Poison blogs, the on-line equivalent of the “white paper”

LIKE, what are the chances? (ayyyteh.tumblr.com)

POISON blogs and tweets, today’s equivalent of yesteryear’s so-called white paper, have become quite common in an unregulated blogosphere where everyone and anyone can easily hide behind a pseudonym or, worse, pass himself off as someone else.

Cyberspace is the new frontier, the Wild, Wild West, so to speak, where laws on libel and defamation as we know it in our brick-and-mortar world hardly apply.

Thus, any well-connected person with a modicum of IT knowledge, penchant for intrigue and affinity for mayhem can go about his merry little ways as he destroys reputations by either divulging other people’s nasty little secrets or making up stories aimed at assassinating his object of derision’s character as well as those dear to him or her. All without being accountable.

This phenomenon, of course, isn’t new in a mega barrio like Manila, as we’ve had so many variations of these types of blogs in the past, from the “late” “Soozy Hopper” to the supposed trio of call center agents who gave us something to look forward to at the end of a busy working day via “Chikatime.”

And unlike so-called blind items dished out regularly by entertainment editors and reporters, people behind such blogs have never made any attempts to hide the identities of those they malign.

Who are they, really? Is it important to find out? And once you do, what would you do to these cowards if you happen to be one of their victims?

If we take the words of supposed people in the know, Soozy, it turned out, wasn’t a woman, while the call center agents that once make up “Chikatime” were nothing but fronts.

Like the Holy Trinity, the trio, so they say, was a composite of a famous blogger himself with front-row access to runway shows abroad. For some strange reason, and despite his amazing ability to penetrate the inner circles of New York elite, he’s as petty and as pathetic as ever since he can’t seem to shake off his disdain for certain members of Manila’s high society.

We’ve also had the relentless Brian Gorrell, remember? Although he never made any attempts to hide his identity, he was thousands of miles away safely blogging with contempt and relish in Australia or some first world country beyond the long arm of Philippine law, while his victims probably popped up countless doses of Valium to calm their nerves. How convenient!

YOUR eyes are not playing tricks on you. (ayyyteh.tumblr.com)

I bring this topic up in the wake of the newest poison blog to hit the city dubbed as “Ayyyteh.” Manila’s beso-beso crowd can heave a sigh of relief for the moment, as people behind “Ayyyteh” have aimed their lethal arrows on supposed copycat Filipino designers.

Once you open the blog, you’ll see on the left-hand side of your computer screen images of supposed works by such Western designers as Versace, Gurung, Owens, Giannini and Burton, etc., alongside knockoff versions attributed to a number of famous and up-and-coming Filipino talents.

Borrowing the line of General Aladeen, Sacha Baron Cohen’s character in “The Dictator,” the blog even features several outrageously dressed gay men, some in ill-fitting leopard-printed leggings and platform shoes, above the caption “What Sorcery is This?” Well, for once, I agree!

Well, to be fair to the people behind “Ayyyteh,” it probably took them a great deal of time and effort to produce a number of smoking guns in the form of those incriminating images. I’m impressed!

But in defense of some of the designers who made it to “Ayyyteh’s” “hall of shame,” some were probably “compelled” by their influential and high-profile clients to follow a certain “peg.” (Boy, I’m beginning to hate that word.)

If given a free hand, some would probably never even have dreamed of producing such pieces. But pictures, unless severely altered by Photoshop, don’t lie. But nor do they explain what possessed certain talented designers to lift with abandon from Versace and company, and think they could get away with it.

Again, whether we like it or not, this latest development has once more underscored how mean, insular and incestuous Manila society has become. I’m willing to bet my four-year-old Honda Civic that the person/s behind “Ayyyteh” is just right here in our midst, sipping champagne and blowing kisses in the wind, while keeping an eye out for his next set of victims.

HAIRY proposition (ayyyteh.tumblr.com)

8 thoughts on “Poison blogs, the on-line equivalent of the “white paper”

  1. But a lot of the ‘copies’ were featured on the designers’ own models and shows. So that’s all THEM– no client pressured them to do that. The other ‘knock-offs’ are worn mostly by actresses– whom I believe pay stylists to put together the clothes for them. Again , I can’t see how they could or would pressure these designers to copy any peg. Maybe one or two, sige.

    Sorry, this issue really gets my goat because it’s such a waste of talent!!! I get the same feeling when I see ‘Class A’ knock-offs of designer bags– they have the materials, they have the skills, they have the technical know-how, yet they resort to stealing.

    • You have a point, Paolo. Most of the images were shot during their shows. I was just giving some of the designers the benefit of the doubt.

      In the case of Noel Crisostomo, for instance, (disclosure: he’s a good friend of mine, but we haven’t had the chance to sit down lately and talk about this), the wearer is the iconic Daryl Chang herself. I’m willing to give Noel the benefit of the doubt that Daryl might have had some inputs in the dress. If not, then that’s very unfortunate.

      True, these Filipinos have the talent so why on earth do they need to copy the designs of foreigners down to the last detail? With the advent of the internet, it’s not as if they won’t be found out. I guess that’s a question worth tackling in another entry. Let’s not also forget that since we’re so influenced by the West, no Filipino designer, no matter how good, can say with a straight face that he didn’t copy or, at least, wasn’t influenced by the work of someone else.

      Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it.

      • Loving the few entries so far on your blog, haha. Looking forward to more!

        I soooo want to support local designers– yes, I do buy from them. Although another issue is that they are more expensive than foreign brands! Which would be okay if the quality were at least as good. Unclipped threads, tipid na buttons,inconsistent sizing, etc etc. I guess that’s why I get rather frustrated/ disappointed/ angry with this issue.

        Enough bile for this morning!

  2. Thanks Paolo. I’m learning, too, from guys like you. I’m also learning the ABCs of making this blog more interesting. Now, I’m pressured! I still have to figure out, for instance, how to put pictures in this dang space as well as to write shorter. Like I said to a friend, I seem to have verbal diarrhea when I write. But I also believe, you can’t be everything to everybody, which is good.

    Regarding your latest observation. True, quality, especially for local RTW, leaves us often disappointed. The problem I think is not quality per se, but consistency. Design-wise, local stuff are generally good even if they’re, ah, often derivative. But the quality is spotty. Sometime it’s good, most of the time, it isn’t. Even some of our local RTW chains (I’d rather not mention their names) are inconsistent not only in terms of look, but also of quality.

    But remember, we only pay a fraction of the price to get a piece made by a local designer, whether it’s couture or RTW. Some clients, even the supposedly filthy rich, make tawad for MTO pieces. Imagine! Abroad, high-end RTW clothes (let’s leave the Zaras and H&Ms of this world) are ridiculously expensive.

    I’m not defending our local talent (the quality of their work is still their own best defense), but we also have to give it to them. With virtually no textile industry to depend on (and with almost everything, except piña, sinamay and abaca silk, imported abroad), they still manage to produce brilliant pieces.

    I’m more hopeful than pessimistic because like you said, the talent is there. That’s one thing the Chinese can’t take away from us.

    The weekend is coming up. I hope you have a good one.

  3. Dahling, it pains me to say that a lot of Philippine designers are copycats, even the up and coming ones (i.e. AJ). LR, however, is not just a copycat. He also asks designers to copy dresses for him and pays them to put the copied work under his name. He just recently asked a project runway Philippines designer to copy an Alexander McQueen piece for the upcoming Star Magic Ball. Tsk.

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