Whilst 99% of paid for fashion magazines are declining in drastic numbers and dwindling down the drain (Stylist’s numbers are looking pretty chipper and Vogue, well… Vogue is Vogue, it’ll always be fine) there’s a new fresh glossy fashion launch that’s about to make you question whether things are set to change.
Either their publishers (they don’t belong to one of the biggies like Conde Nast or Hearst) know something the rest of us journalist peasants don’t or they’re ridiculously naive.
Hello! Fashion launched this week, with a team of some of the hardest working, talented journos in the business, and yes, it’s a style-orientated spin-off of showbiz mag Hello! The same mag which printed nice images of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s wedding. Right.
The thing that sets this monthly apart from all the rest? It costs £1.
Last week, before the new launch was unveiled, me and the boyfriend got into a heated debate over our cheesy pasta about the future of fashion magazines. I know, who knew he had such a great interest in them? Wild shock to them all. He questioned why none of the publishing houses were doing anything to save them. I said that there wasn’t anything, the Internet had pretty much entirely stolen their readership and that was that. But then he questioned why, if most of their revenue comes from advertising, and Stylist is blooming so marvellously, they didn’t all just lower their price, instead of charging the best part of a fiver for something they could essentially read for free online?
I said he was wrong. Magazines were dead. Price would do nothing. Stylist was working so well because there were imbeciles like me out there who still had no clue how to use Virgin Media WiFi underground, and also, because sometimes by the time to get to your commute home you have 2 per cent battery left and have no choice but to read Stylist or wilt and die from heat and boredom aboard the Central Line.
They aim to get a circulation of 135,000, which would put them just behind InStyle, Grazia and Elle, and their target audience is the 18-35 market who apparently, according to research have ‘digital fatigue’.
I’ve got doubts, because I’m a ridiculous cynic for anything that includes fashion and beauty on paper. Unless it’s blotting paper or a fashion week invite, obvs.
But maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m a know-it-all 24-year-old who thinks I’ve got the entire future of journalism sussed, despite only working on a few websites over a few short years.
For me it’s more the branding. The HFM that sounds like FHM, the fact that there’s pretty much no-one, aside from the fashion team at Hello! Who have probably ever thought they needed an entire team of 20+ for a spin-off mag.
They say that the millennial generation, despite being obsessed with blogs and social media, have a thirst for curated and edited content. If that’s the case, we just need a bloody decent fashion website, not a mag, is that not the case?
I see no research that suggests a thirst and need to revert to print.
But I hope I’m ridiculously wrong and will have to hang my head in defeat and admit that there’s still more to journalism in 2014 than bloggers and listicles and breaking news on Twitter, if only for the jobs this new publication has created.
Good luck ladies, it looks like it’s a tough old audience out there.