With the announcement of the shuttering of Teen People magazine’s print edition many have begun to wonder if there is a movement exclusively towards new media. Even in the fashion world the print vs online phenomena is taking a new tack. With the rousing success of online publications such as Hint, Zoozoom, Theblowup and countless others, the print world looks mired in the old, slow-as-molasses production schedules, ineffectual presentations and same old rehash features.
A webmaster of a fashion site told me about a year ago that print magazines routinely go to her and her site for content ideas. The harsh unaccepting world of established media outlets for fashion outsiders now seem less harsh and more accepting if in name only. They still dictate from their ivory towers in New York, they still -at times- publish as if new media is some sort of foreign land, but ever so slowly they are starting to realize that a footprint online is better than none at all.
While most fashion sites run by large print publishers exist as a subscription driver to their print versions, a growing number feature original content not found in the aforementioned print editions. Style.com definitely takes the lead in this regard. They feature photoshoots and up to the minute reporting that a reader won’t find on sister publications Vogue and W.
The interesting thing about online fashion magazines that you don’t find with print is the diversity in voice. Online fashion sites are run in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and everywhere in-between. They are run by all sorts and types. They provide range that you may not find in your (insert favorite magazine here). It’s this openness and low barrier to entry that allows online magazines to exist that would not have if the internet didn’t exist. Conversely, because almost anyone can publish a fashion blog and to a lesser extent online magazine, the accuracy, fact checking and authoritative voice from the ivory tower is lost in the online world but reliably exists offline and in print.
So now the question becomes where does the future lie? While not attempting to sound prophetic, I can say with a certain sense of assuredness that print fashion magazines will always exist in one form or another.The oddmakers in Vegas may disagree with me but what do they know? There’s something about receiving that 700 page magazine (most of it glossy ads) with 2 pages of features in the mail or at a newsstand. That stack of magazines in my living room grows everday. And while there are no moving images or music set to a W feature story, it’s great reading on the commute to work or a lazy Sunday. The internet may be the future of fashion media but print will be the foundation on which it is built.