Over the years I’ve bought a lot of fashion magazines, starting with Teen Vogue when I was 15 – 17, to proper Vogue later on. And then at one point I stopped. They were full of information that seemed a bit worthless and also they pretty much say the same thing over and over again.

Since then I’ve only bought fashion magazines (read: not cosmopolitan) when I get on flights to kill time. I recently did that and I believe it’s time to stop that as well.

For a change, on this flight, I had a good look at what makes a Marie Claire, Vogue or InStyle. Here are my findings:

1. Half , yes half, the magazine pages are just ads! I knew there were a lot of adverts and promotions but didn’t realize that half the magazine was dedicated to them

2. 70-80% of “women” shown are models, skinny, white, young and photoshopped. I am ok with using attractive women, finding the perfect time to photograph in the “right” light, but if we get to a point when wrinkles start looking abnormal, it’s not ok.


3. A 3 – 4 page section on “@ work” in Marie Claire was a refreshing change from my teen years of reading the magazine

4. The only time the magazine talks about “world” events is to talk about the terrible (it’s always down-right terrible) condition of women in Africa (it considers it one place), Afganistan, south east asian countries etc – basically anything outside of the US and Europe. I understand that this is not a political, news magazine and I am not looking for The Economist, but an over-whelming number of times it showcases women in dire conditions who happen to make up the majority of non-white faces in the magazine. Note that this is followed by rape, stalking, abuse etc. happening to a women (featured) in Europe and US and how they overcame it.

5. It tells you to love yourself the way you are, and then in the next page it gives you advice on how to loose 20 pounds / kilos in 20 days, followed by a ridiculous diet plan to try, followed by terrible recipes (which are neither low-cal nor quite healthy)

6. Obviously the main content of the magazine should be fashion (for women) as that’s what they claim to be – but is actually shopping for fashion and how to look like the models in their magazine, with a smattering of other “womanly” things (work, love, sex, home decor, low-cal/diet food, travel) thrown in. On a side note someone should tell them women are much more than that.

Where is the fashion? I’m talking about what makes a skirt or bag worth $2,000? Where’s the hard work that goes in to it? Why is there no “fashion” from different parts of the world – unless it has been toned down to an “aztec” print and is “in”? Where’s the handiwork? Where are the artists? It doesn’t have to be about high-end couture fashion. How about an idea of how clothes are made? How they reach the Gaps of the world? How about how trends are defined and decided? How about why crop tops have made it (other than the fact that simultaneously all the “top” fashion houses were showcasing them) vs some other trend? What about why certain fabrics feel nicer than others? How about showcasing (with 2 – 3 pages vs 4 lines) upcoming designers and why they’re good? How about talking about the schools of fashion? History of fashion?

I really am not interested in reading about the celebrity/model life from the cover page. We are all aware that they’ve all really struggled and overcome great hurdles but still manage to be humble and generous people. Plus, please tell me what the life of celebrities has anything to do with fashion – apart from them wearing more expensive clothes than average Jane?

I could go on and on, but will stop for now. If anyone has got through till here and knows of a great fashion magazine, which does not contain the above, do let me know. Thanks in advance.


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