Fashion magazines are important communication agents. In addition to talking about the latest news from the fashion industry, over time, they were transformed and adapted by social changes.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about the importance of these media. You will learn a little about fashion magazines’ history and how they are important to the industry and society.
A Brief Background on Fashion Journalism
The official practice of bringing the latest news about the fashion industry began in the first half of the 18th century. France was the pioneer country in fashion journalism. After some years, magazines and newspapers in England started talking about fashion too. And, it was just a matter of time before it gained the world.
In The Fashion System, Roland Barthes argues that Fashion Journalism shaped, and may even have created, the concept of fashion and its symbolic value. Therefore, it is impossible to disassociate this journalistic editorial from fashion itself.
Since fashion is a multifaceted and ambivalent subject, over time, journalists began to write in simpler language about what happened in the fashion world. The objective was that this subject and, consequently, its products – garments, accessories, and sector events – would start to be understood by society and, mainly, desired by it.
In a way, then, journalism presents itself as a reality-based perception for broader culture, establishing this articulation between the fashion industry and public consciousness.
Therefore, all social transformations were mentioned in fashion journalism, once professionals and the industry saw that these changes were reflecting in fashion, in the way people dress, behave, and relate with clothing.
Fashion Magazines History
When talking about fashion, it is necessary to understand it as a non-verbal communicative act. Therefore, in fashion journalism, the combination of verbal text with images becomes essential to establish communication with the reader.
As much as fashion journalism is present in several platforms today, magazines were the pioneers of this section. Of course, the digital era changed journalism as a whole. But we will discuss it later in this article.
The first-ever fashion magazine was French and was called Le Mercure Galant. This was weekly and informed its readers about fashion, etiquette and talked about the lifestyle of the Court of Louis XVI.
Following the French pioneer, we have Lady’s Magazine. The English version appeared in 1770 and, at the same time that it offered monthly periodicity, it was decisive for the future of the magazines of this editorial. It was the first to use color images. In its pages, the magazine offered readers, who were mostly female, clothing patterns and the latest news about fashion and literature.
The birth and spread of feminism and its various waves, linked to the advancement of photography changed everything. Fashion magazines kept talking about clothing, but other subjects started to appear on the agenda. Publications started to talk about politics and also to change the way they represent the female body on their pages, articles, and photoshoots. Political issues started to make part of the editorial plan. And, now, discussions around sustainability, inclusion, and diversity are slowly reinforcing its presence in the issues.
A Reflection of Social Changes
Currently, vehicles involve not only women’s demands, but also society’s concerns on fashion. Guidelines on freedom of expression, queer community, and other important topics to society were incorporated in the pages – printed and digital.
Fashion Journalism and, consequently, magazines, currently understand that it is impossible to talk about fashion without talking about politics. It is impossible to overlook important issues of representativeness, inclusion, and diversity. Even though this discussion is still done in a very superficial and timid way, it has gained more and more visibility and prominence.
Fashion Magazines in Digital Era
As an important vehicle in fashion communication, fashion magazines have been around for many years. Nonetheless, as globalization and digital communication advance, paper publications including fashion magazines have to adapt to digital forms.
The internet era brought new formats of society’s relation with content. From that moment on, the place that was only filled by journalists and writers has another professional joining. Influencers, bloggers, and anyone that wants to talk about the subject started to produce content.
Therefore, with this new reality, mainstream and journalistic media, and obviously the magazines, needed to adapt. Many some have gone out of print, but many others have grown and further strengthened their authority as a brand. They also improved the quality of their content, offering different approaches. They also started to have articles and different formats of content. Some examples are Youtube videos, Podcasts, TikTok, Reels, and many others. They didn’t leave the printed pages but also gained Instagram reels and Twitter threads. They reinvented themselves.
Today, the main fashion magazines integrate what we see on the printed pages with digital content. The presence on several platforms, also known as omnichannel, enabled the magazines, in a way, to democratize content and reach an even larger audience.
By the way, we have an incredible panel that discusses how Fashion Is Going From Magazines, to Mobile, to the Metaverse, with Karin Tracy & Edward Hertzman.
Top 10 Fashion Magazines in the World
This is the ultimate list of the 10 best Fashion Magazines that fashion lovers and entrepreneurs in the fashion industry must stay tuned to.
We’ve also made a list of fashion talks and podcasts that will keep you up to date with the fashion industry highlights. Check it out!