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If you are holding our actual magazine in your hands while reading this page, I want to thank you. I realize that you are busy and the fact that you’re taking time out of your day to read what I have to say—as well as what our staff has worked so hard to say and visualize throughout the pages of our latest show preview—means the world to us.

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If you are holding our actual magazine in your hands while reading this page, I want to thank you. I realize that you are busy and the fact that you’re taking time out of your day to read what I have to say—as well as what our staff has worked so hard to say and visualize throughout the pages of our latest show preview—means the world to us.

We work long hours researching, reporting, writing, editing and designing each page of every issue. It’s just one of the reasons we believe the end product—something you can touch, feel and even smell—is as much a part of the overall experience as reading the insightful information and looking at the spectacular photography inside. In a world where many things disappear quickly into the Internet ether, this magazine really exists. You can dog-ear certain pages. Rip out others for mood boards or personal clippings. (Although we don’t endorse such product desecration.) You can fold the magazine into a briefcase and take it home to read on the porch or by a beach, if that’s your thing. You can keep it on file for future reference.

The point is that since it actually exists we believe our magazine in its physical form offers intangibles that can’t be replicated digitally. These qualities enhance the value of our coverage. I may be biased, but I truly believe there’s something about the written word—on actual paper—that carries more weight than words on a screen. Likewise, there’s something about perusing a beautifully photographed fashion story over the course of several pages that provides artistic pacing and relevance, and that is extremely tough to duplicate in a point-and-click setting. And our unique paper stock makes it more enjoyable. Feel how your fingertips catch on our specially coated matte cover stock—it entices you to stop and dig in to the pages inside.

Before any of you accuse me of being a heartless tree killer or a media dinosaur, I’m not suggesting that everything you read on low-quality paper stock or online is less significant or real. All of our issues are available in a digital version on our web site, where we duplicate the print experience as well as possible. Nonetheless, we hope you appreciate our tactile efforts—just like we appreciate the shoes you make and the store environments you create. It’s one of the reasons we don’t strictly ask for stock photography. We want the actual shoes. We are inspired by your innovative designs as well as incredible store settings. We believe, for example, touching and bending a new shoe, is a key part of the process. In fact, Blake Krueger, CEO of Wolverine Worldwide and the subject of this month’s Q&A (p. 22) believes there are two kinds of people in this world: the person who enters into a room with a shoe on a table that touches it and the kind of person that just looks at it. Like Krueger, we are definitely the former type. That’s why we touch and bend as many as we can as well as photograph them in unique settings to bring out additional beauty in the designs. Take, for example, this month’s fashion story, “Wish You Were Here” (p. 70), shot on New York’s Fire Island. Seeing it all brought to life amid the natural beauty of this coastal landscape enhances the retro beach vibe swimming through so many spring collections.

Similarly, our Trend Spotting series (beginning on p. 30) sorts hundreds of styles into an array of digestible, efficient and key trends for the upcoming season. And when photographed uniformly, it adds a cohesive weight to what buyers should be on the lookout for next season. What you see in this section is the result of our editors traveling around the world (Italy, Germany, Brazil, to name a few stops) to attend trade shows as well as visiting countless showrooms and accommodating dozens of desk-side appointments. All the while, they stay on the lookout for what’s new and noteworthy with a sharp eye for what’s truly trending and not just hype.

The same goes for our Outdoor Preview (p. 58). More than 35 brands are showcased in what has become a meaningful segment far beyond the outdoor specialty store arena. The accompanying feature, “Into the Light” (p. 52) is by contributing editor Judy Leand, a veteran outdoor industry reporter whose knowledge of the entire market makes this a must-read. Let’s just say the outdoors is not just for granola-loving backpackers anymore.

You’ll find plenty more invaluable coverage in this issue. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it. As you read this, we are well into creating our next issue, pouring in unrivaled experience and—equally important—passion.

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