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With the rise of social media, Shane Cullen discusses the importance of printed fashion publications.


WHETHER it be 140 characters on Twitter, a 10 second glance of a Snapchat video or a glossy, filtered Instagram post, fashion writing has ascended into wider spheres when it comes to reporting on the latest trends and must-haves. Every day we are bombarded with self-proclaimed style experts and online bloggers voicing their opinion over these forms of social media, straight from their smartphones. With so many aspiring writers looking for a platform to make a name for themselves and often going beyond the magazine format, has this affected print publications?

Last year in 2016, the fashion world followed a momentous occasion as Vogue celebrated its 100th year anniversary. The milestone did not go unnoticed, with Vogue holding an exhibition called Vogue: A Century of Style, which had an eight-month run from February until October of last year.

“Every month, anticipation and intrigue builds up as to who will feature on the cover of Vogue or Grazia.”

A-list names featured on the guest list, with the likes of Kate Middleton and Suki Waterhouse in attendance to look back at some of the magazine’s most prestigious cover shots and photoshoots. Vogue celebrating 100 years was undoubtedly an important moment for printed fashion writing as it means that printed media remains to stand the test of time, something which a tweet or an Instagram post fails to achieve.

There is always something personal and engaging about picking up a magazine to read articles on seasonal trends or interviews with the emerging and established stars of fashion and pop culture. Every month, anticipation and intrigue builds up as to who will feature on the cover of the likes of Vogue or Grazia, which are still as prevalent as ever.

While social media certainly has its benefits, enabling a far wider audience reach more easily, it is the existing magazine behind it that builds up the personal connections. One such example is Vogue and Kate Moss’ long-term collaboration, which began when Moss first graced the cover in 1993.

“Armed with a more unbiased opinion, magazine editors, on the other hand, present their readers with more of an objective viewpoint.”

An Irish success story for fashion writing that covers topics of style, beauty and lifestyle is Image magazine. Based in Dun Laoghaire, Image has been publishing since 1975 and has gone from strength to strength. Last year in 2016, Image was listed as Ireland’s most read print publication for women, notching up an impressive 120,000 readers over the year. Image Publications have put their accomplishments into opportunities by launching networking events aimed at women starting their own businesses.

While some may argue that the online fashion bloggers could attribute their breakthrough to being readily accessible on websites and social media apps, the authenticity of the writing should be questioned. Oftentimes, the reality of bloggers earning their income comes from promotion of a brand or new product.

Armed with a more unbiased opinion, magazine editors, on the other hand, present their readers with more of an objective viewpoint, and usually offer a range of articles to cater for a wide variety of interests, rather than the interest of the blogger. No one is shutting down the printing press just yet.

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