While we at theFashionSpot preoccupy ourselves with our monthly roundups of all the magazine covers we love and hate, it turns out that much of our target audience might not look much further than those front pages. The people have spoken (and by people, we mean frequenters of online retailer Psyche) and blogs now trump print magazines when it comes to influencing consumers’ styling and purchasing choices. No wonder the standard rates for sponsored posts have more than quadrupled in the past year and a half.
Psyche — a UK-based luxury retailer catering to men, women and children that’s won a string of awards including GQ Magazine’s Best Menswear Shop — conducted a survey in which they asked 1,000 customers questions such as:
- What are the benefits of reading blogs over print magazines?
- Which will be more influential in the future, blogs or print magazines?
- Blogs and magazines aside, where do you look for style inspiration?
The answers to the first question were fairly intuitive: 46 percent of those surveyed say they were discouraged by the price of magazines — why wait for your Vogue to come in the mail when nearly all of its contents are now online? Why pay for fashion advice when you could get it for free? (To see what comes out of Grace Coddington’s whimsical imagination, one might argue.) Magazines contain too much advertising, says 28 percent of the respondents, and too little service material to merit the expense. Another 35 percent praised the “realness” of blogs, which cater to the average Jane and Joe as opposed to, say, Birkin buyers. On a related note, 10 percent liked that they could actually purchase what they see on blogs, unlike the high fashion offerings of monthlies like Harper’s Bazaar and W.
Speaking of monthlies, 13 percent of participants said that bloggers’ ability to frequently create fresh content on a regular basis was a major selling point. Magazines just can’t keep up with consumers’ need for sartorial gratification.
Supporting our oft-repeated assertion that the modeling industry needs to become both more diverse and more Photoshop-averse, 22 percent of those surveyed held that bloggers were more relatable than models featured in magazines. In addition, 67 percent of those surveyed agreed that fashion trends are now a grassroots effort propelled by fashion bloggers, social media, street style shoots, and no longer dictated by September issues (feel the burn, Vogue). That said, we’d argue said influencers draw their inspiration from fads past and present as immortalized by classic editorials. Tumblrs teem with throwback Nike ads. It’s a give-and-take cycle.
In keeping with these findings, when asked which will be more influential in the future, blogs or print magazines, a whopping 82 percent went with the former. Is it time for Anna Wintour to pull an Emily Weiss and abandon ship?
As far as sources of style inspiration go, street style sightings of the non-celebrity nature (55%) and Instagram (40%) ranked highest among the participants. Social media is, as we all know, the place to market your wares — 65 percent of those interviewed said they’d purchased an item after seeing it in their feed.
Having viewed these results, Steve Cochrane, founder of Psyche, observed, “Whilst I wouldn’t say these results mean print is dead – magazines won’t be going anywhere any time soon – they do suggest that digital is definitely the future, and I’d expect that over the next few years we’ll see the lines between blogs and magazines blur more and more.”
He continued, “Already you’ve got publications with their own bloggers, working in ways similar to columnists in traditional media, and magazines have moved past the online subscription model and began to publish articles online with more frequency. These results suggest an evolution in the way people consume media and find fashion inspiration, rather than a direct replacement. In future, I’d expect the two platforms to become one and the same.”
In an exceedingly short period of time, our media-savvy generation’s fancies have flitted from print magazines to blogs to vlogs, from Tumblr to Instagram to Snapchat. Our preferences speak to our love of authenticity, of personal voices, of a constant flow of images and information.
That said, many a cult fashion blog has sacrificed some of its edge to follow the siren song of advertisers (hence the #MRPartner hashtag on the Instagram far above), while online magazines have become more and more in tune with the streets (Vogue completely blew New Top Jewelry’s cover, but we’re sure they appreciate the business). What’s next, now that blogs are creeping towards commercialization, anyone who can type in #OOTD is a Susie Bubble in the making and, thanks to Snapchat, everyone can see the minutia of everyone else’s everyday life? We’re picturing automated, hyper-intelligent closets like the one seen in Clueless. Or maybe the Internet will simply implode on itself and we’ll all become organic farmers. TBD.