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Whenever people request interviews from me or try to get a quotation on my opinion of blogs, I know what they’re trying to urge me to say and the direction they want to push me into.  I’ll just say it.  I really feel pressured to say ‘Fashion Blogs are going to take over traditional media.’  Fact is, I just don’t see it that way.  It is strange that despite being an avid (aka obsessed) fashion blogger who consumes a lot of online fashion media (the links lists on this blog aren’t just for show, I do wade through a good 80% of it all…my optician is not pleased at all…), I’m not going to be waving the flag and say ‘Move over print, online has taken over!’.  I’m sorry if I have disappointed those that feel this is the case.   

Why not then?  The image above gives a vague idea of the number of magazines I buy.  Actually it’s ten times worse than that.  With the money I spend on magazines, I calculated that I could have bought a pair of Pierre Hardy shoes with three month’s amount of magazine spend.  That reads like one of those anti-smoking campaign taglines and I guess that demonstrates the level of my addiction to magazines.  Scouring Borders like a crazy woman, popping into Clare de Rouen to hunt for back issues that I might have missed, checking TFS for magazine release dates and first glimpses.  Quite simply, the physical act of flicking through a magazine, gorging on the text, studying the images with intent can’t be matched with clicking away at a screen.  I even have a special sitting position for reading my magazines (legs bent and curled up to the side) and a special accompanying drink (Matcha green tea). 

As someone who has never worked in traditional fashion media, oddly, it upsets me when bloggers attack mainstream media for being ‘behind the times’ and not ‘current’.  In the early life of Style Bubble, a supposed professional journalist attacked the blog for having no standard of professional journalism.  This upset me not because I thought my writing was good enough to be considered professional journalism but because the intentions of the blog had been totally mistaken.  Please excuse me if you have already my views on this subject in interviews but it’s something I’ve needed to get off my chest for a while now.  I do want to reconcile being both a mag addict and a blogger. 

In plain language, a blog and a magazine are two separate entities.  If I’m honest, Style Bubble probably couldn’t survive without the existence of magazines.  They disseminate information and plant ideas into my head that I then expand upon in a more personal manner on the blog.  Blogs like mine go about and spout off personal opinions, as opposed to professional opinions in a way that hopefully presents a unique voice amongst the thousands of fashion blogs out there.  Trying to find a personal voice, stance and take on fashion is what I love about a blog and this is something that magazines lack.  This is in no way a criticism to those that work in traditional fashion media.  What they do is worlds away, in terms of the mass of content they have to deal with, the deadlines, the advertiser obligations and to discount what they do would be an absolute crime.  If there are bloggers out there that have the gall to say their blog rivals a magazine, then I would be appalled to call myself a blogger.  There is no way in hell that Style Bubble is comparable to an i-D, Another, 10 etc publications that push the boundaries of fashion content and general creativity.      

Whoever had the idea to put it into people’s heads that there exists a ‘Blogs vs. Magazines’ war is severely deluded.  It is clear that the two can be consumed at the same time.  I should think that the majority of readers here consume both and if indeed people are strictly reading blogs only, then I will say they are missing out on content that simply cannot be reproduced by blogs.  From a fiscal point of view, I commend blogs for researching, writing and producing their blogs purely as a passion as opposed to doing it for money.  But what you pay for in a magazine has its joys.  Those images that are imprinted into your head.  I hardly think that a photo I botch up on Photoshop is going to have a 1000th of the impact a photo shot by Tim Walker has.

Yet at the same time, I can’t deny times are hard for my beloved print magazines.  Titles folding, circulation figures are down and magazines looking to expand their content more and more online and even giving away their print content online (Nylon’s issue downloads).  To say that ‘magazines are dying’ is a gross exaggeration and perhaps it is about a shift of content, to concentrate on the things that online media can’t produce.  For me, these are beautiful editorials and the effects of which can only be felt when in physical contact with those glossy pages.  Exclusive interviews that the majority of online media would be unable to obtain (I haven’t read an exclusive Martin Margiela interview on a blog as yet…). 

So let’s just accept that online fashion media is here to stay but this shouldn’t mean a ‘Death to Magazines’ and perhaps the way to go forward and it’s already happening is to have the two working together in their online content.  (Elle.com and Style.com blog rolling other blogs – mine included…. very flattering stuff!).  If you have already banned magazine buying completely, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to revisit the pleasure of grabbing the newest issue of Vogue Italia and looking at the miles of editorials, marvelling at the stylings, the settings and the moods created.  I’m off to Borders now….perhaps I’ll see some of you fellow mag-addicts there?

Comments (35)

  1. Rach x says:

    I honestly don’t see magazines ‘dying out’ any time soon, although i enjoy reading blogs, you cant flick through them in the way you can a magazine. Especially with all the publicity surrounding the magazine industry with films like the devil wears prada. I think the rise of magazines online is surely just a natural progression, as everything is now so much more computer/internet orientated.

  2. Here goes one.
    Kisses from Barcelona.

  3. Anonymous says:

    hello, just using style bubble for a quick question. i am looking for some work experience preferably in a magazine or photography company over the next summer so if anyone has any contacts or idea’s that would be a great help!!
    rachel xxx
    p.s. needs to be in england, pref. London

  4. SundayGirl says:

    I totally agree with you, Susie: there is nothing better than flicking through a thick, glossy magazine and drinking in all the images. Blogs are like a quick fix for me, during a five minute break at work or until the new issues come out next month.
    And if magazines become obsolete, then what will I use to decorate my bedroom walls?

  5. M says:

    well said! unfortunately, i don’t buy magazines not because i’m against them in any way, but because i’m broke. online media and blogging gives me the opportunity to keep up with the jones and still save my pocketbook at the same time.

  6. rollergirl says:

    Here, here! I must say my blogging is taking up more and more of my time but I do get excited on Tuesdays (Grazia day!) and the beginning of the month when the new issues come out. What I’m actually finding is that whereas I used to buy a few sh1t mags at the end of the month when I’d read all the good ones, now I tend to buy less mags (quality over quantitity) and blog during the dry spells.

  7. Kori says:

    I agree! As a blogger/blog-reader, I clearly love blogs, but my love for magazines is still going strong. For me, having something beautiful and glossy to flip through is the best feeling, and I like cutting things out of magazines that I want to remember or to paste on my wall or whatever. You can print out things from blogs, but it’s not the same. Which is not to say that I don’t like blogs as much, it’s just different…

  8. virginia says:

    Oh hola Susie! I am from Spain and I came to london for the summer, I have been reading your blog for about 6 months already. And now that I am here in London is much better because I can follow your ideas a bit closer :D , and is funny because I saw you at borders two weeks ego, It was great, u know.. sorry for these childish comment, hehe..
    tu blog es fantastico, adoro tus ideas ;)

  9. kat says:

    i’m a complete fashion mag addict…iprefer buynig fashion mags than actual clothes…I have to see a doctor!

  10. Blake says:

    Well said. I guess I think that blogs are encroaching on glossy-space, but I don’t see them taking over, for all the reasons you laid out here. Vive them both.

  11. i love magazines glossy goodness. i love to look at ‘em. and stack ‘em by my bed. they had better stick around!

  12. dezmond says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………consume..consume..consume……..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…*snort*

  13. i guess i should add that it does irk me that blog press isn’t put on par with printed press [as in magazine press]. that does seem to be an unspoken rule these days.

  14. miriam says:

    I think you’ve got it spot on. Blogs and magazines each have their individual values – the sheer physical presence of a mag, pages and pages of shinyness, the weight, the smell of new paper! It’s a very sensual thing. The great thing about blogs is their immediacy, the way they can rapidly monitor and spread info and news, but more than anything it is their individuality and personality. Just seeing someone ‘ordinary’ showcase their own style, rather than some lithe, otherworldly latvian model, being creative, interesting… It’s just as inspiring.
    I don’t see blogs wiping out magazines anytime soon, mainly because they couldn’t replace the structure and organisation of a magazine, especially those that have become institutionalised monoliths within the industry. But then, would bloggers even want to? I remember (back in the dark ages) when some of my favourite xeroxed zines tried to go ‘proper’, with expensive glossy papers etc. On the plus side, it got them bigger and better features and interviews, but it also took away some of that ‘DIY’, rough-cut magic that was unique to them.
    On the other hand, I’m not impressed with conventional media’s attempts to cross over. Maybe they will improve with time, but at the moment many just feel like a sham and a cash-in, without any kind of identity behind them. Also, there’s undeniably a sense of a private coterie/community with blogs, being based around an individual that many others can relate to, or at least feel they do. A publication, by definition, just can’t do that.

  15. Filó says:

    I agree deeply with you! While i was reading this post, i was shoking, because i think the same thing. Its funny to read interesting blogs and listen to what diferent peoples from direferent pleaces have to say, but read a magazine is unique for me that buy as many as i can.
    I think Magazines gives us a direction in a world whith so much options and in our blog we select and we post, what touch us most.
    Congretulations!!Love, LOve your blog.
    p.s my inglish is not very god eheheheh…

  16. eunice says:

    Great post! I completely agree… Couldn’t have said it better. You said it perfectly- there’s something about mags that you can’t get from a blog. I’ll keep on being a mag addict like you… *sighs* You’re right… the money I spend on mags could be used for some Chloe platforms I’ve been eying…

  17. Eileen says:

    Amen to that! I just finished the big ass September Vogue, and am counting my pennies to visit the bookstore to buy more and more and more mags!

  18. Shelley says:

    Your entry was interesting!
    Blogs, if well done (like yours), give different opinions and promote fashion ideas not seen in the general public. I think they are directed to a more specific audience. If a magazine tried to do what a blog did, they would go out of business! The audience pool would be too limited. As you pointed out, even the big names are loosing readers…
    BTW, I love your blog! I find it more like an artist commenting on great works (being clothes in this case), than on trends! And I read it all the time!!

  19. WendyB says:

    I read a huge number of blogs AND magazines. I agree with you…it’s a different experience. For really appreciating photos, I prefer the more tactile experience of the magazines.

  20. WendyB says:

    P.S. Everyone should get subscriptions to their favorite magazines. They’re always much cheaper that way than buying off the newsstand :-)

  21. “They’re tryin’ to make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no.” ha ha I have the same addiction. I hide them. I sneak around. I just can’t stop. I love them and I think we are going to see more and more of them. Magazines are my one indulgence and I refuse to give them up! One idea, many platforms – this is the way content will continue to be shared.

  22. I love both blogs and magazines. And I write for both blogs and magazines.
    Fashion magazines are probably going to be the least impacted by the blogosphere because of the nature of fashion and the need for the tactile and visible experience.
    However, for new and indie designers, blogs and other new media are the only viable source they have to get their name out there. So for cutting edge fashion, new perspectives and emerging talent, my money is on blogs!

  23. fareeha says:

    WOW Susie you totally just read my mind there. I have been reading your blog for awhile now, but have never commented. The whole print-media-is-obsolete argument and the fact that publications are folding left and right worry me because I want to work in media one day, particularly fashion media. But what you said makes so much sense. You go girl!

  24. J says:

    Yes for sure, you need magazines to fuel blogs. I don’t think fashion blogs are taking over magazines but it does seem like they are taking over other themes in blogs. All of the girls who used to churn out music reviews along with their journalizing are now posting about fashion fashion fashion.

  25. Claire says:

    It’s so true, you’re right on the button. I stopped buying mags almost completely for a while as a kind of test and going back to them I realized – it’s the access they have and the quality of the pictures, all wrapped up together in a beautiful package…I have to say though I find most blog writing far more interesting than the drivel in many magazines…

  26. a. says:

    hear hear! so well said! i have felt this for a long time, but i’m not a blogger, just a blog-reader, so i didn’t feel the need to get into the fray and explain a dissenting opinion. to be perfectly honest, as both a blog-reader and a mag-reader, along with the reasons you gave, another reason i don’t see magazines going away anytime soon is that i really appreciate the quality of the writing i can get in a magazine. susie, you are a great writer, and i agree with you that your writing is on par with (or even better than some) magazine writers – but to be frank, blogs like yours are a rarity. with my fashion mag subscriptions i get to read writers like daphne merkin, joan juliet buck, meghan daum, jeffrey steingarten… these are articles that may have taken weeks or months to research and write, a type of article that just wouldn’t be feasible for the quick-news format of the blog.
    furthermore, the only thing that i could see possibly reaching the level of a magazine on the web (i.e. having those sorts of longer pieces, etc), would have to be something that was a collaboration between many writers – e.g. an online magazine. at the risk of angering some bloggers, i will go out on a limb and say that i just don’t think that at this point a group of bloggers is going to have the experience that is necessary to pull something like that off. there’s so much that goes into that – at the very least, one usually needs enough experience in the “old” media to have credibility and connections that will allow you to raise money for one’s “new” media efforts! besides which, i truly don’t WANT to see someone like you get sucked into something different from your current blog. maybe that’s selfish of me, but i love the fact that your blog is NOT the way you make your living – it allows your opinions to be fresh and honest in a way that magazines can never be. of course if you get hired for some big fancy fashion magazine or website the way the sartorialist has, and that’s what you wanted, i’d understand, though i’d be sad… :-)

  27. susie_bubble says:

    Rachel: Just try writing to the magazines directly, knocking on enough doors should help! I’m not really the best person to ask…
    I’m glad lots of people agree with me and yay for the mag-addicts. Each medium provides different sort of content and it’s delivered differently as well as people have pointed out. To say that one is taking over the other is very far-fetched and if we’re honest…there are only a handful of blogs that can be thought to stand out in terms of quality or are remotely on par with traditional journalism (though I still think these sorts of blogs are hard to come by… ).
    It’s also great that people here can differentiate between what they are getting from a magazine what they love about blogs. Phew….I thought I was just blabbing on about nothing….
    a.: You’ve exemplified what I love about reading magazines…. the quality of journalism is a pleasure to read. This is the thing, a vast marjority of blogs (mine included) don’t touch the quality of writing you get in magazines and for good reason…. the number of times we write in a day, the short post formula that most blogs use and the fact that we can be more relaxed with our language…. which are all great things about a blog….
    I can’t see myself blogging for a living as with anything, I don’t think I’d get the same amount of pleasure as I do right now. Whether I cross over into forms of ‘traditional media’ is yet to be known…. questions I’m asking myself but the thing I ABSOLUTELY don’t want to do is use my blog as a form of self-validation. As much as I’m proud of it, it is the work of a writing amateur…. I think it’s very dangerous for bloggers to feel they are professional journalists because of the gaping differences between a blog and a magazine…. oh well…that’s another subject which I might ramble on about later…

  28. Diane says:

    I love the magazine..we turn to again and again when we first get it and than wait in anticipation for the next one. What a high to see that one piece that puts you over the edge as you shriek to yourself “I want that”. I only get that feeling with a magazine….

  29. m.lena says:

    i just saw that modette was one of the magazines you had pictured there… i remember reading your column whilst i was in sweden, it was a slightly unnerving (but fun!) experience to hear “susiebubble” in swedish and listed as susannna lau – very well done, although it loses some of your trademark word charm due to translation. although it felt like a bit of a compilation from your blog posts, twas still lovely.
    i have long ago given up trying to fight magazine addiction. because honestly – would a pair of pierre hardy shoes bring as much pleasure as three months worth of magazines?
    m.lena

  30. Lady Smaggle says:

    Just tried reading the on-line Nylon and it was bollocks.
    I much prefer magazines. And I get completely different stuff from your blog which I also love and is set in a more computer friendly way.
    Really enjoy your blog – if I remember correctly you read Frankie right? I’m an aussie girl and I can’t tell you how much it delights me!

  31. You summed up the difference between magazines and blogs perfectly. I too spend a rather obscene amount of money on magazines monthly. They fed my passion for fashion and I could never turn my back on them. There’s no other feeling like curling up with the latest issue of Vogue Or Harper’s Bazaar. I get giddy just thinking about it.
    Hurray for blogs! (but let’s keep the magazine bashing to a minimum ;-)

  32. Harrods Girl says:

    Totally agree with you on the whole blogs vs magazines issue and that fashion magazines are not going to die out anytime soon. Although I do try to limit myself to a few selected titles to save money!

  33. ninajoy says:

    i totally agree with you susie! i’m an avid blog reader and an unabashed mag-addict! there’s room for both media…the instant fixes from blogs and the joy of physically flipping thru a mag are two separate but wonderful indulgences. one can’t replace the other.

  34. anom says:

    has teen vogue gone downhill lateley?the september issue was such a letdown…

  35. monika says:

    I totally agree with you! blogs can never replace real magazines. like you said, there is that special excitement you can get only from touching the glossy pages. :)

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