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Once upon a time, the people peacocking outside the tents at Fashion Week were wearing ensembles of their own design, pulled together in the spirit of creativity. Now, there's an entire wing of the industry dedicated to putting clothes on their backs and shoes on their feet.
The Times takes a look at the business behind street style and finds a shadow world of branding experts who send bloggers clothes in exchange for exposure—and sometimes cash. One expert is Tom Julian, who tells the paper flat-out, "These girls are definitely billboards for the brands."
If the looks aren't exactly natural, neither are the photos that result. Karin Robinovitz, an agent for bloggers, says her clients work with stylists and Photoshoppers. Even the locations are scouted: "It often takes hours just to find the perfect street corner." In the end, both the bloggers and the brands come away happy. Labels get exposure, and as for the style stars, they can make $2,000 to $10,000 for their help—though the Times notes that often, they're willing to work for just (or is that "just"?) a gift card of $1,000 plus expenses.
· Who Am I Wearing? Funny You Should Ask. [NYT]