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LOOK NORTH: Where is the future of fashion? VMan is putting its money on Scandinavia. And Scandinavia, in return, is putting its money into VMan — at least via advertising. This much is evident from the quarterly’s summer issue, out now, which is devoted almost exclusively to the fashions and faces of the northern European region (from Swedish cover boy and “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgård to the Hedi Slimane-shot portfolio of Danish youth to page after page of comely as-yet-unknown actors, musicians, artists and models wearing designers you haven’t heard of yet).
“It just felt like Scandinavia was having its moment,” said Stephen Gan, editor in chief and creative director of V and VMan, of the issue’s geographic focus. Gan had the idea after attending Copenhagen Fashion Week last summer. “I was really surprised at the whole energy. It felt like such a foreign, remote part of the world, and you just don’t imagine [that] they’ve got a real, booming business going over there,” he said.
So healthy, in fact, that many Scandinavian brands — among them Kopenhagen Fur (who also scored the back-cover credit and provided the magazine with V-shaped pieces of mink, used to luxe up the VMan logo on 100 VIP copies), Shamballa Jewels, Royal Copenhagen, WeSC, Bruuns Bazaar and Mads Nørgaard — decided to advertise in the issue. Most, if not all, of them received editorial shout-outs in the form of fashion credits or news items. And as a result, ad pages in the issue are up 50 percent, to 39, compared with last summer’s issue, which featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the cover and 26 pages of ads inside. (The magazine maintains it didn’t offer discounting or change page rates.)
So, it makes sense that Gan and VMan editor Jacob Brown plan to do a second Scandinavian issue for winter, though Gan, who is also the magazine’s de facto publisher, said it won’t just be for the ad pages. “I kind of go with that gut instinct, with what people and places enchant me and intrigue me at the moment. I always believe that business follows. I don’t believe in ever doing anything because it was purely driven as a marketing strategy. I think, in this climate, that’s just suicidal.”
— Nick Axelrod