As a child, I always scurried through the stacks of magazines at the shop as my mom shopped. As I went through the pictures inside them with amusement, some of the pictures stayed in my head long before I had left the shop. I would then come back home only to try and imitate the style and clothing of the beautiful model that I had seen in them.
Fashion magazines were one of the first ways in which people started understanding the concept of style. Over the years they have become a relevant part of print medium by engaging the users with interesting content as well as bringing the world of fashion at their footsteps. They inspire and upgrade the generation on the style quotient they must be adopting and lately have also been at the forefront for quietly fighting a rebellion on their own by bringing relevant themes into print.
Here is the list of top fashions magazines that stayed relevant and become loved by people.
It was in the year 1867 that Harper’s and brothers founded, Harpers Bazaar in New York, which made its way into becoming one of the first woman’s fashion magazine in the United States, expanding to 33 editions over its course. The American monthly publication was dedicated to bringing style and fashion to “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture”. It spread its wings soon enough to enter into other parts of the world and gave rise to the version Harper’s bazaar India in the year 2009, covering Kareena Kapoor and Swarovski crystals. In India, it constantly forayed into newer territories, such as launching Harpers Bazaar Bride marking its presence in the luxury wedding market. Recently they also made a statement by shooting their cover of the May 2019 edition featuring Jameela Jamil on using a mobile camera of Onepus 7 pro.
Vogue is one of the prominent fashion and lifestyle magazine known, not only for its approach to young and approachable fashion but for its infamous editor in chief, Anna Wintour. Started in the year 1892, by Arthur Baldwin Turnure and based in New York, the publication targeted the upper class and their tastes in fashion. In 1902, Conde Nast purchased vogue and has been running its publications in India and around, ever since. Its most noted editor Anna Wintour is said to have turned the publication around from its downfall by strategically moulding the identity of the magazine to affordable and approachable fashion for the younger audience. The first edition of Vogue India was published in October 2007 with its cover featuring Bipasha Basu, Gemma Wardon and Priyanka Chopra. Over its period, Vogue India faced certain backlash, one of it concerning its 10th anniversary “Indian affair” edition which featured Kendall Jenner, criticised for not having included an Indian model. In its recent edition, they were also criticised for bringing in Suhana Khan in its cover which sparked the nepotism debate yet again. As of today, the magazine has 22 editions.
Italian origin weekly magazine, Grazia started its publication in the early year of 1938 and has over 28 editions at the moment. Founded by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, It is popularly known as woman’s fashion and celebrity gossip magazine. Grazia Italy is said to have pursued the conservative Italian values of cooking and child-rearing in women as their focus in the earlier days of the publication. In 2015, Grazia infamously faced a backlash for their article which promoted breeding of family pets in return for money to buy furniture. The animal rights activists all over the world criticised the magazine. In 2008, Grazia India published its first-ever issue featuring Bipasha Basu on its cover. Recently the magazine faced much criticism in India when an influencer pointed out that the cover featuring Kareena Kapoor was edited badly. It was noted that her knees almost had gone missing due to the enormous amount of editing. The magazine has been celebrating women and their achievements and has received much success on their cover stories over the months.
The fashion and entertainment magazine, cosmopolitan founded by Schlicht & Field, originated in 1886 in the united states, as a family magazine. Throughout its time it acquired many identities such as being called a literary magazine after which it finally transformed into a women’s magazine, a reputation it has maintained since. Referred to as cosmo, it has 64 editions around the world. In its October 2018 issue, the magazine was criticised for featuring the UK model, Tess Holiday. Britain at that time was facing an issue with obesity and magazine was criticised for glorifying the same by bringing Tess, who was on the heavier side. Cosmo, from its early stages, stood for the woman who was daring enough to break the shackles of the glass ceiling and had a go-getter attitude. In its April 2020 edition, cosmo India launched its first-ever work from home issue, where the cover girl Sobhita Dhulipala styled and photographed herself at home. The issue was made available free through its website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Founded in 1959 and owned by times group, Femina is the oldest fashion and beauty magazine, originated in Mumbai. Its publication over the years has extended to other languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Tamil, besides English. Over the years Femina has been successful in changing with times and adapting newer approaches and taglines, as the culture around the country and its women evolved. The magazine has been organising and sponsoring the infamous, Femina Miss India beauty pageant since 1964. In the 2019 pageant, Femina was faced with criticisms for bringing only fair-skinned girls as finalists. The biweekly magazine is also a host to various other events such as Femina beauty awards, Femina women awards, Femina stylista and such. The magazine has carried a wide variety of taglines over its years such as “Thoughtful. Contemporary. Aware” and “A woman’s window to the world” before it finally settled for the infamous tagline “be unstoppable” in 2014 which has been the carried forward ever since.
The popular fashion and lifestyle magazine of France, Elle was founded in 1945 by Hélène Gordon-Lazareff and Pierre Lazareff. Elle in French means “she” or “her”. Elle has always stood for the upliftment of woman by showcasing their important transformation in history and by celebrating their achievements. The magazine expanded into 46 editions across the world over its journey. The first edition of Elle India was published in the year 1996. In their 2010 issue, Elle India faced an alleged criticism and threat from the actress Aiswarya Rai Bachchan who did not approve of the edit by the magazine. It was reported that her skin colour looked unusually light in the cover that was featuring a story, though no action was taken against it.
Launched in 1995, Verve is a premier luxury and lifestyle magazine, originated at home in Mumbai. It was founded by Anuradha Mahindra, the wife of well-known industrialist, Anand Mahindra. It is one of the few Indian magazines that are not run or owned by a foreign company. It covers various subjects such as woman’s lifestyle, trends, fashion, beauty as well as art, travel, food and the like. A monthly publication, Verve has always focused on unique and in-depth interviews of famous personalities and has also brought newer talents to the forefront through its feature stories. The magazine has been known for their annual list containing the powerful woman achievers of the respective year, best dressed and the January list of young achievers.
Founded in 1931 by Conde Nast, Gentlemen’s Quarterly popularly known as GQ is a men’s magazine based out of New York City. The magazine is devoted to showcasing men’s fashion and style which has lead to its close association with metrosexuality. One of its writers, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah won the Pulitzer Prize for her feature article in the magazine in the year 2018 which brought about much popularity for the magazine. GQ India commenced its operations in October of 2008 with its first cover featuring Saif Ali Khan and Katarina Ivanovska. GQ has lived up to its reputation over the years and has stayed relevant to the entertainment industry not only through its magazine but through the numerous awards that it is associated with, the infamous one being GQ men of the year. In recent times, GQ faced a backlash over the cover featuring Serena Williams where critics blamed the magazine for body shaming.
For Him magazine popularly known as FHM is a men’s lifestyle magazine that has over 31 editions around the world. Founded in the UK in the year 1985, the magazine took a turn by featuring a woman, Gina Davis on the cover of their 1993 issue which connected well with the audience. Since then the magazine has been featuring women achievers such as actress, TV stars, singers and such on their cover page. FHM is popular for its list of FHM 100 sexiest women in the world, which is featured every year in their master issue. The first publication of FHM India was in October 2007, which featured Ujjwala Raut, on its cover, who at the time was India’s most successful overseas supermodel. The magazine stands out for its concept based celebrity photoshoot which is well approved by its readers. In March 2012, the magazine was showered with criticism over the respective cover issue which featured actress Bela Padilla with 5 dark-skinned African models. The issue was called out by its readers as racist which lead to FHM barring its publication.