It’s an ongoing and sometimes tense process, one that is in some ways being led by Vogue, the company’s largest publication.
The fashion title got a head start on global unity in 2017, when Condé Nast International in London under President Wolfgang Blau set up a centralised editorial hub called Vogue International, which would create digital content for the title's different markets from Mexico to China, allowing different Vogue country teams to tweak and publish it if they so chose. The new team also launched an international Vogue account on Instagram and ran projects on Snapchat.
But the content coming out of Vogue International sometimes had more of a British or Western perspective than was ideal for editorial objectives in other markets. So Vogue International is shifting its approach — more global appeal, more features, no breaking news — and marking the new chapter with a name change: Vogue Global Network.
Holly Shackleton came on as Vogue International’s editor-in-chief in April from i-D, where she held the same title for six years. While Shackleton previously reported to Blau, her reporting structure shifted in August when, in an executive leadership reorganisation, Vogue International was added to the responsibilities of American Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. She was also named Global Content Advisor at the same time.
The new Vogue Global Network will start to offer content to the American site for the first time. (American Vogue’s content has been available to other international Vogues, depending on image rights, via syndication for years.)
Vogue Runway imagery will still be produced in London but otherwise, fashion month coverage is determined by each region.
The shift at Vogue Global Network resulted in a handful of layoffs and reassignments, specifically roles dedicated to news, photography and social media. Shackleton is currently hiring a creative director, global sustainability director, deputy editor, features director and beauty editor as part of the goal to deliver more ambitious content packages that drive lots of traffic to Vogue’s international sites and bring in a younger audience.
In addition, each wholly-owned international Vogue will designate a Vogue Global Network editor with a dotted reporting line to Shackleton, in order to increase feedback and learnings about the content and its performance.
Shackleton’s team will also relaunch Vogue's Instagram account in January.
Meanwhile, Condé Nast is still on the hunt for, among other senior roles, a chief marketing officer. They will oversee global brand management and audience development, hopefully answering some of the larger questions about, for example, who has final say over Vogue the brand on a global level.
On Tuesday at the Code Media conference, Condé Nast Global Chief Executive Roger Lynch emphasised how much more the US and international businesses need to come together. “Answering questions [about global functions] are really cultural questions as much as they are organisational questions,” he said.
“Other than having to negotiate the terms of the merger, everything else is a merger integration,” he said. “Who gets this job, who doesn’t, what tech stack, what are you going to do with email? All of that stuff we are going through right now.”