What is autonomous journalism?
On the contrary, we find fashion journalists who produce content for autonomous publications, referred to as niche publications in the field of fashion media. Included in these are publications such as i-D and Dazed, which both exercise a different form of writing, one that “present[s] fashion as artistic and subcultural.” Rather than relying on advertising as heteronomous publications do, they enjoy freedom when it comes to including brands, which can be everything from a small local brand to emerging designers who have just graduated from university. The view of autonomous magazines on luxury brands is unbiased, which align themselves with the ideal of representing a “blend of popular culture with art and apparel.”
Besides being employed with autonomous fashion publications, fashion journalists can also work independently as fashion critics, where criticism and their own judgment becomes central to their role. Proof of this is seen in the role of fashion critic Cathy Horyn, who is well known for her negative review of Oscar de la Renta’s spring/summer 2013 collection. In this article, she referred to the designer as “a hot dog [rather] than an éminence grise [sic] of American fashion. Hence being recognized as a key agent in the field of fashion media, Horyn is a great example of how fashion critics have the power to make their own “judgments [which can] produce reputations for the designers and their works.” On the contrary, it can also negatively affect a designer’s reputation and status, who has already found himself established in the field of fashion. Taken together, it is what Kawamura observes to be where “the value of fashion arises” from the key agents within the fashion system, “and those participants who control access to distribution channels become influential.” In this context, it does not necessarily mean that a fashion critics’ position within the field is secured, as negative expressions often lead to resolutions between designers and fashion journalists. This was evident in the number of show bans that Horyn received, with Carolina Herrera as the first designer to restrict her from upcoming shows in 2007.