Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, is an asshole (thank goodness!)

Scott Schuman, The Sartorialist, is an asshole (thank goodness!)
Photo by Mirkin

I’ve been recently intrigued with Scott Schuman, who most of you know as The Sartorialist. I’ve been a fan of him for years, though I can’t say I check his blog out regularly. Every now and then I visit again to see the world the way he sees it.

Recently there have been two articles that have been released, one of which was quite controversial, and one of the reasons I’m writing this piece in the first place. It was published over on The Talks on September 28, 2011, though I’ve read the actual interview was conducted over 18 months ago, more on that in a bit. In the piece, Mr. Schuman gives a rather frank interview about his thoughts on younger bloggers, which Tavi is sort of set in the crosshairs, as well as how much he makes on his site. It was rather candid, a lot of people saw him has a giant asshole. Personally, I saw it as a breath of fresh air… more on that in a bit as well.

The second article was published a week ago on The Business of Fashion, in which Mr. Schuman back pedals a bit on his harsh criticism of Tavi and Bryanboy, saying how he’s gotten to know them a lot more in the last year and a half and how hard working they both are. That statement is exactly what I feel is the crux of what Mr. Schuman is saying, that hard work is the key to success.

Which brings me to my point, which is that not all blogs (and bloggers) are created equally. You can tell from his interview in The Talks that he was extremely discouraged and upset with the big fashion magazines for not treating him seriously, despite his hard work.

So are the times when a blog couldn’t make any money over?

Yes, the blog itself is really making money. My audience is so much larger than everybody else’s that advertisers, well at least American Apparel told me that I am not in their internet budget. My order is so big and they have to pay so much that I am actually in their magazine budget. That comes from having a good size audience.

Also the price of an ad on your page for a whole year is still fairly cheap compared to, let’s say, a double page in a big fashion magazine.

Oh yeah definitely. But I think the thing that has worked really well, and this is potentially a new day in media, is that what they are buying into is not just the image but also the amount of integrity. The thing that I am very proud of is, even though they bought ads for an entire year, I have no relationship with my advertisers; I have no contact with them.

I see the other big line he’s drawing is that he treats his work very seriously, and in return he wants to be respected. I can understand this from my own point of view. There are blogs that put in half the effort that I do and get double the pageviews. There’s also the fact that really, any one can do what Mr. Schuman does, but they may not bust their ass day in and day out like he does, nor do the intend to turn their blog into full-time, life sustaining business, it’s merely fun.

I also found two other interesting points:

1) His inspiration to start the site was through Grace Bonney who runs Design*Sponge. I was equally inspired by Grace and her determination, but I never knew Mr. Schuman was as well.

2) He’s been running his blog for over six years now. How many bloggers can you name that have been running a blog for over six years? Who post every day, who work tirelessly to create something amazing? I don’t think I could do it.

I’ve found in my own experiences that people tend to call honest people assholes because they don’t like their ability to be so candid. I for one find it inspiring, and am usually just as honest in my day-to-day life, just ask Kyle or my co-workers. It doesn’t mean you can be insensitive or rude, it’s simply a way to set aside pretension and get shit done. As someone who works a full-time job during the day and a blog every other waking hour, I applaud Mr. Schuman for his success and his determination to do what he wants to do on his own terms. If only more people had the gumption to be so straightforward.


4 Comments Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, is an asshole (thank goodness!)

  1. TM October 11, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    Bobby—I have great respect and appreciation for TFIB. I’ve begun sharing your articles with friends and I frequently see them ‘liking’ TFIB on Facebook. The effort, the personal investment, you put into your site is clearly evident. There are only a few sites I would put in this category and you’re all displayed as favicons without description in my browser. The Sartorialist is among them and my wife an I have the limited edition print of Schuman’s book on our coffee table. Though I visit less often, Design*Sponge is another, so it’s not surprising that you both drew inspiration there. Zeldman, Coudal, YMFY, and other sites like Kotke and Daring Fireball are all inspiring in their own ways.

    It’s by being a genuine person (with ‘gumption’ as you put it) that draws in readers, piques their interest to come back, and ultimately creates loyal fans. Here’s to everybody doing what you do and thanks for your hard work.

  2. Noelle Buttry October 11, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    I agree completely. I always say people either like me or they don’t. There’s very little in-between. And those that don’t are usually people who are very uncomfortable with honesty & candor. Glad I found your blog.

  3. Professor Batty October 11, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    It was unfortunate that Mr. Schuman singled out Tavi in his earlier interview. It is good to see that he has changed his position. There are thousands of teen-aged fashion bloggers, almost all of which are pretty bad. Tavi is an excellent writer and editor with a strong sense of design, someone who really understands the potentials of blogging. Her new site, The Rookie may appear juvenile in its “look” but has a very sophisticated layout and wonderful content that meshes perfectly with its target audience, far surpassing most commercial web sites. Scott isn’t an asshole, his blog is very good, but I still don’t think he understands what Tavi is up to. Anna Wintour knows exactly what Tavi is doing.

  4. Kelly October 11, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    finally! i loved his interview on the talks and it is great to hear someone else agree. i find myself similarly frustrated at times; the article applies to people who just generally work way harder than others with fewer results/clients/followers–even aside from the internet. thanks!

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