Are fashion show reviews useless?

Last Updated on August 7, 2022

fashion show reviews

Does anyone still care about fashion show reviews? Not consumers, says Tom Ford in a recent interview for

Something new is happening that I'm just clueing into now—this probably won't go down well—but customers don't care any more about reviews or hard-copy publications. They care what picture Rihanna just Instagrammed while she's naked in bed, what new shoes she has on, how she's talking about them. That's what they respond to.

Fashion critics are no longer opinion makers.


First, they don’t have mass appeal. Most people have never heard of them. (Can you say that about Rihanna?)

Secondly, fashion critics aren’t visual. They deal in words.

This generation wants pictures.

Fashion is a visual art. As the internet progresses from text-only to large photos (remember when Twitter had no pictures? Me neither), fashion is becoming even more visual.

To the average consumer, images are more attractive than a review they don’t have the attention span or time to read.

(Yes, this is discouraging to me as a writer — but I can’t change my audience)

The average fashion consumer doesn’t read the newspapers that publish the most eminent fashion critics. The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post … They’re much too serious.

And they don’t have enough images. In print or online.

Fashion show reviews flourished when the industry was still an impenetrable enclave. Few catwalk photos were published in the media. The review’s purpose was to convey the show to outsiders. To make you feel as if you were there.

We can now find pictures of every catwalk look online a few minutes after the show. Even better, we can watch the livestream and see the clothes better than the poor non-entities in the standing space.

Based on this media, we form our opinion of the show. We don’t need to listen to the opinion of a journalist who might or not be unbiased, what with the fashion media’s close ties to advertisers.

The really interesting and useful show reviews talk about fashion in a socio-economic context, relate it to culture and politics and fashion history.

Few people are interested in reading such reviews. And even fewer people can write them.

Most fashion show reviews are useless. They make a point of using fancy terminology to describe clothes. Everyone with a functioning pair of eyes can see what the clothes are like in the pictures.

So what makes Rihanna better than your resident fashion critic?

Rihanna is who people want to be like. Through her music, videos, photos, and social media, she’s created a world that her followers want to be in.

A world that, unlike the upper echelons of fashion, they respond to.

If you want to get fashion to people today, it sure won’t be through the old guard’s catwalk reviews.

P.S. You can now also follow Dressful on Tumblr. I’ll be posting links to new updates there, as well as random fashion thoughts and pictures.

Illustration by Anja Steffen

1 thought on “Are fashion show reviews useless?”

  1. It bothers me a bit that fashion blogs were originally intended to make fashion more accessible to the people who didn't really care about all the "posh" of the industry- which is interesting considering the fact that, as an online resource, it caters to people with a rapidly decreasing attention span. i find it almost redundant to hyper-describe a runway look when the reader could easily look at it for themselves and form their own opinions on it. i agree that the most important fashion writers, " talk about fashion in a socio-economic context, relate it to culture and politics and fashion history." great article! it opened up some really interesting questions about the state of the fashion industry.


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