From Stylebible to L’Officiel Manila, Starstyle to Megastyle, four online editors chime in on the state of fashion today.
It’s not just about print anymore. With online becoming as vital to the fashion industry as viral is to how news is received and digested, digital fashion journalism has become the efficient and up-to-the-minute medium by which the girl on the street is able to keep herself abreast with the latest trends and styles.
But does that mean the web is killing print or does it make the web one big hot mess (pun intended)? Since information is easily available with a swipe, it also makes it difficult to be heard. So for this issue, we gathered online editors Zoe Laurente of Stylebible, Andrea Ang of L’officiel Manila , Gela de Dios of Starstyle, and Sarah Santiago of Megastyle for a round-table discussion on what being up-to-date in fashion means in the digital age. We asked about the pros and cons of online fashion as well as the secret to a heart-worthy post over coffee at Frank and Dean, Burgos Circle.
YOUNG STAR: What is the difference between covering fashion online and for print?
ANDREA ANG: To define our brand, you look at the print and to explore more of the brand, you go online. I would say that we cover the same things but we execute them in different ways. When we do a trend report, in print we would discuss where it came from, who’s doing it best, and how is it different from previous trends. But for web, we make it a bit more interactive and more shop-able.
ZOE LAURENTE: It’s really “months-to-moments.” I guess web is more for the up-to-date coverage and print is the one that really gives an insight like how can you wear this particular style.
GELA DE DIOS: Web is accessible and it’s fast. Our readers comment and share our stories — it gives them participation in what we do so we have quicker access to know what the readers love to see.
SARAH SANTIAGO: Just think of Megastyle as Mega’s younger, but not too young, sister. We are on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s fresh (not just in terms of being up-to-the-minute but in the sense that it’s provocative and inspiring, too), and we make that accessible to our audience with a quick tap or swipe.
How do online platforms adapt the trends to their market — the online community and the Filipino culture?
ZL: Since the trends are more international, what we try to do is tell our readers this is where you can buy these things or these are the substitutes for these pieces. (But for Stylebible) we really try to prioritize local events and releases.
AA: Since it’s an international game and we’re a local player, the way we attack is not so much on whether it’s trending but whether it’s relevant here — to the industry and to the consumers. L’Officiel is an international brand so we also want to be able to compete internationally and we do that online by going for the idea of the trend more than the trend itself because in that manner, it’s easier to make it more relatable to our local market.
GD: It’s always about creating compelling and sharable content. We not only write about fashion and beauty but local celebrities as well. We give the readers a closer look at their interests in fashion and their everyday lifestyle, so some of our content doesn’t really come out like reports. Also, our content is directed to teenagers, as well as young professionals so we opt for a more conversational tone yet still have the authority on reporting the latest trends.
SS: We stay true to the Mega brand, which is to always put young local talent and homegrown brands to the fore. We also break down the trend and make it wearable and street-ready. We tell you when and how to wear it, what to wear it with, and even tell you what beauty looks can go with a particular trend.
Is the concept/pressure of the September Issue as big online as it is in print?
ZL: For [Stylebible] it’s constant. We always do fashion, beauty and parties so we just try to put in bigger features that will highlight that big concept in a particular print issue.
GD: There’s no such thing as the September Issue for us. Of course we put focus on the runway shows but we stretch it out over a season to keep the story alive. On big months, I think the pressure is the same, maybe not in the process of making it, but in the way that we all want our readers to get the most information possible in the most attractive way.
What kind of stories attract the most readers?
ZL: Celebrities are money for us. One day, readers want to know about celebrity events but the next day, they might want to read about shoes so its important to have diversity. We also get more hits via links and social media instead of direct home page access so it’s also really about how you share and promote your stories.
What’s the worst part of doing online?
SS: For me, it’s being online all the time. I’m traditional, in the sense that I like to experience something through my senses and I like being offline and tuning the world out from time to time.
What’s the best part of doing online?
ZL: With digital you can do so much with the visuals like GIFs and videos because it’s another way of telling the story.
GD: It’s flexible. There aren’t as many rules as doing print. We can move stories around on our schedule and when we make mistakes, it’s much easier to edit.
Do you agree that online influences print as much as print influences online?
SS: I do both print and online, so I would say yes. Print is forever, even if more than half the world is going digital. But in this age one cannot survive without the other.
ZL: We are really trying to find ways to integrate print more with online but whatever they do in the magazine doesn’t really affect us. However, Stylebible wouldn’t be what it is now if we had not taken off from Preview.
AA: Everyone used to say that web was going to kill print but it actually just gave it life. It made print work harder to discover who they are and to find out which stories are really worth doing. Before digital, little stories would make it to the magazines but now you can already see which ones need to be mentioned in print and which ones are only to be fully published online. I believe web and print are good indicators of each other.
Special thanks to Frank and Dean located at G/F Forbes Town Center Open Garden, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City.