Thinking Fashion

The Fashion Critics that Still Matter

For many years, my dream job was to be a fashion journalist to review the shows. By reading the collections critiques and articles about the industry, I got a good part of my fashion culture and a great understanding of the business. However, as you know, things changed drastically in the last decade and the role of fashion journalism today is quite different, especially when shows are conceived more to get Insta-perfect images than perfect pieces for real life.

Nevertheless, if you work or want to work in fashion, reading what the top journalists are writing is still essential to develop a critical view. Here is the list of my favourites and where to find their articles (please, don’t just follow them on Instagram, right?)

Cathy Horyn: the former New York Times fashion critic and currently contributor of New York Magazine’s The Cut blog is famous for her direct and straightforward vision about a collection and for not going easy on her critique, which caused some notorious feuds with Giorgio Armani and Hedi Slimane.

Robin Givhan: thanks to her broad vision, always linking fashion to cultural issues, she received a Pulitzer Prize in 2006. With experiences at Vogue, Newsweek and The San Francisco Chronicle, she is The Washington Post fashion editor for more or less 10 years, on and off. The style analysis of political figures, such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, under a social-economic prism, only reinforces her prestige.

Tim Blanks: if you are old enough to remember the Canadian show Fashion File, you know how Tim is a walking encyclopaedia! And what to say about the Throwback Thursdays videos on Style.com remembering iconic 90s moments? At the extinct site or as Business of Fashion editor, his critiques can be subtly straightforward and embedded with references that range from fashion history to pop culture.

Vanessa Friedman: Cathy Horyn’s replacement on NY Times has worked for The Financial Times, Elle, InStyle and The Economist, which means that her vision aggregate economic aspects and the pragmatism of editing a contemporary wardrobe for women. For this reason, the articles are easy to read but present constant reflexions about the industry trends.

Sarah Mower: the English journalist is American Vogue contributor for years and fashion critic on its website since the days of Style.com. Even with the magazine’s “neutral” voice, Sarah is able to send a message with a delicate and intelligent approach. Her work for the British Fashion Council, as ambassador for NEWGEN, the project for up-and-coming designers, only adds to her views of the business.

Bridget Foley: she is one of the most low profile figures, holding a position at WWD for over 30 years. Her critiques are direct and inquisitive and the “Bridget Foley’s Diary” is a constant invitation to reflect on the current industry moods.

Suzy Menkes: obviously, she is a living legend, famous for her hair do and for the speed to write her eagerly awaited critiques. Even with an old school approach and fierce opinions about the industry compass and the pressure on designers, the former editor of The International Herald Tribune (now International New York Times) and current International Vogue editor, with articles published in the online editions, was among the first to embrace social media and new technologies, discussing them on her annual summit about luxury.

Alexander Fury: The Independent fashion editor is the voice of a new generation and is already recognized for his honest, even controversial opinions. With encyclopaedic references and a rather ironic tone, the articles (he also writes for other publications) are as informative as questioning.

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