In this new age, all signs point to digital life and the popularity of instant gratification. Does that leave any room for printed varieties like fashion magazines that were once the catalyst of the fashion industry and luxury brands? With so many factors at play, it’s certainly a subject worth exploring in a bit more detail.
Before the internet, print was a thriving industry full of fashion education and styling inspiration. Fashion magazines gave readers a visual representation by providing a styling guide. Readers also receive tips for styling, current trends, and how to improve their careers. Magazines also serve as a shopping guide with styles to wear, color options, and how to pair them. The magazine was influential in educating the masses on how to dress, what’s trending, and establishing which brands to buy. Vogue is a widely accepted magazine brand that was established in 1916 during WWI; since then many other fashion magazines came to be, but none quite as luxurious and iconic. Print magazines like Vogue were created as a source of escapism from reality, full of glamour and beauty.
The Influence of Gen Z
Gen Z is digital. When questioned about familiarity with fashion magazines, there wasn’t much to uncover. Much of the Gen Z population follow fashion magazines on social media like Instagram. Most fashion followers had heard of Vogue, but their familiarity with fashion magazines stopped there. Luxury brands have increased online ad spending tremendously within the past decade, but the amount of ad spending used for print has steadily decreased. It is safe to say that fashion brands are still thriving, but their publications are better received when offered digitally. Instant information is non-negotiable for Gen Z, and they are the future.
The pandemic sent a surge to luxury brands, leaving their sales plummeting as workers were unable to tend to their work, and consumers began to reevaluate their spending habits, which have gone far beyond the prompting of necessity. People are starting to resent the celebrities and elites that live a life of privilege far beyond normal means. This meant editors had to shift the focus from pushing high-end skincare and booking an A-list celebrity for the cover to accurately depicting the heroes of the pandemic, which are the healthcare workers who went to frontlines without hesitation.
Budget cuts are another major factor to consider as staffing cuts emerged and editors scrambled to keep their ship afloat with less than the bare necessities. Traditional print advertising had seen substantial declines before the pandemic, and since it has hit the scene, print has become even less of a priority. Amid the chaos, editors said that the pandemic allowed them to start fresh and hash out ideas they wouldn’t have otherwise thought up. They considered sending cameras to people’s homes or having celebrities use their semi-professional setups at home to shoot interviews and answer questions. It is worth noting that during March 2020, magazine consumption was up nearly 85% percent compared to 2019, but that spike alone isn’t enough to save the print industry of fashion magazines.
My final thoughts after much deliberation and research: Magazines are still relevant, with a major caveat. Consumers must have the convenience factor, and digital formats allow for that. Just as the news changes daily, so does the fashion world with new brand/celebrity collaborations and fresh products to review. There’s a need for fashion magazines, but the need for hard copy has lost its luster—quite literally.
Before you go, there’s more— check out Is Sewing A Dying Art? for another riveting discussion on fashion-related topics, or get your creative juices flowing by checking out some of our free sewing patterns.
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