The End Of Glamour Magazine And The Future Of Lifestyle Content

If you spent your Friday knee-deep in takeout coffee and pastries and Whatsapp chats about weekend plans, you might have missed the stonkingly ginormous news that broke in the journalism world.

And that, my gals, is that Glamour Magazine is coming to the end of its life as we know it.

Gone will be the monthly slice of women’s lifestyle content, mingled with fashion and beauty and celeb interviews, and in its place will be a twice-yearly beauty bible.

They will, of course, be keeping their website, and transforming that into a beauty-focused destination too.

And while a lot of this doesn’t feel like a huge shock – after all, magazine circulation figures have been declining for years – it’s still incredibly sad, if not least for all the wonderfully talented people who will lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

But for me it’s sad for another reason – it’s sad because it marks the end of an era.

Glamour Magazine was my best friend, my motivator, my escape and my shoulder to lean on, years before the internet and the blogging world existed to the extent it does today.

I looked forward to picking it up the day it came out and devouring it from the common room with a can of Diet Coke and a bag of Fizzy Fangs when I should have been working on art coursework or flirting with boys around the pool table or something.

It made me feel less alone at a time when I felt alone most of the time. It was a sanctuary and a respite, someone – or I guess, something – that assured me there was another life out there. That things could get better.

But, more than that, Glamour Magazine was the very reason I chose to do a degree in Journalism, the very reason I stuck out university and the very reason I didn’t stray down some hideous life path lined with stinging nettles and goblins.

And maybe even the reason I got into blogging and was able to make a living out of it.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I was 18 and at sixth form. My career guidance counselor had printed me off job specifications for everything from interior designer and fashion designer to child psychologist and journalist, and at some point I ran with the journalist idea and ended up at Kingston University.

I bought that magazine every month without fail, and on the months where they gave away free Clinique miniatures, I’d buy three or four.

I was a loyal fan girl. A loyal fan girl who so desperately wanted to write for them and applied for every internship they offered.

And, after I’d graduated, struggled to find a journalism job and ended up in an estate agent role I hated, I had a dream where I’d been at a dinner party with Glamour’s editor, Jo Elvin.

I tweeted about it, and to my complete shock and OMFG WHAT EVEN IS THE WORLD surprise, she tweeted back.

She ended up not only offering to look over my CV for me (she said it was great, but my line about loving Harry Potter could be seen as immature by prospective employers – fair tbh), but getting me that v lucrative internship.

Whilst I never actually took the internship – by the time I was booked in for it, I already had a paid job that was vaguely media-related – she gave me the kick up the butt I needed to chase my dreams, to throw myself into the journalism waters no matter how treacherous they seemed, and for that I am eternally grateful.

For me Glamour defines my ~coming of age~ just as much as Ann Summers parties, intense hangover anxiety and Myspace does.

And so, regardless of whether you still read it religiously or only snap it up from Gatwick Airport as a little summin’ summin’ to read on the plane, it very much feels like we’re closing a chapter and saying goodbye to an old friend.

That we are losing something that defined an important stage in our lives.

I don’t pretend to know what the future of journalism and content-creating holds – admittedly, I haven’t bought a magazine since I worked for one myself – but there is sadness in the idea that long-form writing and story-telling could be dying out.

That content is no longer reserved for the quiet moments alone with yourself, a cuppa and a pack of biscuits.

That is is something we devour in short snippets via Instagram stories and Twitter, and the blog posts we get three sentences into before thinking nah, not gripping enough.

That our attention spans are no longer made for the kinds of features that once occupied an entire afternoon.

Because if Glamour can’t keep the magic of magazines alive, can anyone?

In the latest stats reported back in August, Glamour saw an 8.2% loss in year-on-year sales, taking them to a circulation figure of 275,536.

Which actually, in the women’s sector is pretty bloody strong and feisty.

In comparison, Cosmopolitan saw a 2.2% decrease to 403,887, whilst Marie Claire dropped to 155,723, Grazia to 110,031 and LOOK to 59,390.

There is no doubt that over the next couple of years, more of our once-favourite magazines will continue to cease publication and slowly die out. You just can’t ignore the fact that circulation figures for the women’s lifestyle sector have been falling dramatically for the past decade and will likely continue to do so.

All we can do as writers is to continue to keep looking out for trends – what are people reading? What are people sharing? What’s bringing in readers and traffic? And attempt to keep up with the ever changing face of lifestyle journalism by adapting the way we work and the way we package up and distribute our content.

Because if one thing’s for sure, nobody’s safe anymore.


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