February 27, 2024

Magazines Begin to Sell the Fashion They Review

In Esquire’s September issue, David Granger, the magazine’s editor in chief, invites readers to check out Clad.com, a site starting in October that will sell items like a $228 pair of chukka boots from Cole Haan or a $795 suit from Michael Kors, specifically selected by the magazine.

And fashionistas who are following the latest runway collections being shown this month have the opportunity, beginning this season, to buy some of those looks, from designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Derek Lam, right from the Web site of Vogue magazine.

A floral printed romper from Ms. Von Furstenberg’s show can be ordered for $498. A leather coat from Mr. Jacobs costs $5,900. And as the site notes, “Vogue may receive a commission on some sales made through this service.”

Fashion magazines are suddenly getting into the retailing business.

While the glossies have long had a reputation for accommodating the designers they cover, sometimes guaranteeing coverage to those who advertise in their pages, a wave of new ventures and partnerships suggests they are willing to go even further by selling the designers’ clothes.

It is a move that is raising some eyebrows in the industry, as magazines like Vogue, GQ and Esquire, struggling to survive in an online world, could potentially become competitors to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York.

“There are no boundaries anymore,” said Howard Socol, the former chief executive of Barneys and now a consultant. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores that once looked at magazines as a way to sell to affluent customers could now look at them as threats.

“There’s competition for everything,” Mr. Socol said. “But it is kind of interesting if you are a store, because you’re advertising in a magazine that is competing with you.”

The examples of magazines teaming up with e-commerce sites, almost all of them announced within the last several weeks, could practically fill a shopping mall.

Vogue is working with Moda Operandi, a year-old site that provides an online version of a store’s trunk show, where customers can preorder runway looks. Style.com, which, like Vogue, is owned by Condé Nast, will start selling clothes in November. And Details editors will soon start selecting items to sell on Mr. Porter, the men’s version of Net-a-Porter, a site for designer luxury goods that showed just how well $995 Christian Louboutin pumps could sell online.

The magazines typically get a small portion of sales, or a fee for the number of shoppers they send to the e-commerce sites.

“What magazines have always done is to create desire in consumers,” said Mr. Granger of Esquire. “The next logical step is to fulfill that desire by selling the product. If we don’t do it, somebody else is going to.”

Mr. Granger said that many magazines were making similar moves because retailers were starting to move in on their turf. The new Barneys catalogs, photographed by big names like Juergen Teller, look more like an issue of W, with clothes shown on New York celebrities, and shopping online at Net-a-Porter looks more like flipping through the pages of Harper’s Bazaar.

“The biggest reason is that magazines don’t want to get left behind,” he said.

Esquire is starting perhaps the most ambitious new e-commerce venture from a magazine, which it is calling Clad. An insert in Esquire’s September issue resembled more of a catalog than a magazine, with bar codes next to some items that readers should eventually be able to scan to buy. (The site was delayed because of a technical flaw.)

The Clad insert — part of a joint venture between Esquire’s publisher, Hearst Magazines, and Growth Brands, a division of J. C. Penney — will appear four times a year, while the magazine will make more frequent recommendations on the shopping site.

Glossy magazines, which have had years of advertising losses because of online competition and the recession, view such partnerships as a much-needed revenue source. The Web sites, in turn, are looking to build credibility with shoppers, who may be more likely to buy something based on an editor’s recommendation.

Brandon Holley, the editor in chief of Lucky, a shopping magazine, said that magazines still had to be careful not to appear to be pushing things they don’t believe in, for fear of losing the trust of their readers.

But, she said, a reader should not have to go out searching for a product that Lucky recommends. Some Lucky editors list their favorite items on ThisNext.com, a social shopping site, but they are not compensated for the service, Ms. Holley said.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=93247e0102cdad9b8dd7b8b523f48565

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