Publish and be glammed: When did in-house fashion titles get so glamorous?

Next month, a year after opening its first UK store, the American clothing company Abercrombie and Fitch will relaunch its controversial magazine A & F Quarterly, discontinued in 2002 after four US states threatened legal action against its racy sexual content. At the time, Abercrombie's chief executive Mike Jeffries declared that he was simply "bored" of the project.

The reasoning behind bringing the magazine back through the London store is thought to be that European audiences are considered more open-minded than their US counterparts. But another explanation could be that if Abercrombie and Fitch doesn't throw itself back on the brand magazine wagon, it will be missing out on an eager market that has come to expect more from its fashion retailers than clothes alone.

Brand magazines are a relatively new phenomenon, but they are exploding across the fashion market. Over the years, many brands have dipped in and out of publishing, but usually only with the production of a catwalk supplement or look-book. Now, however, a growing number of brands regularly publish their own magazines. On the high street, Uniqlo, H&M and its sister line COS are all accompanied by publications, while the affordable Swedish designer label Acne has created a slick magazine, full of lavish photo shoots and essays, that could easily stand on its own.

As unlikely as it may seem, the brands in question have been looking to the likes of Tesco for inspiration in this enterprise. In the same way that supermarkets have used in-house publications to educate readers on what recipes to make with the ingredients that they can buy in store, the general idea of the brand mag is to advise customers how to achieve this season's trends with pieces from the shops' ranges.

"We wanted to create an in-store magazine that was more than the standard look-books you get at other stores," explains Markus Kiersztan of MP Creative, based in NYC, who collaborated on the Uniqlo newspaper. "The first issue was published to coincide with the launch of Uniqlo in New York, and we wanted to associate the brand with the art and design industry."

The launch was such a success that Uniqlo decided to introduce the magazine to UK branches as Uniqlo was starting to "feed the brand to a cooler and edgier audience".

Meanwhile, a marketing source for H&M explains that its magazine is "the result of a merger between the staff newsletter and the club magazine. It was set up to provide fashion inspiration to customers and employees. We want to show people who we are and what we stand for, and also show them the latest fashion trends."

The glossy pages are packed with Hennes product combined with travel guides, beauty, horoscopes and features by fashion journalists, including Vogue's Harriet Quick. It is as honest and bold as the clothes themselves.

The COS alternative is the big sister of the H&M magazine, and although the sophisticated format claims to be "The Shape of Things to Come", it is little more than a traditional look-book interwoven with high-brow essays. However, its format complements that of Acne Paper, which is taking the idea of brand magazines to a new level.

"With a [brand] magazine you have a unique opportunity to present a 'world' on a much grander scale," says Thomas Persson, editor-in-chief. "It is a much more generous format than an advertisement."

Launched in Sweden in 2005, just as its parent brand was going global, Acne Paper seemed to be a natural evolution for a company that was already working in fashion, advertising and film. But it is the content of the magazine that sets it apart from its newsstand equivalents. Acne Paper uses very little Acne clothing in the fashion shoots, choosing instead to mix it up with, among others, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

The current edition, for example, showcases a selection of Chloé creations, in a grand Parisian photo story, alongside an interview with their designer, Paulo Melim Andersson. Not only is this evidence of self-confidence in Acne's product, it also shows a new confidence in the magazine concept, bringing brand publications in line with the more traditional style magazines – pointing to an alternative future for fashion publishing.

Five issues later and Acne Paper has attracted an array of contributors, from newbies to legends, including Lord Snowdon, illustrator Jean-Paul Goude, designer Kim Jones and photographer Katerina Jebb. The sixth edition, themed around the idea of elegance, was officially launched in the UK last week with a fittingly chic champagne reception at Claridge's.

"When we launched we were criticised for not being a 'real' magazine," continues Persson. "We weren't real because we were financed by one label only and didn't have tons of advertisers. This always puzzled me. Why is a magazine that has to compromise with the advertising department more real than a magazine that does not need advertising to exist? Isn't it the content that makes a magazine real?"

'Uniqlo Paper', 'H&M magazine' and 'COS' are available in their respective shops. 'Acne Paper' is available from Liberty, Regent Street, London W1, tel: 020 7734 1234

Beauty spot: Four luxury items worthy of a cover star

By Elisa Makin

The fragrance

Bronze Goddess, £36, Estée Lauder, www.esteelauder.co.uk - a coconut-suntan lotion-like scent

The face cream

Crème de la Mer, £145, 0870 034 2566 - consistent favourite on the beauty pages

The brow shaper

Benefit Brow Zing, £21.50, www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk - still best for unruly eyebrows

The lip gloss

Lipstick Queen Oxymoron, £18, www.spacenk.co.uk - a new cult classic

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own