This Monday, “Teen Vogue” announced it would be next in the long line of magazines restructuring while struggling to cope with shifting consumer preferences. The publication issued a statement that it would scale back on printed content, investing in digital and social media platforms rather than monthly editions.
While the magazine will still publish four print editions per year, it will largely focus on fostering an influential online presence.
This is yet another example of a reputable magazine having to deal with consumers that are incredibly different than those of the past.
Fashionable millennials are constantly looking to social media influencers on their Instagram feeds to inform them of the latest styles and trends instead of reading a monthly magazine. They would rather see their favorite celebrities and bloggers living out trends in real time than read a dry forecast of popular styles.
Bloggers like Chiara Ferragni of “The Blonde Salad” and Tash Oakley of “A Bikini A Day” have amassed millions of followers that immediately want to know every designer they’re wearing, learn about every workout they advertise and eat the same picture-perfect meal at the same restaurant that wisely paid them to Instagram.
Magazines and fashion news forums need to recognize this cultural shift and reflect the influencer obsession of the millennial audience. They would be wise to follow in the footsteps of many of the designer success stories they have covered in the past, like Alexander Wang and Olivier Rousteing, who amassed pop culture fame through close friendships with celebrities idolized by fashion-focused millennials.
If these lifestyle-obsessed style mavens do subscribe to a magazine, they want an immersive literary experience full of beautiful photographs that they will tear out of the magazine and pin to their walls. They want to flip through a thick, aesthetically pleasing Harper’s Bazaar; an artistic, oversized W; or a culturally relevant Vogue.
If they’re looking for quick trend alerts, they’re clicking on Snapchat Discover bubbles.
Many of my friends have admitted that the Discover bubbles for DailyMail, Cosmo, Refinery29 and — when it’s available — Vogue, are the first things they check when they wake up in the morning. They aren’t pulling up their favorite magazine’s website on their phones, as many companies might wish.
For publishing companies to survive the cutthroat shift to the digitally driven business model, they need to identify the fundamental changes in their consumer. They need to hire or consult with young people who can tell them exactly how they prefer to hear about fashion. The chic millennial wants to be kept up to date in an accessible way, whether it be through social media or e-mail subscriptions. The strongest media brands will embrace the challenges these trends present and generate innovative, creative solutions that mold the beautiful conundrum that is the ever changing landscape of fashion.