How Indie Fashion Titles are Navigating COVID-19

While some indie titles are pivoting their content and keeping the presses running – like regional titles running special issues on healthcare front line workers, or foodie magazines highlighting creative solutions by local restaurants – the indie fashion world is facing other challenges.

Shoots have been canceled, advertisers are pulling out, production costs are surging and international shipping blockages are forcing publishers around the globe to pivot and act creatively in order to connect with readers,” writes Tianwei Zhang in WWD.

“In the U.K., Dazed Media is offering the April issue of Dazed and the spring/summer issue of Another Man free to download ‘as a small gift to our readers.’” Zhang continues. “It has also launched a digital campaign #AloneTogether on Dazed that invites homebound audiences worldwide ‘to take part in an open movement that uses creativity to celebrate community in the face of isolation,’ according to Jefferson Hack, chief executive officer and co-founder of Dazed Media.”

Other creative social tags include “CultureIsNotCancelled,” which urges social distancing while still keep cultural activities alive and well.

“We will be supporting the creative industries by showcasing otherwise postponed or canceled projects, from fashion collections to exhibitions, films and much more. Culture must be protected and projected in the bedrooms of every home to give hope and humanity in a time crisis. The importance of digital media in doing this cannot be underestimated,” Hack said.

Dazed is planning to suspend the printed summer issue, opting instead to create what they are calling “a special digital moment” for readers and the creative community. Much of their efforts are being put toward saving the UK fashion community, where some estimate 35% of young fashion designers “will not make it past the next three months, and over half of the industry could be wiped out by the end of the year, including the livelihoods of many creative freelance individuals – the photographers, stylists, hairstylists, make-up artists, art directors, the tailors and the young creatives who are the very essence of our country’s creative production; its life and soul. Alongside the humanitarian crisis, we must also recognize the very real economic crisis that has put our creative industries on a cliff-edge for survival.”

It sounds critical … and yes, it is. Yet signs of creativity and hope spring up, like the nail artist who is creating custom nail art daily for Condé Nast’s Love magazine – which has seen massive surges in unique online users (up 41%) and social media engagement (almost doubled).

By its very nature the creative arts industry is just that – wildly creative. And we are happy to see them continuing their artistry online when we can’t appreciate it in person.

Yet it’s important to note that many publications are indeed seeing subscriptions rise during the lockdown, as people long for the things that bring them joy and hope. And many brands, realizing the importance of staying visible during tough times, are bucking the trends of pulling back on ads. I expect more will do so now that the initial shock of this thing is wearing off and we are all looking toward what’s next.