what some (pro-blogging) idiots say in poorly written letters to the Wall Street Journal, single-person opinion blogs are never going to surpass the quality of reporting in a real news organization. I think the difference between reporting and editorializing gets more and more clear as time goes on. It might be a little more intimidating to fashion journalists, who are really all about editorializing...but oh, well, what can they do about it. The time they spend bitching on someone else's blog would be better spent on trying to improve their own work/opportunities.


Brilliant post, Michelle--I am bookmarking this one for reference. Spot on with everything. I too, come from a graphic design background, though I haven't done much with it because of the sheer difficulty in finding gainful employment as a designer in my hometown. Certainly because of the easy access to Photoshop (the widespread use of it I fully support), I am tired of butting heads with clients who feel I should be paid with a mere pittance for the hours of work I put in, not to mention the years of formal training I spent time and money on. Couple that with the fact that despite Vancouver having the highest living costs anywhere in Canada, along with having far lower than average salaries in most industries, client demands driving down standard fees, and you've got employers asking for top notch qualifications and credentials while still paying you less than working at Starbucks.

Grrr! Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. I'm just pissed that it takes working 2, 3 jobs to afford living here and it seems like no one appreciates creative work.

PS--selina at 16:09--and here in North America the term "oriental" is also very un-PC.

lady coveted

i knew you were a graphic designer..

what is it about graphic designer who fashion blog?

anyway... i appreciate you bringing this up, because i often felt that the fashion world is facing the same issues as it the graphic design field did 10 years ago.

and still, there are so many employed graphic designers making a decent living. and more so.

the thing is, ACCESS to tools doesn't make good design/writing etc... there is still that element that something good, bad, whatever no matter what medium you use.

things are just changing, and besides, i NEVER hear ANYONE ever reminiscing over the good old days when you had to do your proofs in film... i don't know what that process is, i started just after that became obsolete.

lady coveted

oh, i hope you don't mind me posting this on IFB.

Queen Michelle

I remember proofs in film!!!


One thing I love about blogs is that the writers can be more open about their personal taste and more critical towards trends or designers, because they are not dependent on advertising income. It must be frustrating for magazines that they always have to please the big brands.

But to me, magazines often seem insincere now. I can't even remember the last time I bought Vogue or Elle... So yes, I think blogs can be a threat to magazines, but not if the magazines remain honest, adventurous and daring!


You've opened up a valuable discussion with this post, because the issue is universal. Most recently, the admission that news agencies consult TMZ; last year a discussion in the San Francisco Chronicle about whether a local political blogger was a legitimate journalist.

Recently an author friend of mine--someone who has written six unpublished novels and has one vanity-press publication--said she was affronted by blogs. Why? I asked. Because then everyone is a writer, she replied. It devalues those of us with grad degrees who have spent years perfecting our craft.

She actually said "craft."

I disagreed. People blog for a variety of reasons; I know I do it to be part of a community I enjoy. There are as many reasons for blogging as there are bloggers.

Your point about the free advertising demonstrates how aware PR agencies are of the power and speed of the blogosphere. There is now a way to promulgate and reinforce a critical message without expense--blogs might be seen as an army of flag-waving soldiers who can be counted on to march to the front lines.

Yet, is the medium more important than the actual content? In this case it seems likely. I notice no correlation between skill and reward (I am speaking of bloggers who receive incentives from manufacturers--goods, services, and trips). And I find this pleasing. It gives a voice to the Everyman blogger who happens to like shoes or nail polish or hair bows. Chances are she isn't a skilled writer, but skill is subsumed to message--and we all know language has devolved, thanks in large part to Internet dissemination of idiomatic speech. What this blogger has is networking skill with other Everyman bloggers, and this is what the PR agencies rightly view as an advertising goldmine.

WendyB (as usual) makes the salient point that there is no substitute for legitimate journalism. In this instance, journalism and advertising are inseparable.

It reminds me of people in Hollywood who have spent years scratching at closed doors, taking classes, spinning wheels. And then some young blonde comes out of nowhere and nails a sitcom at first try. How dare she?


This is a really great post. I've never commented before, but I love your blog!

I feel your pain regarding the amateur designers out there. Though I'm an interior designer I have similar issues. It's incredibly irritating to spend years in design school studying theory, history, building codes, construction, computer programs, etc. and then have the client's girlfriend get "ideas" from some crap home makeover show done on the cheap. I don't mean to sound like a design snob, but as trained professionals we have higher standards and it's sometimes best to leave it the experts.

That being said, I can't see why fashion industry people feel threatened. I like the very personal ramblings of blogs, but they definitely don't take the place of a pretty, high budget glossy.

enc (formerly iopine)

When I started in graphic design, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth ('89), the Mac had just been introduced as a Desktop Publishing Tool. Soon afterward, every Tool in town got one and began churning out newsletters with PageMaker. It was pretty difficult to be taken seriously by these users (why should I pay $300 for this designer to do the newsletter when I can do it free?)

I worked as a production manager and art director in the magazine-publishing industry for 15 years, and I loved every minute of it. However, after all the deadlines and client changes and egos and whatnot, I was glad to take a break.

During the time I worked in the industry, I learned some very important things:

As a designer, I view my work/design as art, something into which I've invested my heart, soul, aesthetic, and education.

The client does not view my work/design as art. S/he sees it as a simple service. The client simply wants the logo/campaign/brochure I've created to move more of his/her widgets out the door, and how can the logo/campaign/brochure be procured for as low a cost as possible?

When we, as designers equate our work to art, we run into difficulty. We don't always remember our work is merely viewed as a service, (I forgot this many times).

Clients don't want to pay for art/design as a commodity.

It's sad. But true.


Great post Michelle. Your right, blogs aren't glossies they serve a different, but I think, valuable purpose in the fashion industry. Good analagy too, my partner is a graphic designer.

And as for the people nit-picking over minor details and specific words, just keep ignoring them. You two are doing a brilliant job, one of the best fashion blogs out there. Perhaps they should find something better to do if they don't enjoy the blog.

Queen Michelle

Oh so many great points, and SO well put everyone! That really excites me! Truly, it does!
Gosh I no idea there were as many fellow designers out there. Enc, Pagemaker was the bane of my life. Even to this day clients still ask me if I can accept Pagemaker files. I say NOOOOOOOOO!


A fascinating issue that needed to be brought up and has been examined in this most excellent of blogs. I salute you Queen Michelle for putting it so well in the first place. The contributions have been stellar. As a scot living in Scotland I have to disagree that "coloured" is often used here. However, that shouldn't detract from the core points of the post. I agree that blogs differ greatly from magazines and I appreciate both. They fulfill different needs/interests for me.

Keep up the good work Kingdom of Style!
This blog just grows in quality and depth.


This was excellent, and so well written. I felt alot of what you said considering I am a Graphic Designer and I have to CONSTANTLY deal with the barrage of comments like "If I had this program I could do it so easily". "Oh, so it's so easy to do"? Right now I am dealing with someone who marks up my designs in reds, and tells me where I need to "bold things" and "make things better". Like I don't have a degree in Art for..nothing! grrr.

Love love love your blog! it's my top one in my google reader!

Queen Michelle

Tiffany I have a secret to tell you - I have a client who ALWAYS wants the price on his poster bigger, but rather than making the price bigger, I just make everything around it smaller so it just looks bigger! He has never noticed to this day! ;D


HERE, HERE! Same goes in theatre; costume design suffers as well! I'll save the super rant but anyone thinks they can do it. Very little respect given to the fact that it involves five years af training before you even start in the business! Sparkling prince of my life, who oozes ultimate wisdom, also pointed out that some, but not all, have got their little job because mummy or daddy know diddly pop who can get darling daughter a job in the magazine.
Same in film, a lot of designers don't get to where they are on talent but either Money (need to fund oneself in the early stages) or so and so who is a friend gets them jobs. There is a one film designer who was a model then became saggy and didn't know what to do, so someone said she should be a costume designer. No training! On the other hand, Charles Knode (lovelyest, humblest and very knowledgable man)believed that to be a great designer, you need to know how to make and cut costume and have a full knowledge of fashion from the dawn of time to future! As in all things, there are some who deserve the accolades and there are some who cycle on air!

Respect is needed in our own art disciplines, but HOORAY to sharing and enthusiasm of all! We also need the bloggers to share art with more people and they play an important role in the system.


I liked your article, and I can see where you're coming from when you compare bloggers with magazines.

I just have two points of contention: the first being that "bloggers get most of their content from magazines". I can honestly say that I get NONE of my content from magazines, and most good blogs don't get their content from other places either either. I don't even get ideas from fashion magazines, and the only one I read on a regular basis is Vogue. To say that our content isn't as original is a little unfair considering the hard work that I know myself and many other bloggers put into their sites.

The second point is that one has to realize the links between advertising and editorial content in magazine. It's proven that the amount of advertising dollars a conglomerate puts in directly influences how much they will be written about. That certainly does not exist on blogs yet mostly because enough advertising revenue hasn't moved to the internet, and even if it did, I am sure there would be many (good) bloggers who would refuse to be sold out.

Seth Godin's blog is a good example of cream rising to the top in the world of blogs. There is no advertising or motives behind his blogging, and his posts are simply good posts. And you cannot find that key combination anywhere in print media and that is why it feels threatened. And perhaps it should.

But, yes, belittling bloggers and calling them names isn't going to help or change anything.

Also - I found you via IFB and you won a new reader today (me!). :)

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