Vogue’s Digital Revolution

vogue digital revolutionThe world of publishing can be cut throat. Add fashion to the mix, and things can turn ugly.

Last week, former editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman made comments in an article on the Business of Fashion website that appear to take a well-aimed swipe at her successor, Edward Enninful.

In the article, Shulman poses the question “what makes a great magazine editor?” She writes that editing is “certainly not a job for someone who doesn’t wish to put in the hours and thinks that the main part of their job is being photographed in a series of designer clothes with a roster of famous friends”.

She mentions no names, but Enninful is well-known for his friendships with models including Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell (who under Enninful are now contributing editors).

However, Shulman does more than just query the value of celebrity editors, she also questions the shift in focus from print to digital. In fact, much of her article is devoted to underlining the crucial role played by print magazines in an increasingly digital world.

Today’s editors, explains Shulman, need to have vision. They need to ensure print and digital complement one another, reflect off one another, and “combine to make a robust whole”.

But was Shulman too reserved in her approach to digital transformation? E-commerce, interactive apps and magazine digitisation all happened in the 25 years she was editor, but Vogue remained print-centric.

Shulman’s argument is that too much investment in digital could lead to a loss of Vogue’s identity and core values. She takes issue with “one-size-fits-all content”, magazines that imitate, and the superficiality of clickbait.

I don’t think she’s alone in that way of thinking. But equally as important, failing to evolve, adapt, and accept that times have changed does not make for a forward-thinking, dynamic brand that appeals to millennials.

Enninful clearly has big plans for the magazine, hoping to attract a new generation of Vogue readers. The changes look set to be radical – perhaps less digital transformation, more digital revolution.

Date Published : 12th of October 2017

Steve Odart

Published by : Steve Odart

About the Author : Steve Odart is the founder of Ixxus, with 28 years experience in the publishing industry. He started life at the London College of Printing, following his grandfather into the printing industry. He spent many years working with Quark through its launch of Quark XPress, and the Quark Publishing System, before setting up a publishing division within one of the UK’s largest Sun Microsystems Resellers. He then joined Oracle, as EMEA Business Development Director – Publishing and Media, prior to founding Ixxus in 2004. Steve has an extensive knowledge of publishing past, present and future, and has worked with the majority of the largest global publishers in his career to date.