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Posts Tagged ‘fashion magazines’

magsOn social media, fashion executives have expressed their solidarity for Black lives by posting black squares and sharing PR statements promising to do better on behalf of their companies. But how much value do these promises hold when Black interns at a prominent fashion magazine have yet to see themselves represented at all levels of the masthead?  

… Tokenism cannot be the antidote to racism and lack of representation in the workplace. In addition to hiring Black people, structural transformation must also be implemented to support and make way for upward mobility. It’s never been enough to sprinkle us on covers or on runways; there needs to be a pipeline in place that allows for Black talent to graduate to leadership roles. Because of systemic barriers in place, we are often beset with a premature disillusionment with the industry, questioning our place and purpose.

Jasmine Burgos, Abigail Cherubin, & Christopher Akintonde – Former fashion magazine interns.

This quote is from an op-ed in Business of Fashion. Click here for the full piece.

I have wondered about all the recent social media statements by corporations. How meaningful are they? Perhaps it’s a place to start but, I agree that real change has to happen beyond mere statements.

Harper’s Bazaar has appointed their first Black editor. Samira Nasr steps into the role in July. It’s an interesting time for her, for the fashion industry, for the world.

Here’s hoping we are finally inspired to do better.

 

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samiraGreat style is about more than the way we wear our clothes. It is also how we see and occupy space in the world around us.

Samira Nasr, the next editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar.

Last week Hearst Magazines announced that Samira Nasr will take the reigns from Glenda Bailey, who had been the HB editor for 19 years.

Ms. Nasr is the first Black woman to be appointed to such a position in the magazine’s 153 year history. She started her fashion career as an assistant to Grace Coddington at Vogue and she also worked for a time as fashion director for Elle. Most recently Ms. Nasr was the fashion director at Vanity Fair.

Ms. Bailey steps down at HB but she will still walk the hallways of Hearst headquarters working as “global consultant” which, as I understand it, means she will connect (make deals?) fashion marketers with Hearst magazine editors.

Congratulations to Ms. Nasr! As a subscriber to HB, I look forward to something new and exciting.

Farewell to Ms. Bailey, who kept HB alive and thriving during some really challenging times in magazine publishing.

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IMG_20200120_161145543Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire by biographer and historian Susan Ronald, covers Nast’s glamorous life and successful career as an American publishing giant.

There is much to cover and Ronald moves quickly over Nast’s early life from his birth in 1873 to his marriage to his initial interest in magazines. Once he enters into publishing she slows down and settles in on how Nast started with Collier’s magazine, moved on to Ladies Home Journal Patterns and eventually Vogue magazine.

Publishing Vogue and Vanity Fair are most of the story but we also read details about Nast’s famous “cafe society” parties and his grand apartment at 1040 Park Avenue in Manhattan. There are intriguing tales about fashionable characters such as Vogue fashion editor Carmel Snow, photographer Cecil Beaton, and writer Dorothy Parker.

The financial crash in 1929 hit Nast hard and he nearly lost his empire. We learn how over several years Nast fought to keep his business going by calling in favors. WWII was not an easy time either as French Vogue had to shut down and British Vogue (based in London) struggled to publish facing paper shortages and The Blitz.

But Nast and his empire did survive these challenges and that makes for great reading. Thoroughly researched with help from surviving letters and company documents, Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire is an excellent read for fashion and publishing industry history.

 

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Romance lurks in strange places, but perhaps nowhere so much as behind shop windows.

British Vogue, January 1922.

British Vogue, like Vogue in America was published by Conde Nast. In the 1920s the covers were illustrated, such as the one pictured here. I find the illustrations have a certain charm that photographs just don’t have however artistic and slick they might be.

I just finished reading Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire, by Susan Ronald (St. Martin’s Press). Check back Wednesday for my review.

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11c3e166487071f95963f05fed3b8721--lucinda-chambers-style-unique-fashion-styleThere are very few fashion magazines that make you feel empowered. Most leave you totally anxiety-ridden, for not having the right kind of dinner party, setting the table in the right kind of way or meeting the right kind of people. Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years. Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive. What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see.

Lucinda Chambers, former fashion director at British Vogue.

Last week Vestoj online magazine posted an interview with Ms. Chambers in which she discusses how she was abruptly fired from her position at British Vogue by the new editor, Edward Enninful. She had worked at the publication for 25 years. She says it took Mr. Enniful three minutes to fire her.

Since the interview first ran it was taken down once, re-posted, and then edited as requested by Conde Nast.

As a fashion magazine reader myself, I find what Ms. Chambers says quite interesting. Many people have issues with fashion mags – I’ve heard friends of mine make similar comments. I understand her point, but I have a different view.

To me they are guides for what the trends are and inspiration for a little DIY. Yes, the brands advertised and fashions highlighted are way too expensive but that’s where creativity kicks in. The models are too skinny and photo-shopped but actually, I don’t look at the models. I focus on the clothes and how they’re styled. I don’t live a Vogue-y lifestyle but I don’t feel bad about that. Nor am I driven to buy the latest anything. Fashion magazines offer a study of current fashion and I’m thankful they’re out there. I find them informative, artistic, and entertaining. (Plus they provide excellent material for collages.)

I think it’s important for readers to keep these magazines in perspective. What’s portrayed is not real. It’s fantasy. Most people cannot afford the clothes and the even the models don’t look like “the models.” Let’s not take it too seriously or personally.

Having said that, I also must say that I am fully aware that the fashion industry is not a nice place. It’s a corporate-run, greedy business that sadly, is harming our environment. Lots of people are exploited from designers to factory workers. Although it looks from the outside to be a glamorous world in which to work, it’s not really. Fashion is tough, it’s cut throat and unforgiving. Ms. Chambers says, “You can’t afford to fail in fashion.”

I applaud Ms. Chambers for speaking out and I look forward to what she does next. Perhaps a book? Or her own fashion publication – one that is useful, empowers and inspires.  I’ll subscribe!

 

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March 14, 1896 Harper’s Bazar cover. Illustration by Harry Whitney McVickar

Harper’s Bazaar is celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2017.

Founded in 1867, Harper’s Bazar (spelled back then with one a) was the first American fashion magazine. It was inspired by Der Bazar from Berlin, a general magazine that also covered women’s fashions complete with elaborate woodcut illustrations. Harper & Brothers publishing house in New York picked up on the novel idea of a women’s publication and created their own version.

The magazine’s mission stated at the time was to become “… a vast repository for all the rare and costly things of earth – silks, velvets, cashmeres, spices, perfumes, and glittering gems; in a word, whatever can comfort the heart and delight the eye.”

In addition to fashions and the finer things of life, within the pages of HB could be found fictional stories, poetry, articles on family and work not to mention society and all things good mannered.

But off limits was politics, which must have been a challenge for the publication’s editor Mary Louise Booth, the first women reporter for the New York Times and a women’s rights activist. Still, in 1869 HB was among the few large publications to support the suffrage movement.

Harper’s Bazaar is my favorite fashion magazine. I appreciate its elegant yet modern sensibilities in style and content.

Congratulations Harper’s Bazaar! Here’s to many more years of fashion and all things that matter to women.

 

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