It’s not so long ago that In Style and Company Magazine has shut down its print edition, Alexandra Schulman has left British Vogue, last week Conde Nast Publications has announced that Glamour UK is going ‘digital first’ and will cut back on print editions to two issues a year (UK only). Since then, Editor-in-Chief for 17 years, the amazing Jo Elvin has stepped down too. I have to say I am still in a bit of a shock, Jo Elvin and Glamour have been around for long and they’ve been consistent in my life. I remember the good old days, taking long bus trips with a handbag size Glamour (that first appeared in the UK) and reading it back to back by the time I arrived. I have plenty of fashion and beauty inspiration pictures torn out of Glamour, collected in folders because ‘you never know when you need them’ and because ‘make-up artists and beauty geeks need to have them’ (don’t judge me, there was no Pinterest back then).
From a ‘fashion first’ magazine Glamour will become a “mobile-first, social-first” with a focus on beauty platform with two collectable print editions that will come out in Spring and Autumn every year. According to Conde Nast, the idea was rooted in how people are “living their lives today” and how they consume media. Things have drastically changed since 2001 so today ‘ It is a faster, more focused, multi-platform relationship.’
Hearing that Glamour is turning its focus on the digital platforms made me wonder: with all the freely available beauty content online how can they perform better/different? Will it be worth for the advertisers to follow while Google and Facebook are devouring huge percentages of advertising revenues? Will quality suffer? Can high-calibre journalism survive this way?
Forgive me, I digressed a little here but I am a self-confessed rambler just so you know.
Glamour (first published in the States in 1939) was launched in the UK in 2001 helmed by the Australian-born Jo Elvin and quickly became the most popular woman’s magazine with a higher circulation than any other in Europe. It’s unique mix of well-curated editorial pieces together with additional vibrant platforms (website, blog, podcast, Instagram posts, Instagrams live videos etc.) for the readers to engage with has made the magazine one of the most widely read in the country. Glamour somehow has always managed to stay in tune with what their readers wanted and has created an enormous back catalogue of fascinating content for them.
Apart from being a reputable authority in fashion, beauty and women’s lives in general, Glamour Magazine has always made sure they are supporting successful women and giving them a voice by devoting the majority of their pages to their life stories.
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There are many achievements Glamour has had over the years to rave about, including creating a revolutionary handbag size format, the Glamour Beauty Festival, the Glamour Beauty Club or making the reputable ‘Glamour Woman of the Year’ Award Ceremony unmissable in the London social calendar where the list of attendees are well-known successful women and celebrities attracting huge amount of media attention and a whopping 484 million audience reach. Elvin, who is widely respected in the world of print media has refined the brand ‘Glamour’ to a tee over the years. She is most proud of the long-standing relationship and the constant dialogue she had with many of the readers of the magazine. There’s no denying, a lot of lives were touched or changed by Glamour.
When it comes to the print vs digital argument which side are you partial to? I’m always trying to convince myself that papers, magazines going digital is the natural progression of things and there’s no choice but to adjust to the evolution of the media BUT I still feel there’s an undeniable appeal about the physical print to me. When I am reading a magazine with my Sunday morning tea it completely switches me off for hours and it feels relaxing to be away from the perpetual noise of the digital world that has become so overwhelming and such significant source of stress only a few of us are realizing. Looking at the beautifully crafted fashion images, beauty stories, opening and sniffing all the tiny fragrance samples might sound trivial but for me, it is a welcome distraction, a form of meditation if you like which I find incredibly soothing. In my world print is comforting, it does good for the soul and mind.
Food for thought: even neuroscientists have found that a physical paper-based content or advertising causes a lot more activity in the brain in areas that are associated with value and desire.
Let me finish this post with the heartfelt statement of Jo Elvin who posted a fun snap with Amy Schumer on Instagram on the day her resignation surfaced: ‘I have no idea how to sum up 17 years of an amazing job in one picture. I’m going with this because it represents the fact that wow, I had so much fun and was given so many incredible experiences, such as meeting my heroes, eg @amyschumer. But it’s true, it’s time for pastures new. I think the best thing about launching and editing Glamour has been the conversations I’ve had with readers. You really are the best audience of women (and I know, a lot of men) I could have ever wished for. Excited for what’s next but terribly sad to be parting with the absolute best team in magazines. #elvinout’.
I am looking forward to seeing what she will do next.
Before I get too teary-eyed I only have one more thing to add: it will be incredibly strange not seeing Glamour on the shelves of newsagents every month and I am definitely going to miss it. How about you?