Brands' own magazines to render 'old' fashion media obsolete?

On March 5, Yves Saint Laurent again distributed its annual Manifesto publication in international cities - a clever publicity campaign which proves how much more direct brands' contact with their customers has become.

Apart from the increasingly sophisticated editorial content of stores' or brands' websites - recent examples include Neiman Marcus, which just launched its own blog, or men's e-tailer Mr Porter, whose website is run by former Esquire editor Jeremy Langmead - labels and retail chains are now also venturing into print, cutting out independent magazine editors to get their message across.

Swedish brand Acne was one of the first to get into the publishing industry, creating its Acne Paper back in 2005 when it was already described by The Independent as "pointing to the future of fashion publishing."

Since then, fellow Swedes, the retail chains H&M and H&M-owned COS have followed suit, providing styling inspiration with their fashion stories, deciphering runway trends, running contests and showcasing some of the best fashion photographers. Meanwhile, French hipster chain The Kooples caused a stir when it launched its magazine together with its first boutique in 2008, and its stylish couples - posing in the brand's clothes while telling their personal love stories - became its often-copied signature.

Multi-brand outlets, such as Asos, have also created their own magazines, whose editorials - for example a recent Daisy Lowe shoot - get discussed by conventional fashion media, while designer shopping site Net-à-Porter additionally launched a TV channel that features interviews, runway round-ups, and click-through shopping that would do any traditionally editorial publication proud.

So the threat from bloggers may be the least thing fashion magazines have to worry about: while brands once needed print publications to place ads or editorial content, they now have their own editors (who often used to work for 'independent' media) in-house. In combination with fashion companies' fast and direct link to customers via their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts, fashion editors will likely have to think of something new to stay in the game.

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