Mass Market Fashion … Is It Getting Real?

univ-magWhile they may not be industry experts, the college generation knows what they want in a magazine.

“What does the future of fashion magazines hold?”

The question was posed to open an article written by Daisy Guy that appears in Impact, the University of Nottingham’s official student magazine.

“As popular publication In Style has recently announced its’ departure from the traditional print format, there is one very important question being asked: are our favourite print magazines truly suffering at the hands of their digital counterparts and what are we doing to save them?” she asks.

To answer the first part of the question, she cites recent MPA figures for a few key titles that show large growth in their digital title sales and increases in print sales.

“For example, between August 2015 and August 2016, Country Living (a popular home style magazine) saw an increase of 60.1% in their digital sales and only an increase of 0.4% in their print sales,” Guy writes. “This pattern is also underlined by all-around, all-time favourite fashion bible glossy, Vogue, who saw their digital sales increase by 38.4% but their print sales increase by only 7.1%”

What we see in these figures is not the wholesale replacement of print by digital, but rather digital complementing the existing print product and increasing audience share. Print sales in both cases cited did go up, not down, reflecting the leveling off of the print sale decline of the past few years.

So what about the second part of the question? What are publishers doing to save the future of magazines? She cites Maria Rodale of Rodale Inc. as one publisher with a good answer.

“[Rodale] suggested that one of the ways magazines should ensure a continuation of their print sales is by focusing on REAL people and REAL features within the magazine as a way to combat the insurgence of #nofilter and seemingly airbrushed pictures constantly floating around social media.”

“Perhaps Rodale’s words were finally heard because the November 2016 issue of Vogue, with cover star Emily Blunt, is titled Vogue’s REAL issue and a ‘Model-Free Zone’; it features a photo shoot of ‘real’ life women in designer attire, something that readers can relate to,” Guy explains. “This sounds like a dream of many of us, I’m sure!”

Clearly, publishers are evolving in how they reach their audience and what kind of content they deliver. And this evolution is built on the fact that readers still love to engage in print.

“Print magazines have the same sensory quality as books: the feel of the silky pages, the sight of the visually alluring images, the smell of the new edition in your hands are all elements that could be the defining reason as to why print magazines will never disappear from our lives,” she writes.

For the next generation of magazine consumers, print looks to be very much a part of their multi-channel media experience.