Monday, August 8, 2011

Fashion magazines vs. fashion blogs

There is a trend that has been going on for a while: the fashion blogs.  They sprang and still spring like mushrooms, and some are a great alternative to hardcopy fashion magazines that you can buy at a store or subscribe to.  My two particular favorites are The Sartorialist and Garance Doré. I found both few years ago and watched as they banded together into a quietly formidable force.  The Sartorialist is a brainchild of photographer Scott Schuman.  It is “a two-way dialogue about the world of fashion and its relationship to daily life”.  A splendid platform for Scott’s fashion photography, mainly full of photos of stylishly original fashonistas captured around the streets of New York, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and any other place Scott happens to be, with Scott’s comments, this blog is truly other than the marketing push of the magazines - it is a treat for a stylist in you.  Garance Doré does not fall behind at all.  It is quite on par.  Garance, a frustrated illustrator inspired by Scott’s photography, also takes to the streets and peppers her blog with minimalist, but über stylish, illustrations of her own.  See both blogs for yourself.  You will see what I mean. 

Can fashion magazines compete?  The approach is different in the affordability of proposed style.  The cost of accessibility differs, too.  If you already surf the internet, blogs will cost you no more than your connection.  The magazines… well, that’s a different story.  Typically around $5 a pop, less with subscription, the magazines also take up space, and if you lack for display or storage space, you have another problem right there.  Sure, having stacks of issues going way back and diligently archived can be a badge of honor, or rather glamour, if you have the space and the inclination to collect.  Otherwise…  With the advent of electronic platforms like the iPad, you can buy the magazines and contain them within the device, but still at the same price per issue as in the store.  The subscription option does not seem to be available.  Half an advantage then. 

You can see which side of the fence I am edging towards.  More so if occasionally a singular fashion spread from the magazines is simply brought to my attention via the blog.  Nice and simple.  A good example is The Sartorialist’s July 6th blog on the Vogue Italia June 2011 issue that hit New York with its super sexy cover and a fashion spread titled “Belle Vere” that is finger licking good – Vogue Italia has had the style edge, and edge is what I mean, over the much touted, but tame Vogue U.S., but I digress.  To top it off, there is a link directly to the Vogue Italia website with all the visual goodies of the spread.  No need to get the hardcopy.  Let me be fair though on the blogger vs. big publisher offerings issue., Condé Nast’s response to the digital age, is worth the surf – it is like a little fashion guidebook – and what most magazines share through their websites is not too shabby at all.  But as I said before, the affordability of the proposed style is for a different pay pocket.  Not mine.  Yours?  Still, one can be inspired.  Isn’t that what the fashion magazines are for for most of us? 

So the questions are: Will the good old-fashioned hardcopy survive the time?  Will fashion magazines preserve their relevance as the first place to go to for the latest in style?  Or are we looking at cross-pollination or mutual support between the bloggers and the fashion editors?  Where will the advertising money stand in all this?  Who really gives us a glimpse of style?

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