Fashion Magazines Face Toughest Times Yet |

Dizzy and confused. Courtesy Dazed and Confused

As Conde Nast prepares to announce the consolidation of its publishing division following similar changes at Hearst Magazines last year, other smaller players in the industry have better news. New York-based niche magazine, Paper, has just celebrated its 32nd year of success in printing. Meanwhile, in Munich, Germany, Platea, an independent art and fashion magazine, rejoiced in its snowball readership. The quarterly magazine aimed at young creatives has been around for less than two years and has already garnered a loyal following in Europe. Also, The nice woman, a London-based magazine aimed at intellectual women with “style and purpose”, has grown exponentially over a span of seven years.

Vestoj, Dizzy and confused, To like, Parents, V, Interview, and System are independent magazines, some names less well known than others, enjoying increasing success while their mainstream counterparts such as In the style, Charm and Cosmopolitan showed a steady decline in traffic. In an age where print seems to be declining and many titles are now going digital only, the success of independent, primarily fashion-focused magazines seems confusing. Yet a quick glance at one of them reveals a simple ingredient: contemporary voices and a deeper connection with the audience. The content and design appeal to those who are drawn to new avant-garde inspirations and are not hampered by the behemoths of fashion advertising. That doesn’t mean, however, that fashion brands aren’t on board. Many are lining up for space in the most influential places and kudos for appearing alongside raw emerging talent.

V Magazine
“Trade and independent magazines are very connected with their audiences, they tend to be lean and mean fighting machines, often run by a single person who can interact with their audience with agility much more easily than a mainstream magazine. often weighed down by too many people. involved in decision making and the production process, ”James Hyman told Hyman is the founder of The Hyman Archive in London, “the largest collection of magazines in the world”.

Most independent titles consist of small teams, often scattered across different parts of the world. Instead of self-expanding and building personal brands, niche publishers are driven by a sense of purpose and enthusiasm for the cultural role of their publication. The key word here is “niche,” something that most commercial fashion magazines have overlooked, with far too many similarities between them. “[Independent] magazines have smaller teams and lower overheads, and are published less often. Smaller teams mean more focused and controlled decision making. The general public, on the other hand, has become commoditized and repetitive, and more concerned with business than creativity, ”explained Jeremy Leslie, Creative Director of MagCulture, one of the most popular magazine stores. respected London with over 350 different titles. .

He added that most mainstream magazines are now at a point where they no longer have a voice and have become clones in terms of character and physical nature. [They’re] all of the same size, same paper, same number of pages. Directly in the recycle bin.

lone wolf

Advertising pressures are one of the main reasons for the decline in the quality of the content of traditional print titles. A source close to username, a British youth arts, fashion and culture magazine confirmed that it had lost some of its readership as their content became more commercial, after being acquired by Vice in 2012, a multimedia company owned in part by Fox. “It’s a shame that the new identity review is just another place to see some cool work – no thoughtful reviews or compelling tales that were once worth reading, ”one agitated user noted on a reddit thread.

“When you have to make advertisers happy it’s a lot harder to take risks and when you’re targeting demographics you’re not going to take risks and do something really different,” said Steven Watson, founder of Stack. Magazines, a subscription service that selects and offers new independent titles to users each month.

While independent publications don’t have huge trade obligations on their heels, they do need support. Penny Martin from The nice woman, noted that while they are growing, with “a very healthy ad quotient of around 30 percent,” they don’t let that interfere with content, “We work with companies that uphold our independent ideals and understand that a magazine that publishes long form articles and generous space on typography and design have fewer pages to display the product.

Usually created with immense attention to detail, quality design and photography, and in some cases better paper quality. Some small titles become minor works of art. “I wanted to do print to have a platform to cherish the content I collect. He has a stronger appearance and is more special. He does not throw himself away. Making magazines is an art form and many people are involved and united to create something that you can touch and feel. It’s worth it, ”said Tristan Boettcher, editor-in-chief of Platea.

Watson added that the superior quality of these young titles made them a luxury and more collectable than the old guard. “This is in part a response to the mainstream, which over the past 10 years has reduced the thickness of paper to make it cheaper and cut budgets due to declining revenues. So now a group of independent magazine makers decided, “Magazines don’t have to be like that, we can print magazines on nice heavy paper, with nice typography and nice design and we could charge. £ 10 for that. “

By becoming an indispensable part, the independent magazine circuit is also winning the print versus digital debate, where online media simply cannot deliver the quality or longevity of these publications.

Watson argued that niche publications do not see digital as a competition or a threat, but as a tool to increase their own popularity. “I think it’s really about what makes your product different from everything else. Build everything around this thing. So not only does it become something that you can’t get online, but you can’t get it anywhere else. This is really the magic of these posts.

This does not mean that the bells are ringing for all mainstream magazines. US Vogue, for example, is constantly reinventing content, featuring influential and diverse young personalities and digging a hole in tradition with the controversial but ultimately successful cover of Kimye. Modern editing requires rethinking the lens. Leslie said it was about balancing familiarity and repetition, and celebrating the possibilities of the manufacturing process without losing its uniqueness: “Creatively, print is at the center of an age of extremely innovative gold. Just be sure about the perspective and personality of your magazine, and don’t be a cheap copy.

Fashion magazines face the toughest times yet


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