Another One Bites the Dust: Linda Wells and Allure

November 12 2015

Back in the day, I was a charter subscriber to Condé Nast’s Allure magazine. I have always loved the magazine’s prescient and perfect blend of high/low sensibilities as envisioned by its original editor-in-chief, Linda Wells. Glamorous Michael Thompson, Tom Munro and Carter Smith photos of top models and up-to-the moment celebrities existing side-by-side with lowbrow articles on the best supermarket beauty buys and runway trends. It worked, even for someone like myself, who loves skincare but barely wears any make-up except for lipstick. 

Anyway. In keeping with keeping up, the founding editor of Allure has been pushed out along with a progression of top photo directors and editors from other titles at Condé Nast in an effort to make the company and its brand more relevant for the social, digital age. There is still opulent photography, interesting writing and an aspirational life to live within the pages of Vogue, but we have been watching the steady consolidation and diminishing of disparate pieces of the Condé Nast brand over the past year or two. Style.com is being relaunched as a new e-commerce and omnichannel shopping platform, so that the company can monetize their brands even further. Condé Nast Traveler has also been “modernized” with limited success after its long standing, highly regarded editorial and art staff was shown the door.



Back to Linda Wells, though, who is being replaced by Michele Lee of Nylon Media. Lee’s last job blurred the distinction between editorial and advertising, which, based on Style.com, is certainly the direction that Condé Nast is going in. Linda Wells is an old-school, independent editor with grace, taste, and moxy, one who possessed a good sense of what her reader wanted and who maintained editorial control over her product. There’s barely a wall or a door anymore between editorial and advertising in what is left of the traditional publishing world, and it certainly doesn't exist in the online or social media world, so I’m sure we will see the last few great editors step down in the next few years.

I hope that Ms. Wells will write a beautiful memoir about her years as a beauty queen. We will miss you, Linda.

Hanging Chads, Whoops, We Mean Hangtags

June 25 2014

Slowly, but surely it seems the fashion industry is joining the 21st century in terms of social awareness. From racial diversity on the runway, to more body types being shown in ads, to accountability in manufacturing conditions—there seems to be a glimmer of change.


left & right

Which is why when I recently bought a dress from the ultra-cool Swedish collective brand, Acne Studios, I was taken aback by their hangtag design. Acne’s tag uses plastic and two heavy pieces of paper, which seems like (or rather—is) a total waste of resources. It’s overkill. For a brand known for such a modern, sleek, and minimalist aesthetic, the wasteful and environmentally unfriendly tag presents a weird brand disconnect. And Acne is not the only brand to overdo, or rather overuse, in this arena.


left & right

Now, no one is equating runway racism with eco-unfriendly waste in terms of fashion injustices. However, the oddity of the whole issue stems from the lack of thought and consideration. It’s 2014! Our cars can are programmed to stop before they crash. We order our groceries online. We trustingly buy our life insurance online. Therefore it can’t be that hard to design a green and eco-friendly hangtag. Ethical Fashion, an online forum that addresses a wide range of issues within the industry, recently posted about some underground labels using tags that are washer ready. The tags are made of a soap mixture that disintegrates in the washer and rids the fabric of any chemicals added during manufacturing. So it can be done!

Hangtags are an applied expression of a brand’s positioning and design aesthetic. A more thoughtfully designed and produced hangtag can be a win-win for a fashion brand, and a small but easily achievable step in protecting our natural resources.

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