Fashion deserves the glossies

When designers create their collections, it takes months of research and preparation before the final vision is made. Once collections are complete, it is a lengthy process to campaign for them, shoot the designs to then send to fashion magazines for them to be published. 

Fashion is an art form, self-expression, a vision that is created by an inspired mind, and so after all this work has gone in behind the clothes, should they deserve anything less than to be published in anything other than a glossy magazine?

Sally Anne Argyle, currently working as a freelance stylist at Zest Magazine, said: “I love holding a magazine in my hands, feeling that paper and turning the page.

“There are amazing online magazines, but there is nothing quite like the real thing. Especially when you’ve done a beautiful shoot, printed on beautiful paper and it looks amazing, but online the images are flat.”

Sally-Anne Argyle spent weeks organising this main fashion story, that was kept under wraps until it was available to buy

Sally-Anne Argyle spent weeks organising this main fashion story, that was kept under wraps until the magazine was available to buy

A survey conducted with 18-25-year-olds found that nearly 60 per cent enjoyed reading magazines the most over newspapers and blogs. 

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Regardless of content, or whether the readers’ trust who is writing, magazines are seen as a luxury, associated with relaxation and enjoyment, away from the chaos that they can be inundated with online.

Beauty blogger: “Honesty is the key to trust”

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Ayshe Ismail believes her honesty about products gains readership

I met beauty blogger Ayshe Ismail, 28, at an event recently to discuss the authority of rising power bloggers in the fashion industry. Ayshe is a magazine journalist who uses any spare time she has, whether it is the morning commute or during a busy lunch break, to update her beauty blog Discovering Beauty.

Having studied science at university, Ayshe tests and explains the effectiveness of the ingredients in the products, rather than being drawn in to clever marketing.

Bloggers have so many followers, how did you gain your trust with you readers?

“I think because I’ve always been honest with my reviews and I’ll always try and be balanced. I’m never harsh but I do weigh up the good and the bad about the product. (My blog is more beauty based). I guess that because I go out and spend my own money on things it shows that I believe in what I do. And you’re then more likely to be a bit more critical of something rather than when you’ve just been sent it for free. In terms of trust, I’m more likely to believe something that I read on a blog because I feel like in a magazine the aim is to sell more products, you never see anything negative and you never see anything saying, this might not be good for this kind of person.  With a blog they’ll say ‘I’ve got this skin type and this doesn’t work for me but it might work for this instead’. I think you can tell when people do a sponsored post, by the tone of voice. Sometimes you’ll be reading it and think, this sounds different to how they normally talk.”

So would you say the main difference is that magazines have a motive whereas bloggers don’t?

“I think some people can be honest even when they’ve been given something but I guess that’s when your influence really comes into play. When you’re a smaller blogger it is harder for you to become critical because you might not have the fans interacting with you if you’re being negative. But when you’re a big blogger you can afford to be more honest because you’ve already got that following and have earned that trust. I have no idea how you get there, I just know it can take a while.”

Do did you read blogs before you started?

“Yes, I watched a lot of YouTube and read a lot of blogs. I have my own beauty blog because I’m more interested in skincare over anything else. I used to have quite bad acne so when I started trying to fix that, I wanted to share how I did it. What I liked, and didn’t like. I got more into make-up and carried on that way.”

There’s a shared belief that magazine and print journalism is dying out, what are your views on that?

“I hope that it doesn’t  I hope that there is always print journalism. I am also a magazine journalist so I hope there is a place for it. Print is slowly going to die down but I think it will always exist. Blogs are good for getting someone’s opinion but when it comes to skincare, especially when they talk about how stuff works, I’m probably more likely to believe something in a magazine than in a blog because I don’t necessarily know where that person has got their information from – have they just taken it from the back of a bottle? Maybe I make that assumption that the journalist actually does the background research so they might have a bit more authority when it comes to speaking about that sort of thing.”

How important are your readers to you?

“They’re really important, I’m always trying to think about what they want to know and how to get them engaged. It does mean a lot to me when they comment. Whether they’re commenting on the post that I have written, or just as a whole they do mean a lot.”

Do you think that because you can adapt to your readers as you get to know them, you’re almost catering better than magazines?

“Yeah, I think it’s a learning process because I’ve had my blog for over two years, its given me a chance to learn what works better. I ask myself, do I need lots of pictures, or text, or do I need to explain different things? I’ve had a lot of chance to play with it. I guess this is what magazines can’t do.”

So do you find multimedia an effective tool on your blog?

“I’ve definitely got more into photography since I started. On other blogs, I value seeing really good photographs and good product shots.”

With blogs it’s more about creating short and snappy pieces and making them really visual, but because of the limited time you have to do this, do you think the quality can be compromised?

“I think so, it depends on the blog as well. I reckon there would be a lot more pressure for someone who has to try and get out there first with a new product or a new item. I’m in a place where I don’t do that. So it means I can take a bit more time and I can be a bit more detailed. I think that’s what my readers value. I wouldn’t want someone to come away from my post with questions.”

So they value the accuracy and quality of your articles?

“I hope so! You want to be that person who gets things out before everyone else and you also want to have a good detailed review with pictures, you have to have a balance.”

Keep updated with Ayshe’s honest beauty tips, news and reviews here: www.discoveringbeautytoday.blogspot.co.uk

Trust me, I’m a journalist?

James Curran is only one of many, who have shared their views on what they believe the future of journalism to look like. By discussing journalism of today, it can become easier to understand what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change in the future.

Curran argues that the internet is enriching old journalism, is compensating for the decline of print journalism and because of this, he believes the ultimate industry could be created if both old and new joined together. Ambitious to say the least, but he has a point.

When reading Curran’s The Future of Journalism (2010) it became clear that without trust, the relationship between reader and journalist would crumble. An idea that I believe print and online media could learn about from each other. 

The old

Curran suggests that ‘newspapers are doing more harm than good’. The fight for readership in an industry saturated in competition often results in distortion, sensationalism and shocking headlines. This can lead to public misunderstanding, yet readers trust the story because they trust the name of the paper. Can this kind of manipulation be justified, just because the paper has earned a trustworthy reputation? Or has public enlightenment simply been lost to competitive print media, who can abuse trust in order to sell papers?

The new

Bloggers are faced with an opposite situation. Readers may not have heard of the blog, but can get to know the writer through online interaction to gain trust. They do not have the professional training of a journalist, so you wouldn’t necessarily trust them to deliver hard news. But given that they haven’t been handed the reputation of a recognised paper, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They must work for a reputation off their own backs which is a time-consuming process that requires hard graft and for no pay.

So why do they do it?

Bloggers hold a burning passion for their chosen topics. A passion has arguably been lost in ‘creative cannibalisation’ that is churned out in newspapers to keep up with demand.

If anything, it is the bloggers who are keeping old journalism alive, (hear me out). They have a hunger to write, have the time to research, and most of all, have readers who trust them, real journalism. Blogs are free, so of course it can’t quite be as simple as that. But it certainly holds some truth.

The readers

Curran believes that ‘journalism will find its future when it finds its audience.’ So who is getting it wrong? From what I have discussed, it would appear that bloggers are the ‘journalists’ who know their readers. But in Britain, 79% of users in 2008 had not read a blog in the past 3 months. Bloggers may be able to interact and get to know their readers but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have many to talk to. 

The solution

If print journalists were removed from the comfort of their newspaper’s reputation, would we still trust them? Perhaps the secret to a successful online convergence lies in the trust of the journalists as individuals, so that we can erase the reliance of a brand name to find ‘good journalism’, provide support independant and local media outlets, and create a more positive future for journalism.

If only it was that easy…