Guy Hipwell, the stylist-cum-entrepreneur behind Fashion156, is carving out a space as one of the UK’s pioneers of fashion on the Internet. Yesterday, Guy teamed up with two of his contributors, Susie Bubble (interviewed on the BoF back in November) and Elliot James Sainsbury, to share their fashion Internet experiences at the Apple Store in London. The event coincided with the launch of Fashion156′s latest issue, appropriately titled, "The Fashion on the Internet Issue."
My biggest takeaway was that the future for fashion editorial — both online and offline — is healthy and promising. Integral to the fashion industry is the telling of stories, communicating about brands and inspiring debate and discussion. While the Internet has broken down traditional fashion industry walls, there is still a clear demand for traditional fashion content as well.
With the Internet, consumers can immediately access content that was once only available to fashion insiders. Runway shows are posted on Style.com mere hours after the shows take place. Not only this, fashion content now comes from all around the world, providing a previously unavailable, low-cost platform for discovery and communication — even for brands outside major fashion centres. And, all of this happens at lightening speed, satisfying a seemingly insatiable appetite for more content.
But, while the nature of the Internet allows readers to consume content in small, digestable doses, there are times when people want something more in-depth. For this, they still turn to traditional magazines. Even the online fashion mavens from Fashion156 acknowledged that the experience of flipping through a real fashion magazine and enjoying large format glossy fashion images cannot be replicated on the Internet.
Said Hipwell, "there’s a limit to what you can do online," as he noted that he still looks to magazines like Numéro as benchmarks for the strong, evocative images that make Fashion156 a real Internet stand-out.
For her part, Susie Bubble said she still spends over £100 a month to feed her fashion magazine habit. "They are two completely different experiences," she said. "I’m combining the two, engaging with them both for what they are."
And, this I believe is where the real opportunity is. More and more, people are engaging with online, offline and mobile media in tandem. Content developers and media organisations who can create an integrated media experience that is seamless and special across these different channels are bound to be the leaders of fashion communication in the years to come.
Images courtesy of Fashion156 and Numéro.