Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cheapside High Fashion

Murdoch may have lost patience with the them-like-it-free turn of the Western print media (he has pulled the rug from under the free daily tabloid London Papers, and is threatening to charge all and sundry for using Newscorp-produced material) but others still have faith in the "and free shall show you the way" mantra.

Yesterday, I had the new free women's fashion weekly Stylist shoved at me as I walked into the Angel tubestation. It is produced by Shortlist Media, which also produces ShortList, a free men's weekly. The first issue of Stylist was launched in October 2009 with Angelina Jolie on the cover. However, by issue 6 that I was holding between my fingers Jolie had given way to a large, furry fuschia handbag of unknown antecedents with a cheesy Carrie-esque coverline: True Love is Bag-Shaped {Why Else Do We All Work So Hard?}.

Only Stylist isn't quite free. Both the readers and the advertisers pay the price in terms of grainy images, blurred text and bad design. Page 10 boasts the grainiest image of Gwenyth Paltrow I ever set my eyes on, and I doubt that the store Next will be too pleased with all that colour bleed on its inside cover full page ad. And did the art director really think cutting through the handbag straps to place the prices is a good design choice (pg 25-28)? And I wonder in which culture is Leon Tom (really) Yum Soup considered gourmet food (pg 19). The PDF version of the magazine is available online - so everyone can judge for themselves.

As Sid would say - high fashion and cheap, grainy magazine? Bad, bad fengshui!

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