innovates backwards by launching print magazine

“It’s a magazine for fashion obsessives by fashion obsessives” ~ 

With so many magazine titles moving to digital, and new titles being launched online only – has surprised many by doing reverse. This week the site launched the inaugural edition of their print magazine. But there’s no possibility of forgetting the magazine’s online roots with its slightly awkward title So what does hope to achieve by innovating backwards? 

Editor-in-chief of Dirk Standen explains the move: 

“I don’t think [media] brands can afford to be tied to one medium anymore. Obviously you see that with magazines paying a lot of attention to their websites now. But even on the web, it’s not enough to just have a website. You have to on various digital devices. You need to be on the various social media sites. You want your content to be available in as many places as possible” is not the only online site to recognise the benefits of a hard copy presence. Online retailers ASOS and Net-A-Porter both have launched successful print magazines recently.

The strategy must be viewed as part of a wider strategy to reach more people and provide content in more forms. 
But do we really need another fashion magazine – or will offer something more? 

Audience generated content 
As says the print magazine combines “the voices of both the editors and the readers of the world’s leading fashion Web site”. has opted to create a unique print version of their website rather than a traditional fashion magazine. 

The first edition includes a full wrap up of the SS12 runway shows – combing the glossy visuals of a traditional fashion mag with twitter messages, photo blogs, street fashion snaps. Coverage of the top ten shows of the season are ranked, not in terms of the editor’s favourites, but the number of page views received on! Instead of redundantly recapping what happened the magazine pits the views of editors and contributors against what was most popular on the site in terms of web traffic.

Chanel was the readers top show of SS12 with over 3.5 million page views – while  the editors’ pick was Balenciaga (Chanel wasn’t even in the editors’ top five)

Standen describes the magazine’s point of difference as the ability to convey the intense experience of going through fashion week season. For example the cover model for the debut edition Lindsey Wixson features in a 23-page photo diary of her life during fashion weeks – from her home in Kansas to the runways of Paris and New York. 

“I think if we can combine the emotional narrative of storytelling with the kind of authoritative reporting that already does, we can create something that is fun” ~ Dirk Standen 

Instant Gratification 
Speed has always been one of’s strengths – allowing instant public access to fashion shows throughout the world. The catchphrase is the “first in fashion for ten years”. The first print edition of launched only three weeks after the final Paris Fashion Week shows. The plan is to continue coordinating the editions with the end of fashion weeks.  

Backwards Innovation was the first major fashion site with an iphone app and the also the first fashion site to launch a magazine. is  finding success by swimming against the current – not something encouraged in the fashion world. Standen comments “We have a history of innovating and will continue to innovate”. In fact, the magazine launch coincided with first attempt at e-commerce “instant gratification”. Another first, has partnered with six designers so readers can buy limited numbers of pieces direct from the runway.   

The Reasons to Envy: 

  1. Courage shown by to go against magazine publishing trends 
  2. The use of core strengths (speed, innovation and viewer opinions) to createprovide a fresh approach   
Rather than trying to emulate a traditional fashion magazine has stuck to what it is good at and instead created a printed web experience. While fashion advertising certainly benefits from the richness of print – it’s an intensely crowded marketplace. Is there room for one more magazine or has made a wrong move?

Author Profile: Nicole Williams

A self-professed geek with an insatiable appetite for learning. While completing a BCA in Marketing and Commercial Law at Victoria University, Nicole worked her way up from an entry-level position to Marketing Manager (in just 3 years). She created The Envy Collection to showcase clever and inspiring advertising and marketing ideas.  

Connect with Nicole on Twitter – @envycollect

Envy Credits:
Quotes from editor-in-chief Dirk Standen sourced from Media Ideas – please visit for full interview! 
First envied on Oyster MagazinePhotos sourced from Huffington Post

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