This week, I’m going to talk about WWD, formerly known as Women’s Wear Daily.
WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) used to be the main newspaper for the American fashion industry. While it has gathered some competition* in the last few years, it remains a principle source for fashion industry news in the United States. It was founded in 1910 as a spinoff of the menswear newspaper, Daily News Record. (Ironically, DNR ceased publishing on its own in December, 2008. Menswear market coverage was added to WWD to compensate.) However, corporate takeovers combined with shrinking print markets and the fading American fashion industry took their toll on WWD as well. The last newsprint issue came out on April 24, 2015, although the paper still prints issues for spring and fall New York Fashion Weeks.
Founded in 1910 by Edmund Fairchild. During World War I, when Paris fashion houses closed, Fairchild encouraged American designers to use Native American sources and local landscapes as inspiration. He used the newspaper to inspire and promote an American design voice independent of the Paris couture scene through both this war and WWII.
Fairchild’s successor (and grandson), John Fairchild, famously led the publication to its late-century position of arbiter of taste and design talent. Focusing on the glamour of designers and their international lifestyle, he helped create the era of the designer as celebrity. He personally launched the careers of Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Yves Saint Laurent by raving about their early work.
His relationship with design houses was love/hate in many cases, because he often published new designs ahead of their runway or wedding debuts. His personal feuding with legendary designers was also well known, and resulted in the banning of designers such as Azedine Alaia, Geoffrey Beene, and Pauline Trigere from the newspaper’s pages.
This special issue on intimate apparel was published from 2004 through 2010. The newspaper took advantage of changes that made color printing cheaper by putting out a series of tabloid-sized supplements like this. Other titles we have from this era of WWD include WWD Fast (attempting to catch current pop-culture trends), WWD Scoop (focused on celebrity stylemakers), WWD Accessories, and WWD Magic (the menswear show).
The library has WWD in multiple formats:
We keep the last 3 months’ worth at the PERS desk on the 4th floor. These are mainly the fashion week issues and any recent special issues they’ve published.
We have special issues housed both behind the PERS desk and in the main stacks on the 5th floor.
We have a subscription to the online version of the title.
And we have the ProQuest archive of the newspaper since its beginning in 1910.
We have bound issues of the newspaper from 1980-1993 in the open stacks on the 4th floor.