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Why fashion critic is thriving on black Twitter

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Social media hasn’t just changed the way we consume fashion content; it has also completely changed the way we criticize him.

While the opinions of established critics once reigned supreme, now online commentators – and their controversial takes – are increasingly changing the landscape of fashion criticism. Certainly esteemed experts – such as Tim Blanks, Vanessa Friedman, and Robin Givhan (though she has since moved on to cover the intersection of politics, race, and the arts) – are still rightly respected for their analytical talents. sharp. But some fashion enthusiasts have noticed that, season after season, the typical commentary in the form of runway reviews or show roundups just doesn’t hit as hard as it once did. For more on the unfiltered and uncensored fashion commentary they need, they turn to Black Twitter.

Those whose fashion archivist Kim daniels, stylist and founder of the Black Fashion Fair Antoine Gregory, and writer and archivist Rashida Renée district have become real strengths of the internet thanks to their flawless approach to fashion in the digital age. (Others, such as journalist and Perfect editor-in-chief of the magazine Pierre Alexandre M’Pelé – better known as @pam_boy—And fashion historian Shelby Ivey ChristieAlso notable are black fashion critics influencing the industry on the platform, but have not responded to interview requests for this story.) Their unfiltered reactions to the industry’s activities, which they post on the last show, the fashion campaign, or change of creative director, regularly go viral. Unlike, for example, any known or advertised review that has links to a legacy post, Daniels, Gregory, and Ward don’t respond to anyone. Their opinions and influences are theirs.

Antoine Gregory

Antoine Gregory, founder of Black Fashion Fair

“[Publications don’t want] to rub brands the wrong way, when we’re on social media, and we’re on Twitter, and we’re not looking for a brand to sponsor us, “Gregory, who is also a fashion designer and has become known for his knowledge and quick feedback of the industry, tell BAZAAR.com. “I think the posts need to be a little nicer 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 that we discuss things honestly and openly. “

He continues: “I feel like critics no longer criticize things. They just tell you: “What a beautiful palette of colors”. Like, okay, that’s good. It is a beautiful palette of colors. True, but the collection is bad. But they won’t say that part. ”

Fashion comments via Twitter also provide insight into the historical inspiration behind certain collections. Daniels is known for sharing vintage images featuring moments of throwback to how a trend that begins in the hands of a black celebrity or public figure often ends up on the catwalks years later. Daniels believes, however, that while Twitter is an imperfect medium for in-depth fashion commentary, its instantaneous and massive reach helps black people interested in the industry feel seen.

kim daniels kimbino

Kimberly Daniels, Fashion Archivist

“[The platform] definitely, really, definitely [feels like] a community, because there is so little room for us elsewhere. We have to seek out and support each other, “Daniels says.” There are so many amazing people who are highly qualified or who study in prestigious schools that [contribute to these conversations] that truly deserve their flowers. “

Ward, echoing a similar sentiment, says that even non-professional critics, such as fashion bloggers and novice influencers, who would regularly post comments on the catwalks from season to season, have also fallen for the lists’ prestigious spell. of public relations and gifts of luxury brands. it ultimately and drastically changes the way a person in the public eye chooses to comment on a show.

“Look, this is the industry,” Ward tells us. “You know how it goes, you are in a main fashion post [and you can’t really say that] the sewing was a little weird or boring or whatever. So people trust Sally Singers around the world because they’re just used to reading these reviews – I don’t mean clean – but almost sterilized. “

rashida renee ward

Rashida Renée Ward, writer and fashion archivist

Ward says that even some fashion bloggers “can start coming from where they’re genuinely critical until they start getting on some PR lists,” then water down their coverage. “A lot of people who are on fashion Twitter or have great online backgrounds, for example, someone like Prada diet, they are not journalists. They are not from this world. They are not writers. They just do that as a kiki. I feel like we need everyone [involved], because everyone comes from a different point of view, ”she says.

Perspective, according to Ward, is everything when it comes to how one sees a collection or a campaign. It’s about who you are, where you’re from, and how you hope to feel after seeing a creator’s latest offer. Online reviewers like Ward are able to provide some context behind trendy brands and on-trend pieces that casual fashion enthusiasts may overlook or underappreciate. “You might not like something, but the [brand’s] the consumer might, “she said.” You might think this Max Mara collection is boring, but my mom thinks it’s the coolest thing she’s seen in the past 15 years. “

While Ward has found her community of loyal fashion followers through platforms like Twitter and Tumblr, she recognizes that they are best used for sharing fashion images and quick shots, rather than reviews. “[Twitter can be] a 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 a side-by-side comparison talking about someone copying, when the thing they’re comparing is a 1940 Madame Grès crease, whatever? ”

Gregory, Ward and Daniels have seen the influence of their opinions of comments on style online prove itself in different forms. “When I saw my threads turned into articles without any of my contributions, [that’s when I noticed my impact]”Said Gregory.” I would see my opinions turn into other things for other people. That’s when I was like, ‘Okay, wait. Let me rethink what I do. ‘”

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For Ward, it was seeing celebrity stylists stalking her fashion archives and taking inspiration from her work – whether through her stylized “immaculate” Tumblr sites dedicated to models like Naomi Campbell or her tweets commemorating designer looks. extraordinary archives.

“When I knew it was out of control and these people were really just using me as a resource and not giving me anything at all, that’s when one of Kim Kardashian’s stylists went through my blog – via the Versace tag – recorded all the photos, and gave them to Kim Kardashian as a reference so she could get those looks, ”says Ward.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

“I know because she’s a friend of a friend, and she follows me.… She got called because she picked me up, she started to credit me sometimes, but these photos are from Obsolete photo blogs that haven’t been around since 2007. So instead of getting angry about it, I just made a video about it on Twitter. And she got something stupid, like three million views, ”she adds.

Our creative achievements just don’t have to be in these historically white spaces to be something that is considered art.

To create a more inclusive fashion industry, credit must be given where it is due, the influence of black culture on the fashion world as a whole must be recognized, and black critics must have the microphone and the voice. platform to show that their opinions also matter. It remains to be seen whether or not the industry will deliver on its promises from 2020 – hire more black designers and promote more black talent.

“Our work must be seen [and reflect] the beautiful, multi-faceted people that we are, “says Ward.” Our creative achievements just don’t have to be in these historically white spaces to be something that is considered art. ”

To Gregory, the passionate fashion critic just seems to be from the old days. “I don’t think a publication is ready to invest in another voice like Givhan, or even a Vanessa Friedman or a Diana Vreeland,” says Gregory. “These are people who wrote about fashion in such a beautiful way that we no longer appreciate, value, and hardly understand. Because you almost have to love it to talk about it. in a To reference, you have to do some research. I don’t think people appreciate that. ”

Gregory adds: “I would love to see real fashion reviews again, because I think it’s absolutely necessary. There is no fun in fashion when you have to play it safe.”

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