One of my favourite films of all time: The Devil Wears Prada, questions Andy Sachs when asking:
“You think this is just a magazine? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope.”
For a society consumed by technology, it’s safe to say that magazine failure is a likely threat. But should it be? Should we allow digital media to serve as the only way of publicising fashion? Most certainly not.
Unlike their recent digital publications, fashion magazines have been a part of society for decades. Though they have massively evolved in the fashion industry, from the late 19th century, fashion magazines have dictated trends to people all around the world. They began as a mode of dictation on what aristocrats of society wished to wear, therefore serving as the vessels for fashion to become so popular. This idea is now more popularly dictated online. Technology clearly controls us as it is rare to find an individual who goes through the day without checking their phone at least once. If digital publications become the only mode of ‘magazines’, print will dissolve, and we will lose a crucial aspect of society which has lived through iconic cultures which we as contemporaries honour.
Linking to modern society, one may wonder: do fashion magazines serve the same purpose today? What does physical print provide which online publications do not? Well, exactly that: physicality. Real life presence. Digital publications clearly distribute news and information in a fast and free way, but they do not exist in real life. I, myself, find that purchasing a magazine is like purchasing a book; one is able to engross themselves in the fashion world from a narrative style. Fashion magazines are enchanting narratives that take their readers on a journey, from their opening promotional high fashion advertisements, to their collection of articles, to the current trends, to the build up of their cover story interview. Their narrative journeys connect readers to the journey of which fashion is taking day by day.
Personally, I prefer everything about physical magazines rather than online ones. Printed magazines give each of us a sensory experience unlike those online, triggering many senses from sight to touch to smell. It has been made apparent that most people absorb information more when reading from a physical object, as opposed to through a screen. The death of print would therefore threaten our understanding of fashion and cultural development across the world. It would be a true travesty to live in a society that is completely controlled by online updates rather than literal representations of evolving cultures.
One feature of physical print which can never be as effective online is its cover. Over the decades, there has been a growing interest in the covers of fashion magazines. Anna Wintour once stated: “I’m always looking for a cover subject that reflects the magazine, an interest in fashion, in culture, in society. We’re trying to bring the world into the pages of Vogue.” A cover thus acts as a mode of indication for the narrative contained inside a magazine, a glossy print which serves as a statement of society. Print therefore reflects our changing cultures yet, as a concrete object, serves to also capture history.
I understand that you’re reading this online, on some form of modern technology. I’m not against the idea of the digital world, because it does serve to offer opportunities for individuals like me to present their beliefs on fashion. Digital publications are an undoubtedly important way of showcasing fashion as, after all, technology is an important part of our society. But should we allow it to take over and eliminate a physical tradition of the fashion world? A tradition which has long been a form of presenting the ways in which different cultures and periods are defined? Of course not; it would be like eliminating history. So quite simply, I do not wish for print to die. Why should anyone? Digital fashion publications are an important way of constantly maintaining a cycle of live news and updates in relation to fashion, but literal print transforms these key fashion events and trends into a marvellous object that is concrete and everlasting: the magazine.
So, reverting back to Nigel’s claim in The Devil Wears Prada, let us respect the beacon of hope that print gives to us, and maintain some sense of tradition in a world encrusted with modernisation. Don’t let print die.
(As a side note, I’m wearing:
Jeans: Dr Denim
Handbag: Urban Outfitters
Coat: Urban Outfitters