Tavi Gevinson's Pink Bow: Dignity in the Age of New Media

The paper is dedicated to the confrontation of glossy magazines' editors and fashion bloggers that has been taking various forms for the past several years. One of the first episodes is connected to 13-year-old Tavi Gevinson, popular fashion blogger, whose giant pink bow was disrupting the guests’ view at Dior fashion show. The latest resonant conflict unfolded in the autumn of 2016, when a group of Vogue editors publicly accused famous bloggers of wearing the clothes paid for by fashion brands as a product placement and of being constantly occupied with self-promotion. The expressed insults (“murder of style”, “pathetic posers”) seriously hurt bloggers’ dignity. Responding to the critique, famous bloggers Susie Bubble (Susie Lau) and Bryanboy pointed out that the old-school Vogue editors protect their “ivory tower” whereas it is actually fashion blogging that was promoting principles of democratization and diversity.

This discussion revealed not only a different understanding of “dignity” but also a contradiction between print magazines and new media. Parties were representing different generations of the fashion world, and, which is the most important, fundamentally different fashion systems. Traditional system offered the dictate of glossy magazines and 6-months-ahead seasonal shows whereas the new system is targeted at the instant air of fashion shows thanks to video reports and Instagram (and other social networks) live streams. In fashion industry this system is connected to “quick fashion.”

New fashion system that emerged thanks to the digital revolution in terms of marketing mostly relies on popular bloggers using their unprecedented influence due to an immense number of their subscribers. Fashion bloggers’ dignity in this matter is measured by their number of likes and subscriptions. If a blogger (“an influencer”) has over 1.5 mln subscribers, his influence is valued quite highly: the cost of one publication with a specific brand mention costs 5-digit amounts. Direct personal communication of a popular blogger with his (or her) subscribers allows him (or her) to play an intermediary role between the brand and its consumers.

This paper analyses the dynamics of fashion bloggers’ professional status. Enthusiasts used to start fashion blogs in order to get noticed and, as a result, secure themselves a place in the fashion industry. Today, fashion blogging is a full-on profession that provides both reputation and significant income. These changes are very apparent from the new first-row seating principles at fashion shows. Traditionally, the places of honour in the first row were reserved for glossy magazine editors but nowadays these places are often occupied by famous bloggers. It can be said that the “pink bow” problem is still relevant and demonstrates serious changes in the system of fashion.