The culture of fashion: what next for magazines?

Document Journal Amoako Boafo Marie Humbert

Out of crisis comes opportunity. We hope.

The Business of Fashion has a story on the future of fashion media, highlighting the struggles for magazines of operating with smaller ad revenues then ever.

There will for sure be casualties but those will likely have been coming for a while. There is just too much content out there and especially now, more short form video, memes, social media and digital newsletters than ever.

I expect the legacy players may go for reduced frequencies of print publications, both to alleviate pressure on printing businesses operating with reduced capacity and in response to market interest. As I’ve said before, the likes of Condé Nast and Hearst have survived wars, depressions and recessions in the past, they will want to protect their brands and will have the means to weather the storms. (World of Interiors and UK Vogue subscriptions are currently being offered at £12 for twelve issues.) Some of the weaker publications will fail but as one wise wag once told me, ‘recessions get rid of the shit’. Ow, harsh!

But this will make way for innovation. There are interesting parallels with the department store industry which is going through its own ‘innovate or die’ transition. I predict we’ll see some inventive grass roots media emerging, whether digital, print, or something else entirely. Bring back fanzines I say!

Right now, the publications I’m spending money on are the infrequent niche ones like Fantastic Man, Apartamento and Document Journal (above – the new issue features a portrait of Marie Humbert by Amoako Boafo on the cover). I can’t say there are any online media brands that I visit religiously; I find the volume of output exhausting. Paper on the other hand is expensive and the time it takes to savour a good magazine is a luxury. I value celeb-free slow reads that profile artists, writers and visionaries over airheads, but that’s just me. I think it’s important to preserve the culture of magazines, so for now I’m buying less but better.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Document Journal
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