“Hang on a second,” says Yuli Ziv, a young Israeli fashion blogger, down the phone. “I am in the middle of paparazzi madness. Justin Timberlake is just about to start.”
Ziv, who has lived in Manhattan in New York for the last five years, was in the throes of New York’s Fashion Week, which runs from February 13 to 20th, when ISRAEL21c caught up with her. She was waiting for the William Rast show to start, and the premiere of Rast’s collection designed in part by the singer Justin Timberlake.
When it was over, she planned to cover the event in her blog MyItThings , an online magazine about America’s fashion scene that is gaining widespread popularity on the web.
Ziv, who was born in Russia, and raised in Israel, has been covering America’s fashion world on MyItThings since March 2007. She now runs the site with a staff of four.
Ziv is positioning herself firmly at the center of the fashion blogging world, not only through her own blog, but with a new initiative called the Style Coalition that brings together social media sites and bloggers with the movers and shakers of the fashion world.
On Tuesday, Ziv co-hosted Digital Moda, a fashion mixer that introduced bloggers belonging to the Style Coalition and more, to people from the fashion industry. Guests included the stylist Gilles Montezin from Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic, and Sylvia Heisel, a Turkish designer from the Council of Fashion Designers in America.
Fashion blogging takes off
Celebrity and fashion blogging has taken off in popularity in the United States, and its readership often rivals or even supersedes traditional media. Take for example Perez Hilton: you can hate him or love him, but the celebrity blogger writing from the West Coast can make or break a starlet’s career with the push of a button.
Bloggers who pen updates on their websites on an hourly, daily or weekly basis, used to operate on the fringe of society. Now blogs like Perez Hilton and the media blog Gawker are some of the most influential media assets in the world.
Despite this, however, says Ziv, though bloggers may be invited to high-profile fashion events, they are not treated the same as traditional media. It’s her goal to change that. “It’s not that bloggers aren’t allowed into events at Fashion Week. They are. But we are not positioned the same way as the traditional press,” she says. “We might get standing room instead of sitting.”
While Ziv, who moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts five years ago, admits that she has seen some radical changes in the way the fashion industry responds to bloggers, she hopes the Style Coalition, which she co-founded, will change how the fashion industry and advertisers respond to the fashion blogging community in America.
“I’ve seen more and more bloggers get a chance to cover fashion events, but we are still at an early stage,” she tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s hard for official organizers to understand who deserves to be there at fashion events and who does not.”
Turning the fashion industry on its head
Through mixers, and education about the power of social media, Ziv, who is in her early 30s, is hoping to take America’s expression of fashion to a whole new level. She sees fashion events as much more than just about clothing, but as a form of entertainment.
Ziv’s web magazine MyItThings, which she set up after working for a number of design-related firms, invites readers to send in their own articles and photos. They can share must-have shopping lists and their own designs as well. With a plan for developing a “virtual design house,” Ziv is experimenting with the power of social media to let users decide for themselves what will be the next fashion sensation.
The day after Justin Timberlake’s urban fashion premiered, her blog reported: “Celebrities came out en masse to support JT and lining the front row were bold-faced names including Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch, Gerard Butler, Paris and Nicky Hilton among others. Unfortunately, the star wattage way outshined the collection. The style was ’80s Americana with faded denim, superfluous zippers, and grommet detailing.”
Ziv believes that most people in the traditional fashion industry probably “don’t realize the power we have,” she says, referring to social media platforms like Twitter, streaming live video and blogging live from events.
“The coverage and buzz we can create is enormous,” she explains. “In magazines, they can only cover what we do, a few months later. We give personal coverage. There’s a market out there,” she concludes.