Just saying the words ‘fashion magazine’ evokes something alluring. One thinks of glamour, exclusive parties, super clothes, travelling first class to fashion weeks and having a front row seat to every show. One thinks of designers at your fingertips, invitations for events all over the world, gala dinners and, above all, power. The power of an influential voice that everyone will want to listen. Basically, one thinks of The Devil Wears Prada. But one is so wrong.
A curious phenomenon took place in Milan between 2011 and 2014. A surprisingly vast number of young professionals, disappointed by the lack of freedom (of money) that they experienced by working for established publications, decided to open their own magazines. Some didn’t survive, but a positive amount of them are actually going strong and, by doing so, they are also somehow bringing new life to the editorial world. But how are they doing this?
We’ve met the editors in chief of three of the most interesting magazines based in Milan – Yara De Nicola and Fabiana Fierotti form Alla Carta, Fabrizio Ferrini from Hunter, and Antonio Moscogiuri from C.a.p. 74024 – to chat about their story and, although their magazines are very different from one another, they share some ideas.
Firstly, they all agreed on the fact that running an independent magazine instead of an established one definitely gives you much more freedom of speech and this is becoming more and more a bonus point both for readers and for advertisers. Fabrizio Ferrini said, “If you compare the boundaries that established magazines have, we clearly are privileged. They aim to earn a lot of money; this automatically puts them in the position of investing a lot. We do not aim to get rich by doing this, therefore we do a lot of selection and only work with the brands we really are interested in and with whom we managed to create some kind of harmony. If we talk about fashion – and by fashion I mean brands that are actually relevant – I am not sure that magazines from big editorial groups are still necessary. Big brands don’t need to appear in magazines with millions of copies sold to masses anymore and neither do upcoming talents. I suppose that if I was a buyer from an avant-garde shop, I would take much more into consideration the opinion of a magazine like ours, which does a great deal of research, instead of what is shown in a magazine which is just so full of commissioned features”.
Secondly, they all insisted on how important it is to be honest, to have your own identity instead of copying someone else’s. The girls from Alla Carta chose to remain focused on their country, Italy, and to promote a contemporary Italian spirit around the world without falling into clichés. In order to do so, they chose conviviality as a starting point, a typically Italian aspect of life. They hold all their interviews during a meal and they encourage photographers to do castings and shoot in Italy. “Let’s say that in the last few years, Italy has been considered somewhat uncool by most of the people in this sector; we want to show that there is quite a lot going on here. Other magazines prefer to copy (or to mock) the style and language of publications from other countries. On the contrary, even though we publish in English, we often try to keep the titles of our editorials in Italian”.
Thirdly, they all agreed on the importance of print even in the super-digital era. None of them doubts that paper is still relevant. All these magazines are printed biannually and this gives the editors the time to do a lot of research and to curate their magazines in detail. At the same time, it commits them to renewing themselves every six months. “Very soon, people will receive a newsfeed directly on their mobile phones in a passive way whereas niche magazines are something which you must actively go and look for,” says Antonio Moscogiuri. “These magazines are connected to the dream of fashion, of art and of beauty in general. Whoever is passionate about fashion or art gets dressed, leaves the house, reaches 10 Corso Como or the Palais de Tokyo and, amongst a full wall of fashion magazines, chooses mine. It is like an encounter. This will undoubtedly remain. It is like going to the cinema instead of watching TV, taking notes on your notebook instead of on your phone, writing a letter instead of an email”.
Here are some of the most interesting points of the various interviews.