When a person thinks “magazine” there is no doubt that universally, Vogue will come close to the top of the list whether the individual has an interest in fashion or not. Its pages are iconic, timeless and ultimately the founder of the fashion sector that makes up our magazine industry today.
Throughout this whole year the fashion magazine supported by Condé Nast publishing house in the heart of London, will celebrate its 100th birthday since its first issue hit stands in autumn 1916. It is projects like this that remind us how unique and perhaps under valued the magazine industry really is in this country and provides proof in sheer numbers that interest in the glossy printed pages has not died out.
This all became clear to me a few weeks ago when I visited the “Vogue 100: A Century of Style” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in the country’s capital. The event, which was completely sold out, showcased the covers and editorial spreads of the magazine over the 100 years of its existence and the place was packed out with the expected fashionable folk as well as the average person interested to understand what all the hype was about. The experience for me really drove home the impact of magazines on culture and the lifestyle of a nation.
Vogue was the first of its kind and, in my opinion, remains the only of its kind. It paved the way for the fashion industry and gave it an outlet in which to showcase its creations to the world. Magazine culture is a tailored fit to the individual reader rather than a mix and match of everything that is provided in a printed broadsheet newspaper. Vogue tailors itself immaculately to the world of fashion but not only that, it educates on current affairs in a manicured way that suits the specific Vogue reader. Since its establishment it has been the model for many such magazines altered to provide a specific service to those who pick it up and continue to spend money on it.
Lets face it, there are few people nowadays who will bother holding a hard copy of the massive newspaper to flick through the days headlines when they have an iPhone sitting on their lap but there will always be people paying for hard copy magazines. It is about the experience of flicking through the glossy pages and taking in the pictures, colours, design and craftsmanship that the reader knows has gone into the page that rather resembles a work of art as opposed to a black and white font article.
People say everything has a shelf life and this is true but only for each issue that is churned out monthly from each publication. Commemorative events such as Vogue 100 drive home to the public the importance of these publications to their lives. They remind them of why they love reading magazines and this particular celebration reminds people to appreciate the carefully thought out advise presented to each person monthly on what to wear, how to wear it and where to get it from.
Magazines are not dying. This event has proved that if anything they are regenerating and reestablishing themselves in society. Vogue is not simply a magazine; it is a lifestyle exercised by many on a daily basis, a lifestyle that would be absent without the empire that is the magazine industry.