Publications that rely on advertising and the overall sustainability of the print industry have been faced with a rapid decline in readership over the past several years. While the digital evolution has put pressure on the industry to alter its business model, find new ways to attract audiences and move their content online, magazines, newspapers and other forms of print media are examples of the entities that are struggling to adapt to today’s digital transformation.
In an attempt to drive audience growth, American Vogue announced that singer and songwriter Beyoncé would be taking over as the creative lead of the magazine’s September issue. September, often referred to as the January of fashion — known for being the biggest and most prestigious issue – is held to the highest standards in the magazine’s annual lineup. Because September is dubbed the most exciting month for fashion, noting New York Fashion Week, the months of effort and planning that goes into its assembly are highly celebrated.
But while the cost of production increases and print readership continues to decline, it’s obvious that Vogue is looking to new avenues that have not previously been explored. By enlisting pop-culture figures and influential creatives such a Beyoncé to take the reins on a project as significant as the September issue, there is no doubt that America’s most reputable fashion bible is prepared to make big changes.
When the news began to circulate on social media at the end of July, the reactions within the fashion and lifestyle communities were positive. 23-year old Tyler Mitchell, whom Beyoncé entrusted with her vision for the cover shoot, became the first black male cover photographer in the magazine’s 126-year history. Despite being hired by Anna Wintour and Raul Martinez, it’s clear that Beyoncé was given full editorial control over her image portrayal in the issue.
“Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like,” Beyoncé mentions in her accompanying interview.
While the fashion industry has received backlash for the lack of diversity within the pages of campaigns and talent behind the scenes, the appointment of Edward Enninful as the first black male editor-in-chief of British Vogue and Virgil Abloh as the first black male artistic director of Louis Vuitton last year point towards the ever-changing times.
While rumours continue to swirl surrounding Anna Wintour’s departure as longstanding editor-in-chief of the magazine, there is no doubt that she and the team at American Vogue are preparing for the next leg of what could be an exciting new chapter for the future of fashion in the print, digital and creative sphere.
The September issue of Vogue hit newsstands on August 3rd.