In Which We Wish A Happy 100th Birthday To WWD
When American citizens turn 100 years old, they get a letter from the sitting president celebrating their longevity. Because fashion publications don’t enjoy the same kind of tradition, we figured we’d pick up the slack and to wish WWD a very happy century of existence. Here goes.
First and foremost, Happy Birthday! It’s been a long time coming — 100 years long, to be exact — but you’ve made it to the Centenarian’s club. Maybe it’s because today we’ve seen start-up publications come and go like really awful fads, and maybe it’s because of the serious nature with which we’ve seen you cover a rather important segment of the global economy, but we never fail to be seriously impressed with what you and your editors do every single day.
But your reach stretches so far outside of the purview of most other trade publications. Part of that is because there are more people obsessed with fashion than with, say, the business of selling wood paneling or the dairy industry. And a lot of it has to do with how you’ve covered fashion over the last century. You’ve fought with everyone from Geoffrey Beene to Cristobal Balenciaga, and you’re not afraid to say when a designer has messed up. Likewise, you’ve been obsessed with a celebrity or two in your time (Can we talk about the thing you had for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis?). You’re serious when you need to be, which is most of the time, but you’re also fun and honest and lighthearted when it applies. In that way, you’re like us! But an us that could change the fashion industry with a single sentence.
But you didn’t just change fashion — you changed journalism. You were the first media outlet to turn a tradesman into a celebrity, and everyone from Paul Poiret to Nicholas Ghesquiere owes some part of his or her fame to you. You’ve also scooped some traditional newspapers on serious stories. You were one of the first newspapers to cover the tragic sinking of the Titanic when you were only two, and the way you covered the loss of life — as well as the millions of dollars of clothes lost and fashion figures who perished — proved that you were a great source of journalism.
From then to now, you’ve been the first word in fashion, covering every runway, product launch, wardrobe malfunction and botched merger in the industry. And now that scrappy young publications like us are nipping at your heels (sorry about that, by the way), you’re running a lot faster than you used to. We don’t know whether we’ll ever catch up, or grow to be as formidable and as influential as you are, but hey, we can always hope. In another hundred years, when you’re 200 and we’re half your age, we’ll be sure to let you know.
All the best,