Here’s why we still need to support fashion magazines

Published December 29, 2020, 10:06 AM

by John Legaspi

It’s time to sit back and flip some pages

Do you still remember the last time you flipped a page of a fashion magazine, be in awe for its images, or even finished an article published on its glossy leaves?

If you still do recall, good for you and thank you for still supporting our industry. For the ones who can’t, it’s okay we don’t blame you. With the free content on the internet, spending money on print is quite impractical. But one thing is for sure: While digital continues to dominate every industry battle today, for the publishing sector, its stories immortalized by ink and paper will always be a special experience compared to the ones coded online.

Recently, a quick scroll on Tiktok and you’ll find former supermodel Tyra Banks and global Filipino influencer Bryan Boy flexing their latest subscriptions of their favorite magazines.

According to them, magazines, particularly the fashion titles, still bear truth and fantasy in its pages by featuring things that are “relevant” in culture and photos that are “to-die-for, ” and they asked everyone to continue supporting fashion print media.

Unfortunately due to Covid-19 pandemic, the situation for the print publishing industry continues to decline. This year has been a turbulent and reckoning one for international titles when it comes to their profitability and diversity. So looking at how things are, do we still need to support fashion magazines?

For one, fashion magazines help many artists, writers, photographers, stylists, designers, and the list goes on. They set a platform for young creatives to get their foot in the industry. These magazines recognize their talents and validate their works. 

Andre Brouillette and Lou Yanong, together with Issa Pressman, headline Garage Magazine‘s Young Talents 2020 Issue

Also, fashion magazines curate stories written by the best voices. Let us be reminded that some of the world’s best essays and stories are published in what people think as some magazine title. Through their every page they take you to wonderland. Sure, you can always find great images and good reads online, but nothing can compare to having something tangible in your hands, something you can treasure, and going a little deep here, a piece of history.

Just like this year, we saw again the power that comes from fashion magazine covers. During the height of a global health crisis, many magazines opted to honor modern heroes and reflect the world’s current state on their covers.

Vogue Italia launched a blank white cover featuring only its masthead, a symbol of rebirth, purity, and the color of the lab coats donned by medical workers. Vogue Portugal’s cover titled “Freedom on Hold” presented two models kissing while wearing face masks, telling a story that “2020’s freedom will be recognizable like this: in confinement.” 

Even local fashion titles took it to their magazine covers to spread a word of hope amid this time of crisis. For its April-May cover, Mega Magazine collaged images of past cover stars with the theme “Stronger Together #RisePH.” Philippine Tatler highlighted Filipino “Heroes” during the time of pandemic on its May cover. 

More recently, shake ups in the editorial structure in some of the international publishing’s giants happened to strengthen their print titles. Oprah Magazine editor-in-chief (EIC) Lucy Kalin is now the vice president for print content in Hearst Publishing.

Apart from being the EIC of American Vogue and creative director of Condé Nast, Anna Wintour has also been appointed as the publishing house’s first-ever chief content officer of the media conglomerate.

Also stepping up is British Vogue EIC Edward Enninful, as he was named European editorial director for the markets owned and operated by Condé Nast in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. On the other hand, EIC of Vanity Fair Italia, Simone Marchetti will oversee Vanity Fair’s editions in France, Italy, and Spain as the title’s European editorial director.

So, don’t be fooled by your misconceptions about fashion magazines. They may be a “vehicle for luxury fantasies”or “a tool for escapism” as some put it, but we cannot deny that these magazines beholds curated culture at the palm of your hands. And as global chief officer of Condé Nast Wolfgang Blau says to The New York Times, “Like music or art, fashion that also acknowledges its outside context can also produce a sense of connectedness and belonging—something that becomes increasingly important as people start thinking about identity while cooped up in their homes.”

Celebrity model Hideo Muraoka on the cover of Wedding Essentials Grooms

In case you need a rundown of what to expect on the newsstands next year, here are the January 2021 covers of some of international and local fashion magazines.

Paloma Elsesser for American Vogue
Zendaya for Elle US
Vanessa Kirby for Harper’s Bazaar US
Belle Daza for Mega Magazine
Pia Wurtzbach for Metro Magazine
EXO Sehun for Dazed
Jodie Comer for InStyle US
Michael Cinco’s fall/winter bridal couture 2020 on the cover of Wedding Essentials Magazine‘s The Real Weddings Issue