Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Magazine Issues

My local newsagent in Soho carries a huge range of fashion-related magazines – and very beautiful they look, too. At least, the covers do. But that is all too often the only interesting thing about them. It's not just that they are all the same as one another. Worse still, they are usually barely distinguishable from the same month's issue from two or three years ago!

Is it because editors are getting lazy… or just clueless?

The same photographers over and over again; the same advertisements; the same fatuous copy. At least, that is true of all the world famous 'glossies', the names everybody knows and which have multinational editions (all of which are also all the same, by the way). No wonder sales are slumping. It is a miracle they have remained so high so long.

Of course, if you search you can still find magazines with enough integrity not to have sold out entirely to the demands of advertisers. But you have to look hard. All individuality has slowly been eroded by a process that began a long time ago. I have a collection of Vogue going back to 1928 and the variety in the editorial pages is staggering compared with now. In those days, women read Vogue, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Town and Country and so on, even if they weren't especially interested in fashion. Now I don't know any intelligent women who read them. How sad that these once-great institutions are now read only in hairdressers or by the trade.