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Fashion Has Become the Top Story in Men’s Magazines

For the male who is fashionable there has been a long absence. However, after years of being ignored by a majority of fashion magazines, there’s an upsurge of magazines that focus on the masculine aspect of of dressing.

With new titles such as P.O.V., Maxim, Icon and Dossier all poised to attract readers where more traditional magazines leave off, there is an enthralling new generation of publishers that would like to be the leading source for real-time information for real people.

As the new mags struggle to be noticed and heard icons like Details and Esquire are undergoing their own highly anticipated revamps by introducing new editorial teams and introducing fresh coverage of fashion. Also, Men’s Journal, that hulky maker of bikes and biceps, is embracing the latest trends in fashion.

Magazines aren’t as easy to categorize as it may appear. They are, however, usually specifically geared towards men have some combination of the following including music, sports fashion, money fitness, technology and even women.

There are any number of formulas that enable for the industry to cover various magazines as Playboy Men’s Health, GQ. However, all three share a certain recipe for success: a financial column there, a naked woman there, ab workouts in between.

Beyond features, the magazines share the same advertising bonds. In each publication you’ll find the Tommy Hilfigers, Gaps, Chryslers and Budweisers. However, more and more they’re the first two, which are advertisements for fashion that publishers are keen to capture.

“Right now, fashion is 30percent of the advertisingbase and could eventually be more than half,” says Drew Massey who is the publisher of the 3 year-old P.O.V. Playboy Publisher Richard Kinsler says fashion advertising is “absolutely essential.” The same is true for magazines that are younger, such as Vibe and Spin music magazines that attract mostly male audiences. Fashion is the main factor in more than 50% of advertising, according to John Rollins, publisher for both magazines.

Why the sudden rise of new titles and editorial Relaunches? In the case of the new magazines, it’s simple. Publishers want to be part of an advertising base and have lots of funds to spend. And they see an opening in the market for accurate and service-oriented fashion coverage.

“Our mission is not to be too serious or to be another insipid fashion magazine,” Massey assured P.O.V. readers last month. “We want to sort from the rumours and present the classic style that helps you feel and look good.”

This strategy is the best one for men’s magazines According to Paul Wilmot of Wilmot Communications and the former Conde Nast executive. “Men are looking for quality service. They need their concerns addressed in a way that is intelligent. Period.”

Also, men need advice from an industry analyst David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group. “There’s a major opportunity out there to write a guide. What should the length of a collar be? Which way do I tie bow ties? The world isn’t divided in any way Gucci on one hand and Armani on the other.”

Every publication has an individual editorial voice, which is used to shape the content, choose contributors, and also sign up advertisers. Sometimes, the voice of the magazine is opposed to the magazine’s coverage of fashion. Certain fashion editors prefer make up trends rather than reading them. Because publishing is an enterprise, there’s also a stake, expressed or not to reassure advertisers.

Even the powerful GQ and Details Conde Nasta’s men’s patriarchs of fashion, can be incompatible with the “real” reportage Wolfe talks about. GQ is proud of its affluent educated, white-collar readers however do Wall Street types or Orange County lawyers have the hubris to put on Comme des Garcons suits, Missoni sweaters, and Prada boots? It’s a white-suit, blue-suit and a red tie audience, Brooks Brothers, and not Fred Segal. Are the young Details audience buy the well-known Dolce & Gabbana trousers and John Bartlett coats or turn to Levi’s jeans and Gap shirts instead?

Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and W are viewed by some trade publications to be aspirational magazines–many of their readers, regardless of their size, shape or bank account, are enthralled by taking beautiful pictures of gorgeous clothing on gorgeous women. However, the majority of readers of men’s magazines, says designers of masculine clothing Gene Meyer, are different. “Most men get their style direction from their peer groups as well as from friends, family members, or someone at work.”

Editors are working hard towards making the coverage easier to access and “accessible,” says Michael Caruso, new editor of Details. “I hope that the reader will be able to perform what models in the shoots are doing and buy the clothes the models are wearing.”

In Spin magazine, fashion director Jill Swid looks at clothes the way the male fashion magazine looks at issues. “I don’t write stories which is based on fashion trends. I shoot it on cultural topics and happenings on the streets; I strive to capture our readers’ lifestyle. Every Spin reader buys sneakers and jeans, so that’s a huge element of my stories.” In the same way, Men’s Journal is sure to present stylish hiking attire and ski slope sexiness.

It’s no surprise that the men’s reader magazines seek to attract are more fashion-conscious than ever. He’s fit, healthy, even slightly vain. He’s focused on his appearance and is putting greater effort in his clothing selections. However, he’s no longer the married, Volvo-driving suburbanite with two children and a dog so loved by advertisers and publishers. It’s the younger, non-corporate, often non-white male who is leading fashion trends.

You can call him whatever you like call him: urban, street or Euro, he’s the one who buys high-end designer clothes. The gay-focused Out magazine’s readers are very fashion-forward and, as per experts in the field, spends more on clothes than readers of traditional men’s magazines. The music-oriented Vibe readership shares similar characteristics. “It’s about image and branding,” says Rollins. “The urban music lover wants to be seen in Armani and Versace alongside Phat Farm and Nike in an image that says”I’m cool.’ “

For the casually trendy man to the casual fashion-conscious victim The current state of men’s publishing brings an important change: choice. With the number of magazines available, he’s almost guaranteed of finding one which can speak to him.