Anna Wintour has clearly got many a thing right in her career, not the least of which has been the meteoric rise of her profile in recent years. Largely spurred on by a novel-cum-film, Wintour successfully maintained her image despite the fact that The Devil Wears Prada portrayed others such as Grace Coddington as the real heroes behind Vogue.
When it comes to new media, however, I can’t help but disagree with her. To be sure, I, like Wintour herself, am biased towards our chosen media. But while her sentiments have a ring of truth to them, she’s largely misidentified what new media actually is.
Wintour has told the Wall Street Journal:
With all the new media outlets out there, with all the noise, a voice of authority and calm like Vogue becomes more important than ever. The more eyes on fashion, the more opinions about fashion, the more exploration of fashion around the world, the better it is for Vogue.
Her sentiments are right: there is a lot of noise out there, and readers need to be able to have access to publications that cut out that noise. The trouble is she has misidentified what new media actually is.
New media isn’t just the web, it’s not just publications like Fashionising.com nor personal style blogs. It includes print too; print that has adapted to the modern world with fluidity, print such as Jefferson Hack’s Dazed titles with their fusion of apps, website and the physical product. As Hack told the VAMFF business seminar last week: online is now the experience and print is the souvenir of that experience.
Wintour goes on to say that:
Vogue is like Nike or Coca-Cola – this huge global brand. I want to enhance it, I want to protect it, and I want it to be part of the conversation.
The trouble is that the ‘conversation’ is seldom in print, but it’s always online.