Magazine of the Week

Welcome back, everyone!


Hypebeast 4x/year, Hong Kong, began 2012 (blog begun 2005)

Hypebeast is a great example of changing media culture. In contrast to say, everything Conde Nast publishes, this title began life as a blog. In 2005, editor/creator Kevin Ma put up a website to collect posts about limited edition sneakers. He was a college student in Vancouver at the time, and wanted to talk about sneakers he saw on the market, or had bought himself. As the company expanded, the print version we subscribe to was one of his experiments.



As it grew, the site expanded from its sneaker focus to address the sneaker-mania’s larger culture: it talked about hip-hop, street fashion, skate boarding, and street art. Ma’s fortunate timing placed the website at the intersection of a growing international online culture, and the development of web-based product sales.








Hypebeast grew by being a knowledgeable and enthusiastic conduit between sneaker companies and their most passionate consumers. This has enabled the company to expand into a global media company with video and radio components as well. His choice of Hong Kong location also keeps his workshop near the active Japanese market as well as with sneaker designer/collaborators in China to work with factories there. Nonetheless, Ma says that 40-50% of his market remains American.






The title remains youth oriented, but maintains its skate-board/hip-hop/active sportswear culture. Sneakers remain center stage and have a lot of advertorial space. Despite Ma’s description of the site as “contemporary menswear” focused, there is a women’s fashion page, called Hypebae, alongside music and forums pages.






The site and print versions include a lot of thoughtful celebrity interviews. The fashion is both hip-hop- and normcore- influenced. The  print edition embodies youth’s fascination with things that look handmade and contemplative despite extreme stylization, mechanical reproduction and control.

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Fashionistas walking

There were a whole lot of clothes on a whole lot of runways in the last few weeks. I thought this breezy recap of Italian street fashion was cool:

I also loved the irreverance of Refinery29’s London street fashion report:

To find out more about the fashion week’s that just happened, check out our online forecasts/reportage:

We hope that your next collection is even better than these looks!

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Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone!


This is a requiem for a print stalwart. Ebony magazine, published 12 times a year since 1945, has given way to the online media revolution. The last print issue, above, was published in September 2016. The title continues as an online community at

Begun by entrepreneurs John and Eunice Johnson, Ebony was originally conceived of as a pictorial news magazine counterpoint to the popular Life and Look. The magazine, now published solely online, claims to be “the number 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the Black community…[which] reaches nearly 11 million readers…and ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration.” Johnson’s vision drew subscribers, but it took till 1972 for him to be named Magazine Publisher of the Year.




Ebony’s focus on African American life used/s features on successful people from many walks of life to represent a broader range of the Black experience in American life. While “mainstream” magazines featured (and still do) very few African American models, advertising copy, or success stories, Ebony presented these as normative. Regular features included marriage and relationship advice, specialized grooming and skin care tips*, business and education advice, alongside spotlights on Black entertainers, educators, politicians and sports stars.





In 1951, the publisher started a sister publication, Jet, which came out weekly in a small digest size. This title went strictly online in 2014. Using it’s weekly format, Jet helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement by publishing stories and details that weren’t being covered by white media companies.Their publication of photos of a young Mississippi man who was lynched in 1955 is often credited as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.




Both Jet and Ebony have been digitized extensively by Google Books, which you can see here:


Eunice Johnson had a longstanding interest in fashion. From a prominent family in Selma, Alabama, Eunice decided to take her interest in beautiful clothing and bring it to the black middle class. In 1958 she called up the couturiers she bought her own clothes from and put together a fashion road show, the annual Ebony Fashion Fair. The show featured black models and often highlighted black designers, and it toured all throughout America. The 1978 list of tour dates included such cities as Fort Wayne, IN; Wilmington, DE, Dayton, OH; Evanston and Joliet, IL; Chattanooga, TN; and Mobile, AL. In 1961, the tour was invited to the White House, despite the models and stage managers being forbidden to use the front door in most southern restaurants.



The show continued until 2009, when Eunice died at the age of 93. It had the lasting impact of putting the African American take on high fashion front and center in American life, and engaging middle America in a world that had previously felt very far from their experience.




In 2016, Johnson sold his publishing company to a private equity corporation. The title continues in an online format.


*Kinky curly hair and dark skin have very different care needs than Anglo-European straight hair and pale skin.

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