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Made-in-Florence fashion publications

Wed 09 Jan 2019 3:30 PM

With the Tuscan capital submerged in a swirl of Pitti-goers—their sartorial flamboyancy dancing across monochromatic cobblestones—why does a scarcity of fashion titles continue to endure? For long-celebrated runway capitals and newcomer cities alike, there’s no doubting the print industry’s incessant flux. Take, for example, the dramatic demise and rapid re-genesis of New York’s Interview magazine, whose plot twists played out over the course of mere months. Despite the turbulence often threatening a modern magazine’s trajectory, the likes of London and Paris have enlivened their consumers with freshly pressed publications, from The Skirt Chronicles to Twin Magazine and all aesthetics in-between. Florence has risen the ranks in recent years to snatch “fifth fashion capital” status, but where are the sartorial titles that substantiate such a coup?

For Gili Biegun and Simone Gismondi, their respective publishing projects, JOYS Magazine and thePLAYERS, fuse impressive production values with a far-expanding editorial lens. From the initial planning stage, Gismondi was adamant that his magazine “addressed all the fashion-enthused Florentines in search of different contents and in-depth analyses”. Pitti Uomo’s bi-annual spectacle plays a key part from issue to issue, but the editorial spreads tap into the global zeitgeist, a factor affirming Gismondi’s claims that “thePLAYERS isn’t a magazine ‘for the city’, to be exclusively consumed by Florentine readers … although published in Italian, it has an international community that collects and admires it, which loves its ‘Made In Italy’ qualities and recognises these in the graphic design and editorial guise of the magazine”. Beigun was similarly fuelled by a desire to publish beyond her Florentine parameters, with JOYS Magazine’s all-English contents often focusing on the established European fashion capitals of Milan, Paris and London. Whilst stating that “Florentines are visual people, seeking beautiful, high-quality things to decorate their day-to-day life”, Beigun treats her worldwide followers with equal fervor. “With the globalisation of the fashion world, the magazine’s international audience becomes domestic in a way … the balance {between connecting with Florentines and foreigners}  is natural, {because} love for fashion is everywhere.”

Whilst this design-conscious duo has breathed colourful life into the city’s fashion-magazine landscape, this marketplace is still somewhat barren. What of the young creative talents cutting their teeth at Polimoda, Marangoni et al? From fashion photographers to forward-thinking designers, many of these budding trailblazers will conjure up visually arresting work but, upon completion, struggle to secure platforms willing to publish them. Oftentimes, their penchant for beautifully crafted print makes them the ideal candidates to set up publications, should they be afforded the resources to do so.

Polimoda student Beatriz Barros’s fondness for print was sparked from her first point of contact with fashion and has since evolved from “thinking Chanel was the woman of my life, my icon, as a 10 year old” to “looking for publications that are more personal, more niche” that merit repeated reading. This touches on a key point about where Florentine fashion print (and, arguably, fashion print as a whole) desperately needs to go, a direction that captures relevant moments in time whilst not being so time-stamped as to have a short shelf-life. Barros gravitates towards magazines that resemble coffee table books, their contents bursting with “individual experiences that have universal values” and whose visual and textual pages can be relished and returned to time and again.

Polimoda peer fashion design student Sijia Guo reveres 032c as it is “expanding its ambitions in the industry. It started as a magazine and now has its own fashion brand”, capturing Guo’s dual skill sets in garment design and fashion photography. As for the archaic thought process that digital advancements will signify the demise of print, both Guo and Barros are united in standpoint. Guo cites the “{usage} of attractive, online images and videos to implore people to buy printed magazines for deeper, exclusive and collectible content”, whilst Barros states that “it’s pointless to aim for a magazine that says exactly the same thing that was posted on Instagram two days before … the latest news should be left for online.”

So, what should a Florentine fashion publication look like today? Barros’ creative vision is clear-cut. “It should come from a mixture of Florentines and international people because you can’t deny that {both categories} are there, and both can bring something to the table. I can’t think of any other city that has this exponential {output} related to the Renaissance, and that could also have potential for such a lively culture in contemporary terms.”

Massimiliano Golini, owner of thriving sartorial bookstore Fashion Room in via il Prato, feels that “Florence wants to be a citizen of the world, with great culture” and that this should be reflected in print, but also cites a “campanilismo mindset” that the city still has to surmount in order to connect globally and fully.

Filippo Anzalone, creative director and buyer for Oltrarno magazine mecca Bjork, provides an interesting perspective. “A publication that, like Cereal’s and Kinfolk’s lifestyle frameworks, centred on production and craftsmanship in Tuscany and Florence would be very handy and economically viable, both for people who work here and people from abroad looking to produce their own projects here.”

Whatever their exact contents may comprise, one thing is certain: the next additions to Florence’s fashion publications must place style and substance on equal playing fields.


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