For the fashionable male, it’s been a long absence. After decades of being obliterated by the majority fashion magazines, there’s an upsurge of magazines that focus on the masculine aspect of the art of dressing.
With a variety of new titles like P.O.V., Maxim, Icon and Dossier all set to pick up readers when traditional magazines drop off, there’s a new generation of publishers that would like to be the prime source of real stuff for real guys.
The new magazines are fighting to be heard and seen iconic male fashion magazine like Details and Esquire are involved in their own highly anticipated revamps, installing new editorial teams, as well as a fresh coverage of fashion. Also, Men’s Journal, that hulky maker of bikes and biceps is now embracing fashion.
Magazines are not as easy to categorize as they may seem. They are, however, usually targeted at men include a combination of these elements including music, sports clothing, money technology, fitness, and women.
There are many strategies that allow that field cover various publications as Playboy, Men’s Health and GQ. However, all three share a certain recipe for success: a money column here, a naked female there, ab exercises in between.
Beyond the features The magazines have an advertising partnership. In each publication you’ll find the Tommy Hilfigers, Gaps, Chryslers and Budweisers. In the end is it the latter two — the fashion ads that publishers are the most eager to draw attention to.
“Right now, fashion is 30percent of thebase, and it will ultimately be more than half,” says Drew Massey who is the publisher of the 3 year-old P.O.V. Playboy Editor Richard Kinsler says fashion advertising is “absolutely vital.” Similar is the case for smaller publications like Vibe and Spin Music magazines, which have mostly male audiences. Fashion is the main factor in more than 50% of all advertising, says John Rollins, publisher for both magazines.
But why the sudden surge of new publications and editorial relaunches? In the case of the new magazines it’s easy. Publishers are looking for an advertising market with plenty of cash to spend. They also see an opportunity in the market for precise, service-oriented fashion coverage.
“Our purpose is not to be too serious or be a boring fashion magazine,” Massey assured P.O.V. readers last month. “We are determined to cut out the hype and provide the classic style that helps you look and feel good.”
This is the ideal option for magazines for men according to Paul Wilmot of Wilmot Communications and former Conde Nast executive. “Men require quality service. They want their needs addressed in a manner that is efficient. Period.”
The men also require advice according to industry analyst David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group. “There’s an enormous opportunity there for a practical book. What should the length of a collar be? Which way do I tie bow ties? The world isn’t bound to Gucci on one side and Armani on the other.”
Each magazine has its own editorial voice, which can be used to create the content, choose contributors, and also sign up advertisers. Sometimes, the voice is not in line with the publication’s coverage of fashion. Certain fashion editors prefer to dictate trends than read them. Because publishing is a business, there is also a sense of interest, either spoken or not to reassure advertisers.
The mighty GQ and Details, Conde Nasta’s men’s patriarchs of style, may seem to be out of tune when compared to the “real” content Wolfe refers to. GQ claims to have a wealthy educated, white-collar readers But do Wall Street types or Orange County lawyers would be able to dress in Comme des Garcons suits, Missoni sweaters and Prada boots? The blue-suit, white-shirt and red tie crowd–Brooks Brothers but not Fred Segal. Do the neo-hip Details group buy the often-featured Dolce & Gabbana trousers and John Bartlett coats or turn to Levi’s jeans and Gap shirts?
Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and W are considered by some inside the trade to be aspirational magazines–many of their readers, no matter their size, shape or bank balance, enjoy admiring beautiful images of gorgeous outfits on beautiful women. However, many male-focused magazines, according to menswear designer Gene Meyer, are different. “Most men get their fashion direction from peer groups or from their friends, or even someone working.”
The editors are trying towards making the content much more “accessible,” says Michael Caruso as the new editor of Details. “I want the reader to be able to perform what models in the shoots are doing and purchase items the models are wearing.”
In Spin magazine, fashion director Jill Swid looks at clothes in the same way that the magazine looks at issues. “I don’t shoot a story based on fashion trends. I base it on cultural topics and happenings on the streets; I try to portray the reader’s life. Every Spin reader purchases sneakers and jeans, so that’s a huge part of my story.” The same goes for men. Men’s Journal is sure to show off the best of hiking style and ski slope chic.
It doesn’t hurt that the reader men’s magazines seek to attract are more fashionable than ever before. He’s fit, healthy and even a little vain. He’s conscious of his appearance and is putting more effort into his clothing decisions. But, he’s not the married, Volvo-driving suburbanite with two children and a dog adored by publishers and advertisers. It’s the younger, non-corporate and typically non-white male that is leading fashion trends.
It doesn’t matter what you call him call him: urban, street or Euro. He’s buying brand name designer fashions. The gay-focused Out magazine’s readers are trendy and, according to experts in the field, spends more on clothes than male readers of more traditional magazines. The music-oriented Vibe readership has a similar profile. “It’s about image and branding,” says Rollins. “The urban music fan wants to be seen in Armani and Versace together with Phat Farm and Nike in an image that says”I’m cool.’ “
For the casually trendy man to the sloppy fashion aficionado The present state of men’s publishing brings an important change: choice. With the number of magazines available it’s nearly certain of finding one which carries his name.
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