Style X (pronounced Style by), the up-and-coming fashion showcase held during Austin’s once music-only South by Southwest fest, hit the ground running in its second year, touting a full line-up of panel discussions featuring emerging power players eager to share their takes on the evolving business of fashion.
After hearing from what seemed like a random mix of speakers on the day’s first panel -– companies ranging from Lyst.com to Neiman Marcus were represented in a talk on the direction the industry is headed -– we were eager to hear what else this tradeshow-meets-style-conference had in store.
As editors and writers from major media outlets like ELLE.com, The Huffington Post, PR Couture, Refinery29 and the famously witty Man Repeller blog filed across the makeshift stage for the last panel of the day, we hoped to hear some insight -– and probably a laugh or two -– into how fashion media, and really, fashion in general, has evolved in recent years.
Below, we’ve excerpted a few of the topics discussed, as well as some of our favorite responses.
Has the speed and immediacy of digital media affected the quality or content of fashion journalism?
Crosby Noricks, PR Couture: There was a fear before and a thought that everything needed to be buttoned up and 100 percent perfect. Publications are starting to see the value in being more transparent and more human.
Leandra Medine, Man Repller: The caliber of the work is the same. What’s different is that our attention span is shorter because we’re used to consuming more.
Anya Strzemien, The Huffington Post: There’s a trend toward a defined point of view on personal style.
Can you tell a difference between a writer who has had formal training and one who has not? Does having traditional writing skills matter anymore?
CN: Traditional media still has its place. I look for bloggers who understand traditional journalism. It’s not enough to offer a blogger exposure; you have to quantify her incorporation.
LM: Blogger integrity is a hot topic lately. Can you trust a blogger as much as traditional journalism? Integrity is hard to earn and maintain [as a blogger].
AS: Good syntax is good style. [That sums it up quite nicely, don’t you think?]
On the topic of breaking into fashion journalism, how is getting started now different than before? Where did your journalism career start and what advice do you have for those looking to get their foot in the door?
Keith Pollock, ELLE.com: I started in PR then got a call to go to Style.com. The media landscape changes exponentially and [you have to] keep an open mind. Explore every option you get.
Shani Silver, Refinery29 Chicago: Go where the opportunity is and fight for it. Have integrity and skill. Stand out.
CN: [You don’t] have to be in New York or LA. If there isn’t opportunity where [you live], create it. Create something that’s really yours. Find what you’re authentically passionate about.
LM: This is totally our time. The Internet is having its moment. Who is better at the Internet than our generation? No one. You need to use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook [and other social media]. Whore yourself out! But keep your clothes on!
Quite the advice. From hearing first-hand testaments on how changes in fashion have spawned some of the most successful emerging businesses in the industry, to how many of today’s biggest names in fashion media started and what it takes to make it in the rapidly evolving media realm, day one of Style X 2012 was a success -– background distractions and the occasional audio difficulty aside.