Vogue: A Brief History


Vogue Magazine is one of the most successful magazines to have ever been published. As stated by top model, Tyra Banks, ‘Vogue has the power to make and break – whether it’s fashion trends, designers, models, and yes, even industry practices’. Vogue is a magazine accessible to almost all ages and has a total readership of 1,398,000*. In this way, it is clear to see why Vogue is known universally as being one of the most influential publications around.

Not only does Vogue have a powerful presence in today’s modern world, it also has a successful, significant history, dating all the way back to 1892.

Although now a monthly publication, Vogue was founded in 1892 as a weekly journal for members of the upper class in America. It heavily featured news on the elite social scene, social etiquette and reviews on books and concerts.

It was only in 1909, when Vogue Magazine was bought by Condé Nast founder, Condé Montrose Nast, that the magazine began to specialise in more of the same things that it does today. Nast decided to make Vogue a women’s magazine focused on beauty and etiquette. In 1916, he introduced the publication to England, thus beginning the popular British Vogue publication.

British Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman, believes that, ‘Vogue is in a league of its own. [They] work with the best people in the international industry, whether they are photographers, stylists, hair and make-up people or set designers.’ This attitude and level of high-quality is something that has marked the publication out since its beginnings. As a magazine, Vogue is consistently ahead of the game (being often referred to as The Fashion Bible) and pushes the boundaries of fashion time and time again. Vogue became the first magazine to print a colour photo as its cover in 1932 and, in 1974, Vogue became the first magazine to feature an African-American model on the cover.

Although Vogue has seen controversy in its time, an example being a cover featuring LeBron James which many believed encouraged racial stereotyping, it can’t be denied that it is an example of an extremely successful and worthwhile publication. The features and issues it covers are insightful and thought-provoking. Despite many believing fashion to be ‘soft’ and ‘irrelevant’, Vogue manages to produce hard-hitting and insightful articles.

This year British Vogue celebrated its 100th Birthday. With nearly 1500 issues to date, plus a steadily increasing online audience, the popularity of Vogue magazine seems to be unwavering. Perfectly summed up by journalist, Karen Kay: ‘It may not have the financial clout of Forbes or the investigative insight of Time, but Vogue stands as both a mirror of modern life and a shaper of it.’

*Source: Combined Print and Digital ABC Jan-Jun 13






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