Vogue or Vlog?

Fashion bloggers are continuing to outdo established fashion magazines. What will the landscape of fashion journalism look like in the future?

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In 1892, the first issue of Vogue was published in America, transforming the landscape of the fashion industry and shaping global fashion trends[1]. Various monthly fashion magazines and newspapers have provided society with fashion critiques and the latest trends and styles for centuries. However, with the revolution of the Internet and an increase in access to technology, society is increasingly engaging in ‘citizen journalism’ and creating online fashion blogs, vlogs and social media accounts, resulting in an influx of fashion content on the Internet. Furthermore, this has provided consumers with a vast choice in fashion content. Bloggers with no formal journalistic or fashion training are outdoing established market leaders with decades of success, such as Vogue and Marie Claire. Fashion blogs have become a major trend in journalism. What tactics and strategies are fashion bloggers using to attract large amounts of readers?

 

It is crucial that aspiring fashion journalists understand the current fashion industry, enabling them to keep up with the cutthroat, fast paced industry where innovation is crucial for success. Is there a bright and visible future for fashion journalists and the monthly fashion magazine? Or will fashion bloggers continue to capture readers and gradually conquer the fashion sphere?

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Will magazines eventually die out?

According to the Pew Research Centre, all print media, including magazines and newspapers, have witnessed a continuing decline in readership since the revolution of the Internet and an increase in access to technology[2]. As a result of decreases in readership, advertising revenue is declining, as companies choose to advertise their products in improved ways. Moreover, digital advertising is much cheaper than print advertising, prompting businesses to change advertising mediums. Like daily newspapers and magazines, fashion magazines are observing similar trends in readership. Figure 1 displays a decrease in Australian fashion magazine readership from 2015 to 2016. Raw data from Roy Morgan Research[3] and infro.am, a data visualisation website[4], were both used to create this particular bar chart. It is evident that established industry leaders, including Marie Claire, Vogue and Women’s Weekly, have also seen decreases in readership, despite their prestigious reputation. There were no apparent increases in readership for Australian fashion magazines during the course of the 12 months. The need for fashion journalists to write, photograph and interview is diminishing.

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Australian Fashion Magazine Readership created using infogr.am  (data from Roy Morgan Research).

With the turn of the 21st century, a generation with new wants, needs and conveniences follow. Fashion bloggers have the advantage of publishing content in a timely manner through the use of the Internet and various social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. For example, fashion bloggers were able to quickly broadcast the New York Fashion Show and Melbourne Fashion Show as it occurred. Consumers of fashion magazines are required to wait a month or two before the magazine is written, edited, published and placed on the stand in stores. The journalistic process for magazines is much more structured than blogs. Fashion bloggers serve an entirely different purpose to fashion journalists.

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Blogs allow fashion bloggers to publish content quickly.

 

Consequently, famous editors such as Anna Wintour[5] of Vogue and Joanna Coles[6] of Cosmopolitan are not the only influential journalists in fashion. Realms such as the Blonde Salad by Chiara Ferragni, Tuula Vintage by Jessica Stein and Gary Pepper Girl by Nicole Warn have become the primary sources for fashion. The boundary between elite editors and trendy bloggers has blurred, resulting in many bloggers being invited to attend fashion weeks with premium front row seating.

 

In addition to the prolonged journalistic progress, fashion magazines also need to be purchased. Australian fashion magazine, Vogue, charges $19.99 for a digital subscription and $89.95 for a print subscription of the magazine for 12 months[7]. A purchase of a single copy from a supermarket or the local newsagency amounts to $8.50[8]. Other fashion magazines follow similar pricing, with Cosmopolitan at $7.95, Elle at $8.50 and Marie Claire at $8.50[9]. Fashion blogs are free of cost and are highly accessible to audiences, creating extreme competition for magazine readership. With declines in disposable income, increases in unemployment rates and economic instabilities on a national and international level, many consumers are regarding fashion magazines as ‘non-essential,’ further boosting the circulation of fashion blogs internationally.

Unlike fashion magazines, readers can personally relate to fashion bloggers, as they often appear as ‘normal or ‘ordinary.’ Bloggers are usually featured in photographs published on their blog and additionally share various moments in their life via Instagram and Snapchat. Countless fashion bloggers create additional visual blogs through social media sites such as Instagram, to attract additional viewers. These accounts are characterised by selfies and several photographs of their outfits, glamorous lives, aesthetically pleasing foods, parties and travels. Audiences view bloggers as ‘normal’ girls cooperating a pair of op shop denim shorts with a designer singlet for an OOTD (outfit of the day) post.

In addition, fashion magazines, like Vogue, repeatedly feature models on their covers. These photographs are generally photoshopped, generating a flawless model with zero imperfections. Vogue’s 2013 March edition featured Australian model, Miranda Kerr, with immaculate hair, flawless skin and smooth legs.   This further contributes to the elitism of fashion magazines and associated difficulties in relating to the content on a personal level.

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Will fashion magazines still receive readership in the future?

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Created using Piktochart.

Australian travel and fashion blogger, Jessica Stein, describes her blog, Tuula Vintage, as “A personal diary of wanderlust and an overflowing wardrobe. [10]” Stein has over 2.2 million Instagram followers, 39 thousand Twitter followers and 700 thousand pageviews a month. Vogue Australia has 441 thousand Instagram followers, 154 thousand Twitter followers and 1.5 million page views a month[11]. Since establishing her blog in 2010, Stein is now featured in “The 20 Most Influential Personal Style bloggers: 2016 Edition[12]. Considering Vogue Australia has a large fashion team with impressive credentials, consisting of an Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editor, Fashion Director, Art Director, Senior Designer, Senior Fashion Editor, Senior Market Editor and Bookings Director[13], Stein is highly successful in the fashion industry. Stein has a larger Instagram follower base and approximately half the amount of readership that Vogue Australia online receives. Stein not only shares ‘outfits of the day,’ but additionally shares selfies, brunch snaps, Coachella festivities, Mexican margaritas, Byron Bay sunsets and Greek Island hopping, which further makes fashion more relatable for her viewers. Moreover, viewers love seeing aesthetically pleasing and perfectly positioned photographs.

Take a look at why Tuula Vintage is attracting large amounts of audiences http://www.tuulavintage.com

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What is the future of fashion journalism?

Various fashion magazines are adapting to the Internet and digital age and are investing money and time into online websites and blogs. In an Interview with The Australian,[14] Vogue editor, Edwina McCann, says, “I would like obviously to get print sales up but digital is very much a focus – digital is the long term focus.” Moreover, Cosmopolitan has embraced the social media site, Snapchat, allowing viewers to quickly scroll through fun and engaging content.[15] Cosmopolitan editor, Joanna Coles[16] says, “this is a natural partnership and extension of the Cosmo brand, our readers live on Snapchat.” Several Fashion magazines have also featured famous fashion bloggers within their content. Elle, an established fashion, beauty and celebratory magazine, teamed up with fashion bloggers, in an attempt to stay relevant and up-to-date with audiences[17]. These are particular trends observed in several other magazine companies.

The fashion industry has changed dramatically since the first issue of Vogue was released in 1892. Fashion magazines are no longer the single port of call for fashion critiques, news, tips, trends and styles. Fashion bloggers are continuing to gain large amounts of readership with their fashion blogs, as well as their Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Youtube accounts. Moreover, the fact that these websites are free of cost and published in a timely manner, further resonates with audiences.

Fashion magazines and fashion blogs serve entirely different purposes. Fashion magazines will continue to criticize and detect new trends and styles within the fashion sphere. Furthermore, fashion blogs will continue to influence their audiences through their relatable content and engaging personalities. However, it is crucial that fashion magazines continue to innovate and keep up with current industry trends in order to maintain relevant. It can also be noted that the landscape of fashion journalism will continue to dramatically change in the next few decades, creating additional job opportunities for aspiring fashion journalists.

Take a look at what current Vogue journalists are saying about the future of fashion journalism http://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/street+style/fashions+new+showdown+bloggers+and+journalists,22655

 

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Word Count: 1493

[1] https://www.condenast.ru/en/portfolio/magazines/vogue/history/ (Accessed 8 May 2016)

[2] http://www.journalism.org/2015/04/29/newspapers-fact-sheet/ (Accessed 4 May 2016)

[3] http://www.roymorgan.com/industries/media/readership/magazine-readership (Accessed 13 May 2016)

[4] https://infogr.am/app/#/library (Accessed 6 May 2016)

[5] http://www.biography.com/people/anna-wintour-214147 (Accessed 15 May 2016)

[6] http://leanin.org/stories/joanna-coles/ (Accessed 15 May 2016)

[7] http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+magazine (Accessed 11 May 2016)

[8] http://shop.coles.com.au/online/national/stationery-media/magazines-section/fashion-lifestyle (Accessed 10 May 2016)

[9] http://shop.coles.com.au/online/national/stationery-media/magazines-section/fashion-lifestyle (Accessed 10 May 2016)

[10] http://www.tuulavintage.com/2013/10/oia-2/ (Accessed 12 May 2016)

[11] http://www.newscorpaustralia.com/brand/vogue-australia (Accessed 13 May 2016)

[12] http://fashionista.com/2016/03/style-bloggers-2016 (Accessed 13 May 2016)

[13] http://www.vogue.com.au/extra/contact+us/233 (Accessed 13 May 2016)

[14] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/editor-thrilled-to-be-back-in-vogue/story-e6frg996-1226359368580 (Accessed 16 May 2016)

[15] http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a35716/snapchat-discover/ (Accessed 12 May 2016)

[16] http://www.magazine.org/industry-news/press-releases/member-press-releases/cosmopolitan-debuts-snapchat-discover (Accessed 12 May 2016)

[17] http://blog.additionelle.com/2016/04/13/lookbook-collaboration-shiann-friesen/ (Accessed 3 May 2016)

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