Spin Joins Magazines' Shift to Fashion

Publishers Increasingly Aim to Attract Image-Related Ads

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In magazines' latest bid for more fashion advertising, Spin has formed a fashion department and poached its leader from Alpha Media, the publisher of rival music magazine Blender.

Kelly Rae, Spin's new executive fashion director, comes from Maxim, where she was fashion director. She is only the latest departure from Alpha, which named new co-CEOs on Wednesday.
Spin has formed a fashion department in its latest bid from more fashion advertising.
Spin has formed a fashion department in its latest bid from more fashion advertising.

Spin isn't alone in its new focus. Fashion is fast becoming an important front for many magazines, whose visual and tactile presentation still appeals to brands like Dolce & Gabbana despite the rise of digital media. Witness Wired magazine's desire to connect Gucci with its geeks. Next up: The Source, which will also be giving fashion increased editorial emphasis when it introduces a redesign with its October issue.

The close relationships among music, fashion and trends in the broader culture give music magazines a particular opening when it comes to reaching style-conscious consumers. Those connections helped Blender, for example, win some of the ad budget for Elizabeth Arden's 9IX Rocawear fragrance alongside several men's magazines.

"Musicians help to drive trends," said Malcolm Campbell, publisher of Spin. "The audiences help to drive trends. It's a very vibrant, very fertile area, and I don't think anyone's monopolized it."

Nothing about the effort it easy, of course, particularly as digital music distribution pulls some ad spending online and out of print. The broader economy complicates matters even further.

The first nine months of the year saw Spin post an 8.3% increase in ad pages -- but showed declines of 22.4% at Blender, 17.5% at Vibe and 11.4% for monthlies as a whole, according to the Media Industry Newsletter. Rolling Stone's ad pages fell 20% this year through the Aug. 21 issue. The Source, for its part, is emerging from bankruptcy protection under new ownership.
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