Dear Feeling Magazine,



Dear Feeling Magazine,

I am angry with you. Angry for many reasons, the first being that you made me so angry I needed to break my first rule and write about something I DON’T love. Also angry that you have put me (and others) in a position to feel embarrassed about Belgium. Again. As if we don’t already have enough to be embarrassed about right now.

I am a Belgian blogger-slash-journalist, living and working in London, lucky enough to have started with this blogging malarkey when the worst of the journalism vs. blogging conversations had already happened. When companies over here understood the power of bloggers and fully embraced it rather than fight it. When it was ok for bloggers to sit front row with “real” journalists, because most of those bloggers you attacked by putting their pictures up with those silly little quotes (Susie Bubble, Diane Pernet, Liberty London Girl, Tavi, The Sartorialist,…), well they singlehandedly have more readers than your magazine does. So why shouldn’t they be front row?

When I was told about the article by a friend last night, I had to look it up. When I finally found it this morning on a blog – sorry, we have no Feeling here in London – I was shocked that this was even allowed to be published, and for the first time I felt the need to speak out for the community you offended so carelessly and naively. A community which is much stronger than you apparently seem to understand.

I don’t have the time or energy to rip apart every single offensive remark in the article – this article on StyleLab does that pretty well, but here’s the gist of it:

1: Bloggers are narcissists
2: Content is often an unnecessary luxury
3: Bloggers are incorrigible snobs
4: “Speling mistaks arent bad”
5: All blogs have the same readership: 1


In some cases, these things are definitely true, but generalising a whole community was your first mistake. You seem threatened by a world you clearly don’t understand. You claim you read some fashion blogs, which is great, but you dislike pretty much all the blogs you looked at and dismissed them as not worthy of more than a mouseclick. Fair enough – there’s plenty of blogs I don’t like. It would be like saying I don’t like magazines, just because I don’t like yours. That’s how wide your generalisation goes. Don’t go comparing apples with oranges.

We don’t all walk around with “fake Chanel 2.55 handbags” (mine is very real, thankyouverymuch), taking pictures of ourselves or of celebrities for the sake of it. Some of us have some knowledge of the industry, of fashion, technical aspects of clothing, materials and photography. Even more, we do it all ourselves: we go to events, take the pictures, we edit them, we write our pieces, publish and promote them. We often even write in several languages! We don’t have a team behind us like you do – so yes, maybe once in a while there can be a spelling mistake, but I’d be very surprised if you’ve never written one yourself. Most importantly, most of us do it unpaid, as a hobby.

Yes, I have sat front row at Chanel. I have had a few pictures of myself on my blog. A lot of my posts are mostly picture-based. If I’m a snob for writing about my REAL Chanel 2.55, then so be it. A fake one clearly doesn’t do it for you either. So clearly I fall under your ‘worst nightmare’ category. But I have a very respectable readership and people seem to value my opinion, so clearly I must be doing SOMETHING right. I think perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that up until now I have never publicly bashed anyone cowardly like you did without the right to defend themselves.

So dear Feeling Magazine, dear Michaël,

get with the times. Blog bashing is soooo 2009. If you’re still asking yourself whether there’s a place for us in the industry, then you have well and truly missed the boat. You should know better than anyone how difficult it is for small Belgian labels to survive, when even the bigger names can’t seem to stay afloat these days. Blogs are one of the most powerful tools they have right now, to publicise and promote their brand on a national and even international level (because let’s face it, it won’t be in your magazine). Instead of writing this article, you could have been promoting the many young talented bloggers in our country rather than bashing them. All the other Belgian magazines do… At a time where Belgium is finally starting to catch up with some of the big countries where blogging is now standard, you have now singlehandedly given this community – and I hope by now you realise that’s what it really is – a major knock back.

Congratulations, great job.

P.S. The irony of it all? The article ends with a box promoting the new Feeling blog, where the author of this article, Michaël de Moor is also blogging. Not that I think he’s worthy of my mouseclicks.

P.P.S If Feeling or Michaël de Moor wanted to respond, then I’d be more than happy to listen. Because having a conversation is what us bloggers do.

Thanks to It Girl for the scans.

* RANT OVER *

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  • when ego’s start to mix and mingle and people feel threatened ( and that works both ways apparantly) people just loose it.
    That Feeling thingie wasn’t to great, but the way th’ ‘bloggers’ are handling it, isn’t exactly top notch either. Oh well….

      • I don’t see how ‘hating the haters’ will ressolve anything. The only thing accomplished here will be : You’ll raise name awareness and, in a very strange way, credibility for the ‘offending’ magazine – I won’t drop the name again here. You are feeding MdM’s ego ; As You stated ; You don’t even read the mag, so why even bother, besides the fact that you might have a small dent in your blogger ‘ego’. Magazines as we know them are on their way out. They know that to. What is going to happen to blog o sphere is somewhat uncertain, but what is certain that it’s changing ‘journalism’…

        I’d just ignore it like it’s porc. Hook up with the love part of this blog, dump the negative in a dark corner and move on. Nobody really cars what thse mags have to say anyway. At least not for longer than it’s next edition.

  • good for you I am really sick of people moaning about bloggers, bloggers are people that should be respected as we have taken the initiative to essentially create our own jobs in a writing industry where they aren’t many, we create our own opportunites in a subject that we love, with no pay, something that takes up a lot of time, energ, and skill, and all with some ‘real’ journalists looking down their noses. it’s obviously a cheap dig to get more coverage for themselves.

  • Excellently put. I think what annoys me the most is how he generalizes all bloggers, as if we’re all the same and do the same thing. The Belgian blogosphere is definitely growing and I think bloggers are here to stay. Maybe there will be a new hype in a few years, but that doesn’t mean that bloggers are going away. After all, fashion journalists are still here too, right? I don’t like this negativity, it’s just much more fun to work together and be mature about it.
    brunetteblogging.com

  • Applause. Medal and a double kiss for this write up. If I liked you before I like you know even more.

  • This is excellent Alex. So glad that you’ve given a brief translation of the article. At first I assumed it was talking positively about bloggers and that your face might pop up on one of the photos… glad that it didn’t.

    The fact that a magazine would release such a substantive piece outlining why bloggers are irrelevant is ironic in itself. Why take the time if we are such a non-issue?

    There is such a range of blogs and bloggers each with individual takes on fashion and unique personalities. It is an extremely personal endeavour and one that is inevitably going to alienate some people. If you don’t like the personality behind the blog chances are you wont like the blogger. But to assume all blogs are similar or can fall under the same umbrella category is ignorant and misinformed.

    There are some blogs that certainly get more readers and daily hits than magazines, companies, or individual designers might get. I wouldn’t argue that necessarily validates those as ‘good’ blogs but it is impossible to argue there is a degree of power that comes with having such a substantial readership. It is something companies hope to utilize and use to their advantage.

    Well stated that bloggers come from a variety of backgrounds. Lawyers, academics, students, mothers, designers… trained in fashion, trained in baking bread… there are no limits or restraints and that is the beauty of it. No one asks for your credentials when you start a blog but if they identify with you and value your opinion (as you pointed out) they will come back. There is an innate authenticity that can come through in a blog.

    Sadly, I think this conversation will go on for many years to come. What bloggers are is ever changing and developing. Personally, I think there are many inspiring and well written blogs out there and that those are the ones that time should be spent on. Those are the ones that should be given attention and highlighted. Just as you pointed out, they can be used to promote new designers and those that can’t get recognized in mainstream magazines.

    For me, that is the most exciting part about having a blog: being about collaborate with designers who are new and emerging. Having the ability to see someone or something you love and share it with your readers. It’s exciting and extremely worthwhile.

    Shame on this magazine for publishing such a thoughtless piece and then attempting to promote their own blog at the same time? Surely this is the most vulgar form of self-promotion…

    xx

  • I think there will always be a slight tension between magazine and bloggers because in reality, many advertisers are cutting print budgets to go online and with bloggers, they get the best deal ever! Between marketing affiliates, editorial and low-cost CPM, brands are hitting a high readership for a fraction of the print advertising fee. So I can see why big magazines can be annoyed with bloggers (I’m a blogger myself).

    Creatively, many magazines connect with bloggers but the relationships are not always authentic, as recently shown during London Fashion Week when a weekly publication had a twitter tantrum about bloggers.

    However, there are some great magazines who have celebrated bloggers and their personal style, commissioning columns, editorial and photo shoots.

    Some publications will ‘get it’ and work with bloggers but there will always be ones who just tolerate bloggers in case blogging ‘takes off’. All we can do is work with genuine publications that don’t exploit bloggers just to fill space.

  • It is so contradictory of them to dedicate a 4-pages article to those people that apparently deserve only a quick, bored click. Jealousy much, mr. De Moor?

    That’s what I thought also of the post of Franca Sozzani on her Vogue.it blog, something like one month ago.

    It’s like magazine writers are the only ones with a fashion culture, with the knowledge of the fashion business, with a right to write about it and with a seat at every fashion show THEREFORE they have all the rights to denigrate the people who do it as a hobby and GRATIS.

    It’s like I would write a 4-pages article full of critics and bad words to the people who watch the Discovery Channel and read Scientific American every month because I am a real Molecular Biology researcher and so I know the real stuff… It doesn’t make any sense.

    No, really, how am I supposed to take you seriously, Mr. Fashion Magazine Writer spending thousands of words on something just to say that it doesn’t deserve not even a moment of people’s attention?… I really miss the connection.

    Someone should tell Mr. De Moor that his boss might be angry with him, watch out your job and keep it tight: you just did the opposite of what you wanted, you put even more attention on fashion bloggers. Your competition. A competition that does your job, very often much better, for free. That’s it.

    Well let’s stop it here, I could talk about it for hours and you already said everything that needed to be said, in a very beautiful and well written way.

    Just one thing makes me sad: I come from (almost) the most old- and narrow-minded country of Europe (when you start to talk about new, good, innovative things Italians freak out…) and I just discovered that I moved to the other Country that is maybe as narrow-minded as the abandoned one, Belgium.
    Should I “thank” Feeling Magazine for this epiphany?
    Well no, let’s do like this, the only Belgian magazine I’ll read from now on will be Elle. Period.

    Thanks for this post.

    Al

    -The Red Dot-

  • *blog bashing is so 2009* I couldn’t agree more.

    When will these journalists get over it?

    I have been blogging for 4 years now, 2 years professionally.

    I have had smaller designers send me emails and hand written notes of thanks for the coverage I give them. Designers who Vogue, Elle, Grazia etc don’t feature.

    Blog bashing has left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I haven’t purchased a single magazine single November last year. Why pay the salary of someone who gives me evil looks when I take my seat at fashion show who I previously looked up to and why should I pay the salary of some self important idiot at InStyle magazine who on one occasion was so pissed that I was at Roberto Cavalli that he pushed passed me when queuing to be seated.

  • Ik had het artikel ook gelezen in de feeling en ik was behoorlijk geshokt, ik ben geen blogger, maar ik lees jullie blogs dagelijks en met veel plezier (tegenwoordig zelfs nog liever dan magazines) dus : GOOD POINT Alex!!!! Love your style. Sophie

    • No response yet, not on their own website either.

      Shame, they could have made it a little better by even just acknowledging it, but their silence says a lot about them…. or perhaps they just haven’t read any blogs recently :)

      x

  • I couldn’t agree more!
    I was so angry when I read the article. Just lame how he generalises all blogs, when there are so many Belgian blogs that are great to read!
    I’m very curious to find out if you received any reactions from the magazine of the author himself!

    xx
    Imelda

  • Alex, let’s file your post under “tough love”, right? :)

    Being both an editor of a magazine and a blogger myself, I’ve waited a little while before joining this discussion, but I am so glad that that is what this incident is shaping up to be: a discussion. At first I was afraid the article would only get a few rants – and though you categorize your post as such, I don’t think that’s what you wrote up here. I’ve read a couple of bloggers’ reactions, and what strikes me is that most of them are at least trying very hard to remain balanced and fair. As a blogger, that makes me feel proud to be part of the community. It also confirms my belief that many of the bloggers our there are incredibly smart, well-spoken and critical.

    But. As a lover of good content, be it on the web or in a magazine, I do agree not all blogs out there are worth the fuss. In a way, I think that is what Feeling was trying to say. Perhaps they wanted to illustrate that though the phenomenon is hot, exciting and new, it’s not something that resists all criticism. But let us all agree the magazine epically failed at presenting a decent case, as they prefered to simply ridicule the matter.

    And as I said in a comment on one of the other Belgian bloggers who responded to the article (www.Style-Laboratory.net), I think bloggers should take this opportunity to take a long, hard look at what they’re doing, and prove critics wrong by upping the quality of their content and evaluating the reasons why they do what they do (five minutes of fame, free goodies, or the actual need for self-expression and sharing creativity?). Unfortunately, not all blogs that are being taken seriously by fashion fans and professionals alike are as good as yours. Yet, anyway. But I do think this maturing will take place, and no blogger needs a stuck-up fashion editor to tell them how.