I bend to pick up my mail and spot that familiar grey bag with something sizeable inside. It’s Vogue.
My subscription comes on time every month and it’s worth every penny. Chunky, stylish and always on my coffee table. It’s common knowledge that for magazines the March and September issues are the cash cows of the year. Brands fighting over advert positions, cover sites and having worked on these issues at ELLE, GQ and many more, it’s definitely one of the busiest times. With an affluent readership of over 1.2 million in the UK alone we know Vogue’s an unparalleled magazine. It’s The Fashion Bible. Iconic, steeped in heritage and as Carrie Bradshaw said, ‘it feeds me’.
Many Vogue readers spend money at Louis V like I do at Starbucks; it enriches a lifestyle and with almost 1000 ad pages a year and a rate card of around £45,000 just for an outside back cover, it’s a superpower business. People say magazine brands are dying but when combined with their online (and growing) digital reach of 56 million a month, I’d say it’s far from.
Sure there are loads of ads, that’s what a magazine is for – showcasing new season greatness to those who can afford it. But the articles, the interviews, the photography? It’ll come as no surprise that I think it’s brilliant. Well thought out, researched and full of language that even I sometimes have to get a dictionary out to look up. When I left my job at Condé Nast, I understood the difference between communicating on a blog versus the tone a printed magazine would require. It’s completely different. Then it got me thinking. How amazing would it be if it were super easy to create our own magazines?
Mine would go a little something like this…
Less Street Style More Street Stories
For street style inspiration, I go online. I don’t look to magazines any more because online is immediate. On the morning of Day 1 New York Fashion Week a quick Google search brings me all the latest candid snaps. I see what people are wearing as it happens; not three months later. Right now? It’s all about tassle earrings and Gucci bags, logo tees (representing the modern day activism movement) and folk inspired jackets. Clashing colours and that extra accessory that’s unique to you. By Christmas, that will have all changed.
For my magazine, I’d have less street style (unless completely timeless and classic) and more stories behind the style. I find people interesting, I want to know about their jobs, their interests, what makes them tick. I want to learn about their culture, what they do on the weekends, how they live with their new Prada clutch. But not just the people, what about the photographers? The late Bill Cunningham, Tommy Ton and more. Each have fascinating stories and tales to tell from all around the world so lots more coverage of them would be ace.
It’s a real thing! The building blocks that create outfits. Think wardrobe staples, basics on which we can create beautiful and timeless looks. I’d love to flick through pages on how to piece together this season’s A line skirts with the best knee high boots and cashmere jumpers. Sharp blazers with the perfect white tee’s, killer heels and chic LBD’s. Often magazines are jam packed with zany eclecticism but I’d strip it back down to key wardrobe pieces that every woman should own. I’d scan the stores for essential ‘fashion lego’.
Some trends are around always. Of course micro trends influenced by bloggers and designers play a significant part in fashion but I’d dedicate pages to how to wear one stand out piece with trends readers are already likely to have invested in. Think this season’s gingham, boho, denim, elegance…
Empowering Women/ People
Just like my blog, I’d use my magazine to empower women. It’s no secret that women have it tough. In the workplace, emotionally and even among other women. So I’d use my magazine to feature some inspiring women. I’d write about the women who made me, the girl bosses who are owning it and the ambitious women breaking glass ceilings (and not pulling up the ladder from underneath them). I want to read about women in other countries challenging the status quo. I’d include in depth stories about women from all around the world succeeding against all odds, rising up in the face of adversity to champion equality and grab life by the lapels.
Magazines are always coming under scrutiny. Were the September issues this year too ‘white’? Did they explore different cultures enough? In my magazine, I’d champion diversity. We live in a totally multicultural society and as Instagram demonstrates, talent comes in all shapes, sizes and skin colour. I’m not talking about featuring models dressed up in culturally iconic clothing, culture that doesn’t belong to them. I’m talking about the history of fashion, what fashion represents around the world. It’s important to remember that essentially fashion is historically an art. It’s a message of unity, identity and sometimes a fad.
Magazines should not be about exclusion. Diversity shouldn’t be something just to ‘tick another box’ either. I’d be looking more at the talent. I wouldn’t feature something just because it’s coming across as ‘being racially diverse’, I’d feature something because it has substance, because it’s relevant and because it’s not only one specific profile of woman that reads a magazine. I think it’s important to reflect the mixture of culture and ethnicity that we have in the UK.
It’s disappointing to see a lot of ‘travel blogger’ content less ‘sandals and backpacks’ more what they wore abroad (the usual high street buys), stereotypical sightseeing destinations and non-stand out hotel reviews. It’s throw away and forgettable. In my fashion magazine I’d include travel content that’s rich in culture, interesting but still with a style edge. I want to read articles on market food, untapped territories and hidden secret trails. I want to feel like I’m away with the writer not just flicking through a ‘Time Out’ magazine guide of top places to visit. When teamed with outfits to suit the destination (think Moroccan nights, Caribbean islands and yacht clubs) it’s a topic I’d cover over and over again! Anyone for dim sum at that insane secret underground restaurant in Soho, NYC?
A lot of beauty content in magazines these days is unmemorable. If I had three mid market magazines open I wouldn’t be able to identify which brand is which judging from their beauty editorial. For me new launches and reviews blur into one. I’d love to see more makeup tutorials, skincare tailored to more specific concerns and more diversity in colours. With the beauty market already super over saturated it’d be interesting to see more coverage of holistic brands and the benefits associated with traditions in other countries too.
*With a huge thank you to Amy Beager, illustrator extraordinaire.
I’ve followed Amy for a long time now and absolutely adore her style so I know you guys will too.