Business of fashion

Media merch is the new fashion flex



New York Herald Tribune t-shirt Jean Seberg

Reading about the ubiquity of the New Yorker tote recently got me thinking about the rise of media branded merch.

The New Yorker has just expanded its merch line, allowing its cultured readership to outwardly express their taste and identity. As traditional magazine sales and ad revenues decline, reinforcing the ‘brand’ is a commercial savvy move for media titles. In a timely plot twist, it also effectively lets the reader advertise the magazine, instead of the magazine selling advertising to its readers. “The New Yorker knows that it is now a brand, that it represents a cross-section of a very specific, cultured, informed, democratic public, who knows who they are (or aspires to be) and loves to show it off,” observes NSS Magazine.

New Yorker tote bag by NSS magazine

In a similar vein, the New York Times has been enjoying its elevated style status, with its logo and ad campaigns being co-opted in recent years by the likes of Etudes and Sacai as part of official collaborations. It reminded me of my 20-something year-old New York Herald Tribune tee. A riff on the cinematic classic worn by Jean Seberg in A Bout de Souffle (top), the combo of gothic nameplate typography and trusted legacy journalism seem particularly resonant right now. (You can actually buy an official copy here, among a variety of NYT-branded fare.)

New York Herald Tribune tee

Some other media brands that have good merch: Monocle, IDEA Books (it kind of counts) and The London Review of Books*, which sells not only a number of chic book bags but branded chocolate and this cool enamel pin too.

And if they’re open to requests, I’d suggest Air Mail (a red and white tote!), the FT (a cute peach sweatshirt?), and Porter magazine (maybe a Sporty & Rich-style logo cap)…

 

*As I’m wont to do, I was diverted down a Google tunnel while researching links and found this revealing article on the LRB from 2014. The business model is most fascinating!

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: To come, NSS, New York Times
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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TRP Travel Retail Style Index: January 2021



Helena Rubinstein gold leaf hand massage CDFG Sanya

Welcome to the latest travel retail column for DRG by Alison Farrington aka The Retail Planner (TRP).

As the first update of the New Year, we kick off with a brief look at the new laws for duty free here in the UK, as well as some positive retail news from China.


1/ SEE EU LATER.
This month, there will undoubtedly be much Brexsplaining going on as travellers come to terms with the cancellation of tax-free shopping refunds for luxury fashion purchases in the UK. As of 1 January, the government has abolished the VAT Refund Scheme for non-EU travellers in the UK, meaning that shoppers from overseas can no longer claim their tax back on luxury purchases when they return home, unless the goods are shipped separately from the traveller (cost prohibitive). Meanwhile, the good news is that duty-free shopping is back for travel between the UK and EU (for alchohol and tobacco only), which means a Brexit bonanza for fans of the booze cruise. (more…)



Dior X Kenny Scharf AW21 is the post-pop post-pandemic tonic we all need



Dior X Kenny Scharf AW21

Wow, what a trip!

When I heard Dior menswear was collaborating with Kenny Scharf for AW21 I tried to keep my expectations in check. You never know quite which way these things will go, but I’m happy to report the collection looks superb.

Scharf is a painter who achieved fame in the 80s alongside his NYC club kid cohorts Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I didn’t get my first close-up look of his eye-popping work till the late 80s. (more…)



Positive fashion: Gabriela Hearst is the new cd at Chloe



Gabriela Hearst is the new creative director at Chloe

Great to hear that Gabriela Hearst is the new creative director at Chloe. She has proven sustainability credentials, a contemporary-classic point of view (which I prefer to her predecessor’s) and clearly knows how to design fantastic bags.

It will be interesting to see if she can retain her considered approach while working for a brand that thrives on constant consumption. Perhaps we’ll see her instil a slower pace of product release. (more…)