The fashion magazine vs. fashion blog debate is nothing new. With our ever-evolving digital world, it’s only natural to query the existence and perception of fashion magazines amid fashion followers. It begs the question: Can the glossy pages of fashion editorials really be replaced by HTML, URLs and SEO?
Despite these abbreviations seeming like another language, we are in the midst of a digital revolution and online fashion readership is rapidly growing. So, is print dead and are digital channels and social media the fashion future? Is the blogosphere more powerful and influential? Or are both mediums able to fully coexist in order to represent the fashion industry in all its chic and stylish glory?
Many have stated that fashion magazines will soon cease to exist. I’d have to argue against this. Rather, I think consumer publications will evolve and adapt to fit with what is necessary of them. Take Company magazine, for instance. They recently underwent a substantial makeover in order to move with the technological times and aside from the incredible paper it is printed on, the magazine continuously works with bloggers and has a built a strong online presence via social media channels. It has managed to achieve all of this while remaining a firm fashion favourite among its followers – myself included.
With blogging and print becoming more intertwined, it makes sense for magazines to adopt certain elements of the digital world. People want to know the faces behind the glamorous glossy mags, what they wear to work and how they got their dream job. Through a couple of tweets and instagramed photos, Company’s makeover has given them a personal touch like no other and therefore provides a prime example of a publication that has advanced for the better.
Additionally, Conde Nast’s W Magazine has reduced its print frequency from 12 issues a year to 10, with the intention of amplifying its digital reputation. This implies that magazines are starting to actively invest in their digital media and are taking steps not to be sidelined and left on the shelf.
Granted, fashion blogs are part of fashion’s future. Blogging is a fresh perspective; it’s more relatable and instant. If a blogger sits on the FROW at LFW, you’ll know the look they are loving, the dress they are coveting and the IT colour of the new season by the end of the day. With a magazine, you may have to wait another month before finding out the new season’s trends. Thanks to social media, fashion has been made available to everyone. Fashion is no longer an elite category and social networking is a way of life. It’s not going to disappear, but will grow and continue to blur boundaries.
From the likes of Style Bubble, The Sartorialist and Style Rookie, bloggers have revolutionised fashion and offer everyone the chance to be an insider. With blogs becoming published entities in their own right, they present a platform for everyone, from the fashion-obsessed teenager cutting her favourite looks out of a magazine to the street-style photographer looking for their big break. Some say blogs are just a trend; others say this trend is harmful to fashion editors.
Nevertheless, Grazia magazine have introduced a street-style section called Stylehunter, which they admit was influenced by the infamous Facehunter street-style blog. An example that fully indicates how magazines are recognising the need to progress and are working hard to meet the needs of their audience.
Yet, fashion magazines offer escapism, and the chance to dream of glamour and endless money. I love the unusual, quirky editorials that no woman would ever wear in the street and that’s the fascination of them. Magazines can be very literary, with much focus on layout, graphics and illustrations, instantly providing an inspirational, welcome distraction from everyday life.
As for blogs, they are more realistic and for that reason, more relatable. They tell you how to dress on trend for less, why charity shops possess hidden treasures and where to go for the best replica of that much coveted dress by Stella McCartney. Blogs find their niche and stick to it. They are able to connect with the individual reader more so than magazines, who have to cater to a broad range of people. In a way, blogs are more about fast fashion. They serve a quick purpose, an instant need and they do it well – plus, they are free. They are more honest and are more freely able to express an opinion, whereas magazines can seem restrained – and are often not cheap.
While I recognise that technology is always advancing and we need to move with the times, I simply love buying and flicking through fashion magazines. I find it a more tangible process. I have a considerable collection of Company magazine, of which may be collecting dust in my room, but that is entirely irrelevant. I go out and buy them because I want to, because I want to own them physically. Having recently moved home, after graduating from university, I had to discard some of the belongings I had amassed over the three years. It pains me to say that Vogue and Elle were cast to the recycle bin. It was a difficult time and I regret it.
Fashion is and will always be visual and editorial. Ultimately, anything sustaining these elements should be welcomed into the fashion pack. There’s a place for both magazines and blogs to exist in the fashion industry, simply because they are the industry. Print isn’t dead. Magazines and blogs will continue to develop and survive as separate entities because they serve different purposes. There is a demand for both.
Whatever the medium, surely anything that allows people to express their passion and enthusiasm for fashion is a good thing? It’s what makes “fashion, darling!”
Article by Rebekah Holroyd