Commercial Magazines vs. Indie Magazines - the Fashion Spot
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aaronboomz's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Commercial Magazines vs. Indie Magazines
I can't seem to find a thread on this issue. Which do you prefer, the commercial magazines (eg. Elle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, InStyle) or the Indie magazines (eg. Dazed and Confused, Pop, i-D, Interview) and why? Hope this becomes a hyped thread, hehe (:

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YoninahAliza's Avatar
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To be honest I like a good mix of the two. I read both commercial and indie magazines. I like the commercial magazines because they sometimes have interesting beauty/fashion/interview articles and feature good models in the eds. Yet I like indie magazines for sources of inspiration- they are what keep me interested in fashion, art, and creativity.

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The only commercial magazine I read is Vogue US and VP and VI aren't commercial at all. I guess I prefer Indie over commercial. Vogue US every now and then will have something inspiring or creativein them. Indie magazines give me alot of inspiration for my next paintings or even my next writings.

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i like them both, but i love my "commercial" mags i guess. i see com mags as ones that contain a lot of ads, they can still be high fashion and commercial, at least in my eyes. vi and vp are com to me b/c a lot of money goes into every aspect of the production. but i dig on indie mags, too.

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blueorchid's Avatar
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Originally Posted by JennaaMonroe View Post
The only commercial magazine I read is Vogue US and VP and VI aren't commercial at all. I guess I prefer Indie over commercial.
I think that both Vogue Paris and Italia are most definitely commercial, Vogue Italia may be less commercial than Paris, but it still is.

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Hmm... I think what constitutes "indie" and "commercial" can be a little blurry. I personally would put every edition of Vogue as commercial, because (when given the opportunity), I do read magazines like V, i-D, and Numero. When I consider society as a whole, however, I can't really think of any of my close friends that read Vogue US- they all say it has too much fashion. It's "commercial" in that it turns large profits and is certainly the arbiter of taste and style in the American magazine cannon, but it's also kind of niche- most of my college girl contemporaries, as well as their mothers, subscribe to magazines like Cosmo and InStyle, which are much more commercially successful overall.

Given that tiny soapbox rant, I know that the nature of this question is (obviously) geared towards the fashion set, and I'll just go ahead and say that, while I certainly read indie mags in store, I subscribe to the heavyweights- Allure, Vogue, Harper's. The editorials tend to feature more wearable looks on the most high quality models, and I'm a sucker for a good article (which Harper's has in spades) and how-to articles, like Allure's.

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^ there's definitely a blurry line between 'indie' and commercial.. I guess ideally, it should be a bit more like music, non?, you apply 'indie' (gah how I hate that word ) to those bands on independent labels, in this case it would be smaller publishing companies?.. anyway, in my mind, the line lies somewhere between magazines devoted to vanity/beauty/whatever, and those devoted to design, which I guess is pretty nonsense!.

I tend to gravitate more towards the latter, magazines that are about creativity or more experimental imagery, new photographers/stylists.. they just have less restrictions so it's a lot to absorb. But anyway, I do enjoy a magazine like say, Elle, and some Vogues.. I just rarely buy them and would not invest myself on a subscription, I find very little to preserve from them..

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I've said before, I find that alternative magazines do tend to get repetitive in their own way - having a different type of person in the contents is no guarantee of getting a more interesting magazine, if the editorial approach itself isn't creative in ways that match the experimental nature of what's being featured.

And in the days before the internet, alternative magazines were an invaluable step in being discovered, in how people could introduce themselves to the world, perhaps starting small with a mention in i-D, subsequently picked up by other publications... but now anyone can set themselves up on the internet - as an amateur or professional presence - and communicate directly to an audience, without having to wait around for an indie magazine to mention them in print at an early stage.

That said, I certainly would never wish any of them to close.

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I'm going to say indie magazines. I do like some publications of Vogue (US, Paris, Italia, Japan, China) a little HB here and there, Elle very rarely, and Vanity Fair and Instyle etc. can be stopped and I would not give a damn. But I can't think of an indie magazine that I consistently dislike.

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Indie means independent meaning they publish without the help of Condé Nast, so Italia and Paris are definitely commercial. Anyways, I agree with YoninahAliza, I love reading commercial magazines because I learn alot. Heck that's where I got my "fashion knowledge". But sometimes I can't help but get bored on the editorials. On the other hand, I love looking at the images for indie magazines but don't bother to read because of the annoying informal interviews.

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On a whole I'm more attracted to the aesthetics of i-D, Numero, V, etc. However I second what tigerrouge said in that they can become repetitive too. I also think there is no real consistency in the quality, aside from Numero (in my opinion). I could perhaps add i-D as well but I do believe that i-D has gone downhill in the last few years compared to what the magazine was once like.
Although I don't read Vogue US, I do enjoy Vogue China, Paris and Italia which are obviously less commercial than the American version. US Vogue is far too celebrity-influenced for my taste, though I do understand it's place particularly in American society.
Anyway.. I don't think that I prefer one over the other because I think they both serve different purposes. I find that "indie" magazines have more creative freedom (? not sure if that's the right word to use) and variation in designers used in the editorials which I like. But I'm not really interested in the written content in them, the only independent magazine that has well-written articles and interviews is Industrie, in my opinion.

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