Weekly Words: 16th September 2017

Departures & New Arrivals

There has been a lot of movement already this fashion month and we just left New York. Instead of the changes coming at the fashion houses, it’s the media side of things where all of the changes are happening – specifically, in editorial staff at the top American magazines. In a somewhat shocking move, it was announced that Graydon Carter, 25 year editor of Vanity Fair, was stepping down from his position at the end of the year. This is a loss that will definitely be felt, from his often hilarious editor’s letter to his casual beef with the president and his overarching presence on the whole world of Vanity Fair as a whole. It is the only magazine which I can consistently read cover to cover and I hope the quality remains high. There is currently no word yet on who his replacement will be but apparently he left to protect himself from having to engage in huge layoffs to his editorial team, something that VF has effectively managed to avoid thus fur but that is inevitable given the Conde Nast giant that backs them and the company-wide restructuring which has cost many employees their jobs. In the same week, Conde Nast lost another Editor-in-Chief. This time, it was Cindi Leive, 16-year editor of Glamour Magazine. Her successor is also yet to be announced although there are a couple of internal Conde Nast names in the running including the Teen Vogue EIC, Elaine Welteroth (NY Times did a great profile on her recently). However, I’d love it if Welteroth would stay at Teen Vogue because she has really changed that magazine for the better, making its content arguably more substantial than any other teen magazine in history, competing with major digital platforms like Refinery29. I find myself reading Teen Vogue articles online daily and I’m not even in their core target demographic anymore.

The next departure is that of Robbie Myers from Elle Magazine. Another editor-in-chief who has been at their position for almost two decades, Myers left to spend more time with her family and has instead moved to a consulting role for Hearst, the owner of Elle and rival of Conde Nast. Both of the major publishing companies have made changes in the past week. Myers replacement was announced very quickly though, giving the idea that her decision has been known about much longer than Carter’s at VF. Nina Garcia, a beloved editor and public figure (think Project Runway), is the new EIC, effective next Monday. I’m excited about this announcement because I think it is a role that Garcia definitely deserves. She does a lot of good things in the industry and seems to be a genuine, nurturing person who cares about fashion and wants to see young designers grow and flourish. I’m glad that I renewed my Elle subscription because I’m excited to see what direction she will take the magazine in.

Finally, NYLON Magazine, a top indie magazine of the 2000s turned e-commerce site / blog, has shuttered its print division, ceasing publication of the magazine (digital only now) and firing their entire print staff. This news has been met with fury from many staffers who feel they were the heart and soul of the magazine. It is horrible when people are thrown out of their jobs with no warning, and especially when the company didn’t even try to transition them into the digital roles. How could your print beauty editor not write the same stories for online? Seems crazy. NYLON isn’t a magazine that I have ever read or really connected to so I don’t take this loss too personally, but I do think it is sad because I am a big fan of print magazine and I don’t want to see the industry crumble. There are always whispers of which publication will go down next and it is sad when they actually do. Digital isn’t the only way forward, you know. If magazines don’t have the budget to produce monthly, they should go quarterly. Take CR Fashion Book as an example of a great fashion magazine which started off independent and then was bought by a large publishing house (whilst still retaining it’s publishing calendar). Then there are smaller publications like Emily Oberg’s Sporty & Rich, which is essentially a zine that she publishes periodically. Maybe small is the way to go? Whatever the solution, in my opinion, going digital only isn’t the best idea. How do you convert your print readership to digital only? How do you push through all of the noise online? These are things that magazines and their higher-ups need to work out.

Myers and Garcia

Eve Gardiner is the founder and content creator behind evegardiner.com

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