With consumers wrapped up in a digital revolution, this is perhaps one of the biggest talking points in journalism since the internet took the world by storm.
My verdict? As a collective, no I don’t think they are, but the dynamics of fashion journalism is definitely changing and it seems for a new fashion publication to survive within the print industry, they need to provide something more valuable to consumers than just the regurgitation of trends and what’s hot and what’s not this season.
Just think, if we’re looking for the latest seasonal trends or outfit inspiration for an event later in the week, do we all run down to the local newsagents and pick up a magazine? No. I mean, why would we when we have little electronic devices that can do it all for us from the comfort of our own home?
We can pop into google ‘seasonal trends’ to be presented with online coverage of latest catwalk events, or simply scroll through Instagram to be bombarded with outfit inspiration worn by celebrities and fashion bloggers. As a result, popular fashion magazines have lost their power as the primary dictator of fashion which was, pretty much, their sole purpose of creation. This has led to the destruction of some print titles altogether, such as ID Magazine, which is now online-only.
Larger titles, however, have evolved in order to keep up with this, with ELLE, Vogue and Cosmo placing some of their content in the public domain (for free, let’s not forget to add), offering online-only subscription services, and in some cases, exclusive content for social networking followers.
So why are people still buying print magazines?
Traditional fashion magazines hold a legacy which consumers value. Although circulation figures are slowly declining, people are still buying Vogue and ELLE, two of the oldest high-end fashion magazines, despite reems and reems of available content online. Why? Because these titles take the consumer on a journey through a fantasy world of fashion. Okay so we might not be able to afford that £775 pair of Louboutins or £2,000 Chanel dress, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to look at? This, alongside the tangibility and creative design of a print magazine, are features that can never, and will never, be replaced by online magazine journalism.
Yet, in terms of modern print magazines, such as Dazed and Love, circulation figures are in fact, on the rise. Woohoo! But what do these titles have to offer that make them more desirable to the consumer to buy? Some people are suggesting the use of fashion as a political force. Fashion journalism is becoming a platform to highlight societal issues, for example through the exploration of gender neutral clothing, instead of just a source of new fashion, which we can access through many forms of online media. Big titles have recognised this and have started adapting some of these principles with the latest copy of ELLE including an article titled: ‘The New Unisex’ – his, hers everyones, for example.
I feel like I’m going on a bit now and there is so much more that can be argued but the internet has pretty much changed the whole dynamics of fashion journalism. Classic titles such as Vogue and ELLE are likely to remain alive in print due to their history, yet for new fashion titles looking to enter a pretty saturated market, they’re going to have to find new ways to communicate with a fashion audience on a deeper, more meaningful level.
I think eventually there will come a time when (sadly) print magazines will be eradicated altogether, but I don’t think that’s going to be any-time soon. That’s likely to be when flying cars and teleportation are also a thing…
I would love to hear other people’s views on this so drop a comment below. And for those of you who, like me, actually go out and buy print magazines, why do you do it and which titles are your favourite?
Thanks for reading!