Do Magazines Have A Future?

old news shop

I grew up with magazines, I was born in the first year of the 80’s a time before the internet for all intents and purposes. When I first started exploring fashion in my teens all we had were magazines, the internet was something a lot of us only did when we started college or uni, in fact I’m so old that I even went to an exhibition about the internet and they had helpers called life guards as we still used the term surfing!!!

Anyway before I start talking about new fangled 5p’s and how music was better in my youth (it was) lets get back on topic. Shows were exclusive, there was no other way to access fashion for most of us apart from the local High Street or via the local paper shop. We didn’t have much choice either, the big titles, Vogue, Tatler, etc were just about all there was.

Jump forward nearly, *cough twenty years and oh my how that landscape has changed. Most of those titles are ever more just pages of adverts, we are paying to see stuff we are purely being targeted for to buy and the price on most of the big name titles is frequently dropped or has giveaways.

The internet has taken their whole purpose and made it largely redundant, I can find all that content that used to make me excited each month at the click of a button, the press of a phone screen, I begrudge paying for a pile of adverts. So where does that leave the fashion magazine industry?

Well actually it’s created something I love even more. The big old heavyweights make no secret now that they see their future online, they can make sure we see an ad on every webpage that way. They can respond far more quickly to news and shows, the feted but yet to be seen merge of Vogue online and prove this.

I collect magazines and that may be part of my addiction, I adore them, and I love the way they bring me the industry I love, but I’m of the mind that the marquee titles are drifting into the past, even if I do have according to my friend “the finest collection of foreign Vogue magazines outside their personal collection”. I have every friend primed to bring me one back if they travel to a Vogue nation.

However outside of that slide and slope there is a new space flourishing. An army of much smaller circulation titles have sprung up and I love them. They are far more niche, focus on the smaller designers and the more unique talents out there I’m lucky that I can slide into any Soho newsagent, a place I spend a lot if time in and have a choice of hundreds of titles. Each a positive and different voice.

These are the saviours of print, I love browsing each week, yes I buy weekly for something new, glancing over the covers staring out at me for what I want. It’s become a habit to try something new as much as possible though some become firm faves such as Candid and 55pages. For an aspiring writer it’s also a dream as I can see what they are about and pitch ideas to them, something that has created most of my appearances outside of this little site to date. Of course it also means more spaces as well to be filled by aspiring writers.

The wealth of creativity available on those racks represents a mirror of British fashion, diverse designs, loud voices, soft points, mixed opinions, and something for everyone to find and fall in love with. While the wallowy old grand dames of print may insist on telling us the world is changing they still can’t compete with the feeling of sitting on the bus, tube or train flicking through a new purchase. It still hasn’t lost it’s excitement, it’s thrill.

I remain devoted to the dead tree press.

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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