Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Magazine Clones

The March 2012 issue of the new redesigned Glamour

I have a confession. It's kind of big deal. Are you ready?

I don't read any of the fashion magazines. Sad to say, but that ship has sailed long ago. I'm a little heartbroken about it if you want to know the truth. Magazines were so much a part of my life; from growing up in Buffalo and reading my older sister's subscription to Vogue, to my high school years in Pittsburgh and devouring my own subscription to the "brand new in the U.S." Elle. And then of course, my many years working at some of the most glossy of the fashion mags: Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and In Style.

My disinterest in magazines didn't just happen once I had given birth to my now 1 year old daughter (yes, Miss Thing has turned 1 already as of Jan 31st!). It was a slow process that started....well....about a few years before I resigned from my job at In Style!

But it really kicked in once I got to Omaha and continued in full force as the years passed. My interest in looking at fashion just wasn't there anymore. But didn't I need to know what was "in fashion" and "trendy" for Trocadero?

Nah, not really. My store has always been an homage to "the little finds" those things that I loved while living in NYC and continue to enjoy. It's also more about the classic, solid, seasonal items that are perennial favorites. And then it's about discovering the perfect _____ and showcasing it. When the store is peppered with a few "trendy" items for the season, that's enough for me. And I really don't need a fashion magazine to tell me what is in right now. I have my own radar for that (or the internet!).

When I saw this article today in the New York Times, it made me think about the magazines I used to read and love. I never was much of a Glamour reader except for a brief period during college. So my initial reaction was, "Good for Cindi Leive! (the editor-in-chief)" for changing it up....except that by the  words of the article, it doesn't sound like it's much different from what Cosmopolitan is offering these days...or Marie Claire....or In Style.

I flipped through an In Style about 2 years ago and it had photos of people I used to work with on its pages. I don't remember the last time a model was on the cover of Glamour. And I don't know about you, but I am so much interested in seeing on the pages of my fashion magazines, clothing and accessories that we can't see or get, instead of the "copycat" items that aren't really the same. I don't want to see the watered down versions -- I can do that myself by driving to the mall -- I want to see the real deals, the stuff that we "normal folk" don't get to see. I want to see on the pages of fashion magazines the designer stuff, the runway, the exclusives.

Instead, magazines have all turned into one another (In Style is now Lucky, Glamour is now In Style, Marie Claire is now Glamour). And they're all mini catalogues showcasing -- dare I say it -- mass advertiser's products. I don't want to see the funnel coat from Ann Taylor. I want to see the original from Prada. I don't get to see that living in Omaha. If I want to see the Ann Taylor version, I can hop online or drive to Village Pointe. I also think it's important to let the consumer interpret their own version and "discover" the look-a-like. I'm not into the masses wearing the same thing because it was featured in a magazine. And, yes, I understand the business of magazines...and that they are bound to editorially feature all those advertiser products or else risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if the company decides to...well, pull their advertising for lack of editorial coverage! I know. I know. It's one dirty game....but it's the truth, Ruth (and not Ruth Whitney, the landmark editor of Glamour, who was unfairly pushed out by the Conde Nastys and then died less than a couple years later).

I don't want dumbed-down fashion in my glossies. And I also don't want every magazine looking like one another. So until that changes, I think I'll stick to my ban. I don't know; what do you think? Am I missing something?

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