They say that everything is bigger in Texas and so is this unusual war of words that has erupted around a 20-year-old fashion blogger.
At the heart of the Texas-size debate is Jane Aldridge, the young blogger behind “Sea of Shoes,” a personal-style blog Aldridge started as a high school student near Dallas to document her designer shoe collection and wardrobe.
Aldridge’s taste, style, and beyond-her-age budget caught the eye of New York fashionistas, celebrities like Kanye West and writer Jason Sheeler, who deemed her story of fashion fame from the Lone Star state worthy of a profile.
Once the profile ran in this month’s Texas Monthly magazine, the shoes, albeit designer, began to fly.
Celebrity and fashion websites like Jezebel and Fashionista scourged Aldridge for quotes like, “Why should I go to college? I’m already doing what I want?” in Sheeler’s profile, and her fits of fury over lighting gone wrong and misplaced items during fashion shoots for her blog.
When a post last week on New York Magazine’s “The Cut” fashion blog pilloried Aldridge – and her manager-mother, Judy, and lawyer father, Bryan – for, among other things, the alleged $70,000 start-up cost of her blog and $20,000 appearance fees, the blogger fought back.
“I get it,” Aldridge wrote in an April 5 blog post titled “A Rebuttal.” “It’s hard to get a story published and you have to dredge the bottom of the barrel to get a story…a picture that is not indicative of my life in any way was painted. It is laughable.”
“The Cut” threw the proverbial shoe back in Aldridge’s closet with a blog the same day, noting the author had quoted directly from the Texas Monthly article which, the magazine said in a statement issued to “The Cut,” had been put through a “rigorous fact-checking process.”
Aldridge declined to respond to the latest salvo on her own blog, but did respond when contacted today by ABCNews.com.
“I don’t think NY Mag or Texas Monthly expected my response,” she said in an email response. “I’m in an unusual position where I have my own platform to speak for myself. Most of their targets are not in this position.”
“Following my rebuttal, there was a lot of backlash to their snarky, unprofessional tone and poor research,” she said. “I’ve spent this week getting back to all of the supportive tweets and Facebook comments and emails.”
Conspicuously quiet in the shoe war had been the author himself, Sheeler, who finally responded to both his subject criticizing him and the online outlets criticizing her in a blog titled, “I Really Do Like Jane Aldridge.”
“The amount of cyber judgment has, frankly, surprised me,” Sheeler wrote in the April 6 blog on Texas Monthly’s website. “In profiling Jane, I wanted to show a sophisticated young woman with discriminating taste who is unquestionably in charge of her future. I wanted to show how she’s a self-taught creator who has the wide-eyed wonderment of a Disney character. Yes, she can behave like a child star, but–and this is important–that’s a side effect of her very fashionable (and profitable) myopia.”
Aldridge said she and Sheeler, whom she appeared with on local TV to promote the article when it first came out, have spoken once since her rebuttal.
“I’m not angry with him,” she said. “He wrote the story he thought people wanted to hear. I’m afraid he knew the story he wanted to write before I even opened my mouth.”
“Blogging as a profession is fairly new and there is a lot of curiosity about it,” she said. ”I have to know that these kinds of things come with the territory and I’d like to be a good sport about it. It’s strange to have your very character called into question by people who don’t even know you, but that’s the Internet for you!”
Both Sheeler and his editor at Texas Monthly declined to comment, telling ABCNews.com today they stand by their respective statements already issued on the subject.