The September Issue
By Sally C. Pipes and Rowena Itchon
“In the occasionally parallel universe of fashion magazines,” writes Matthew Schneier, style editor of the New York Times, “the calendar diverges from the standard. The Gregorian does not apply. For fashion magazines, September is Christmas. September is your birthday. September is New Year’s Eve.”
He was right – once.
There was a time when few things were more delightful at the end of a long day than pouring a glass of wine and turning – slowly – the pages of the new September Vogue. We once subscribed to every single fashion magazine, such was our devotion obsession. Sally, in her grandmother’s footsteps, subscribed to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar when she turned 21. Before then, she read her copies when she had finished them. Sally’s nana would be appalled by the left-wing politicization of fashion. Ro, on the other hand, hid them from her mom under the bed. Too frivolous – Ro had to stick to her studies so that she can grow up to work for a think tank.
So, when did we finally fall out of love? To paraphrase Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy: We cannot fix on the particular story profiling the leftist feminist, or the spot that had been spoiled by climate change, or the look of gladiator shoes, or the words of Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, which laid the foundation. It’s been too long. We just let our subscriptions lapse before we knew it.
And apparently, we’re not the only ones.
“The September issue means nothing anymore,” Sam Shahid told Alexandra Steigrad, media reporter at the New Your Post. Shahid is the founder of the branding and advertising agency Shahid & Company. “You used to hold that magazine in your hand. It takes you to a place — that’s what a magazine used to do. Now they are all doing the same thing. There’s no imagination there.”
We think Mr. Shahid is on to something – fashion editors can’t seem to imagine that there’s more to their audience than progressive feminists. Polls show that about 40 percent of women vote Republican – which means that fashion editors are likely turning off a significant portion of their readers.
Take this September issue of Harper’s Bazaar profiling four “star activists” who “explain why they’ll never give up the fight for social justice.” One activist is fighting for women’s rights, another to end world hunger, another to stop climate change, still another to end gun violence. Well, under those categories, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley happens to be at least a three-fer.
To be fair, the digital age is reducing the circulation of all print publications. These days, we’ve abandoned the fashion magazines — and the lefty articles – for Youtube, where we can watch our favorite “influencers”, and directly watch videos of the collections modeled on the runways of New York, Paris, and Milan.
Gone are the days, as Steigrad writes, when executives from Vogue, InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour and W would brag about the thickness of their telephone book-sized glossies. “They’d boast of the ‘thud’ the issues made when dropped on a coffee table. The louder the thud, the more powerful the magazine. Now that thud is more of a whimper.”
In tribute to the September Issue, here is our version, featuring the our favorite PRI’s team ready for the pages of GQ or Vogue!
Sally Pipes is President and CEO and Rowena Itchon is Senior Vice President of the Pacific Research Institute.