Not just a magazine: Vogue strikes a deal

The fashion bible is putting on festivals and has set up its own school of style. It's got designs on all of us, says Gillian Orr

If you were one of the 3,000 people who attended Vogue Festival in London last year, you would have been privy to hearing Diane Von Furstenberg talk business, Tom Ford ponder sexuality and picked up a few healthy-eating tips from Natalia Vodianova. You might have walked away with the odd freebie, too.

But rather than being an exclusive event for a select trendy few, anyone, however stylish or fabulous – or not – could buy a ticket. "I thought it could be quite nice to hold an event where people could come, who can't normally get access to people in the fashion industry and hear them speak and see them," the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, said at the time.

Such was its success that Vogue Festival's return for 2013 was assured and its line-up has just been announced. Taking place in April, speakers already confirmed include industry heavyweights such as Victoria Beckham, Mario Testino, Donatella Versace and Alexa Chung.

It is just one of a number of projects that Vogue has rolled out in a bid to stay ahead of the competition. At a difficult time for publishing, the magazine is taking a fresh approach to connecting with its readers and building quite the empire while it is at it. This May will see the launch of Miss Vogue, a one-off 124-page magazine aimed at the younger reader, to be given away with the June edition of the magazine.

Soon you'll be able to take a 10-week Vogue Fashion Certificate or receive your Vogue Fashion Foundation Diploma from the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design, which arrives in Soho this April.

Then there's the annual Vogue Fashion's Night Out, when select stores open their doors late for champagne, dancing and sometimes even shopping. Started in response to retail's challenges following the banking crisis, it has taken place in the capital every September since 2010. And British Vogue remains in good health – 2012 saw the magazine achieve 6 per cent growth in advertising revenue and it has a circulation of 205,000, boasting a readership of 1.1 million.

While these extra developments may be necessary in today's uncertain climate, Stephen Quinn, Vogue's publisher, insists that the magazine remains the heart of the business. "It's a case of trying to think of ways in which we can create fresh, lively interest around Vogue," he says. "None of these things really will be money spinners in any real sense. Vogue the magazine must remain the fashion leader; the most admired magazine. You've got to do things that are classy and dignified and just right."

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