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Fashion Week in Images

Saturday, 6 August 2011

By distilling Fashion Week into its purest form -- the photo -- Tumblr succeeds in creating a starkly meaningful landscape in which one can really enjoy the aesthetics of the week. No retweets, no "@"s, just streams and streams of images. As a service, Tumblr is embracing its role as the world's best inspiration board, a repository for the bloggers and reporters who capture the lovely digital images they encounter as they traverse the Web. In fact, Tumblr has its own fashion director in Rich Tong, after the micro-blogging service realized that the fashion world was quite taken with the simple "love"-ing and reblogging format. "We want people to know that brands and labels need to have a Tumblr, just like they have a Facebook and Twitter. We want them to have that outlet," Tong explains. "But we still need to cater to our audience, which has grown very organically."

The haute couture-Tumblr link has occurred because of the fashion bloggers' tendency to scrapbook, to find something they like (or something they once forgot, like an early nineties Sassy ad), and post it on the site. Quickly, the community reblogs, spreading the image around. These images become themed, reposted, and a part of a growing community, one that is suddenly seeing major players step in. Vogue, Glamour and Women's Wear Daily have realized they need a Tumblr presence, like the strange bird of Twitter before it, in order to keep up with all the writers combing their archives to achieve page views.

To perfectly capture this momentum, Tong and Tumblr have stepped in to create the official, a space for all things Fashion Week, modeled after the cleanly designed page for the tag For its first official Fashion Week coverage, Tong has created a three-tiered system. "The top tier will be a stream of content coming from major different sources, like The Cut, Lucky, V Mag, Vogue. We'll pick select content to make it onto the site." The second tier is less official, but still uber-connected, composed of industry insiders like brands, photographers or PR houses. "This group of people have great access and a really interesting perspective," Tong explains. The last layer belongs to Tumblr's top bloggers, handpicked for their unique take on fashion, by Tong himself. "We wanted bloggers who have done interesting things on the Tumblr platform. We wanted something beyond just 'style' bloggers, but those who have given their Tumblr their own character." Among the 24 bloggers being included in the feed are Peace, Love and Chanel, What I Wore and The Clothes Horse. "What we are hoping for," Tong says, "is the most comprehensive view of Fashion Week."

Besides the dedicated online space, each of the chosen Tumblr reporters will actually get to attend Fashion Week, getting to express their own take on the fast-paced proceedings. After attending high profile shows like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Hererra, the Tumblr team can go back and put their own personalized spin on the coverage. And Tong? "I'm just going to be marching around, following all 24 of them making sure we don't lose one!" A wild, fashionable Tumblr-led blogger brigade, then.

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