Ten years ago, model Kendall Jenner was 11 years old. Next week, she will be named Fashion Icon of the Decade. Jenner, the reality television star-turned-model and designer, will receive the honor bestowed upon her by fashion website Daily Front Row on September 8 at the publication’s event during New York Fashion Week.
Also to be honored at this year’s awards ceremony: Legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino, “Media Maverick” Joanna Coles, Teen Vogue editor Phillip Picardi, Opening Ceremony/Kenzo co-creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, and InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Bailey, among others.
Jenner is undeniably one of the top models of the moment, along with sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid. She is listed on Models.com’s Top 50 list; she has landed upwards of 15 magazine covers over the past year, and upwards of 10 different ad campaigns. Additionally – and potentially most importantly – she boasts an Instagram following of an impressive 83 million. As for whether that makes her a suitable choice for a prize that seemingly aims to honor an individual that has, say, been in the industry for a decade, is entirely up for debate.
Unsurprisingly, social media lit up with commentary when the Daily Front Row announced this year’s Icon honoree. Turns out, not everyone thinks the 21-year-old model is deserving of the award. "Oh please! What about Naomi Campbell or Cindy Crawford, you know, real models who got to the top due to hard work not who mummy is. Pathetic," Twitter user Ginger Winger wrote on Thursday.
Fashion industry veteran journalist Christina Binkley echoed this, tweeting: "Kendall Jenner is fashion icon of the DECADE? Since she was 11? Daily Front Row what are you thinking?" These tweets sum up the general sentiment amongst an array of industry insiders and fashion fans, alike, in response to the news.
For others, however, Jenner, as the award winner, makes sense. According to Jeetendr Sehdev, a celebrity branding expert, and the author of "Get The Kim Kardashian Principle," it is "a VERY well deserved award. No model has increased the relevance of iconic fashion brands on social media more than Kendall Jenner."
It is somewhat difficult to gauge Jenner's merit, as we cannot directly link her influence to the sales of any particular design house or products. Unlike her sister, Kylie Jenner, for instance, Kendall does not release products branded solely under her own name. (It is far easier to value Kylie's influence, as her eponymous cosmetics brand, raked in $420 million in retail sales in 18 months, and her lip kits - another other products - sell out in minutes each time they are restocked).
Even without hard numbers, though, it is safe to assume that the Instagram-famous model turned bona fide model drives traffic and commands attention. Vogue, for instance, certainly would consistently dedicate so much space on its site to Kendall if she were not a major driver of traffic. With that in mind, Jenner’s new “Fashion Icon of the Decade” title will certainly serve to bring no shortage of attention to the Daily Front Row’s annual awards show.
It is also not much of a stretch at all to suggest that Jenner - and her stylist - has a strong hand in dictating style trends; she is an influencer, after all
Moreover, if we were to measure Kendall's power by way of her internet presence (one of the tangible mediums we do, in fact, have), she is nothing if not an asset to brands – and publications, thanks purely to her huge following. And it appears that for the Daily Front Row the primary guidepost in selecting the recipient of a decade-long Icon is numbers. Or ... the publication simply wants in on the media frenzy that the Kardashian/Jenner names bring to the table, which is also entirely possible.