Stephen Gan On 20 Years of V Magazine

Stephen Gan doesn’t assume himself one for nostalgia, however, the guy clearly appreciates print.
In the 20th anniversary issue of V mag, the unapologetically style-targeted and oversize sleek Gan cofounded in 1999, there’s a huge spread photographed by means of Nick Knight titled “A Celebration of Print,” activate at the intro web page with a large “V” made from Swarovski crystals (the agency is known as out as an associate for the spread). The pages that follow display model after version wearing one-off garments made with the use, in one way or any other, of pages from old troubles of the mag. Despite such apparent effusion for his magazine at the published web page, Gan admits, “I generally tend to dislike retrospectives.”

“I have a tendency now not to be a totally sentimental person, either,” Gan stated. “I’m more interested in the brand new and now. A series is a form of the poetic birthday party, as it’s giving these 10 emblem-new designers vintage tear sheets to show into new creations. It’s usually been approximately the future.”
But if there’s ever an occasion to appearance back, bringing an unbiased fashion mag via twenty years appears as properly a time as any. Gan, who serves as innovative director of V, its offshoot VMan and separately Elle magazine, mentioned that V making it this many years as an independent booklet running in New York and keeping an excessive-profile “is a rare gift.”

“When I started out, I felt like every one of my friends had been going to begin magazines, it became just the element to do,” Gan said. “Over the years, it’s turn out to be rarer and rarer. It’s difficult but I’m grateful.”

While V in print isn’t going anywhere (print advertising for the upcoming September trouble is up 12 percentage yr-over-yr, even though digital ads and partnerships now make up one-0.33 of the commercial enterprise), Gan did allude to the layout, on the whole, becoming scarce. “We’re residing in a time wherein print goes to grow increasingly more treasured, but for the following couple of years, it will nevertheless be the trophy for any identity.”

In considering beginning the magazine within the overdue Nineteen Nineties, Gan stated he truly handiest consulted 3 humans whom he notion, with their divergent situations, would have opinions just as divergent. One becomes the late Karl Lagerfeld, “already around for all time”; one turned into Hedi Slimane, “just about to enroll in Dior Homme;” one changed into Adrian Joffe, who with his wife Rei Kawakubo changed into “main the avant-garde” with Comme des Garçons. But all ended up pronouncing quite much the identical element to Gan.

“They had been all interested by now not so much accomplishing the thousands and thousands of readers that larger guides had in terms of circulation, but in best accomplishing the ten,000 to one hundred,000 people that they desired to speak to,” Gan said. “This turned into way before the word ‘influencer.’ Nowadays each marketing assembly is ‘How are we able to talk to these 10,000 to 100,000 influencers.’”

And this path, one centered on a gap audience and fewer advertisers, Gan changed into happy to go down. His father had an impartial printing business, from books to notebooks, instilling in Gan the idea that “print became something precious.” He becomes “horrified” whilst he first found out that big magazine publishers had been recognized to send thousands of unsold copies in their magazines to be recycled each month to make sure movement numbers stayed up. He needs V to have actual cost and handiest tries to get it in the front of people “who in reality care.”

But the enterprise has absolutely changed because Gan began V, at the start as an offshoot of Visionaire, the previous magazine Gan cofounded in 1991 with Cecelia Dean and James Kaliardos. Gan cut up from the trio in 2014 and stored manipulate of V and VMan. Instagram by myself has drastically altered the way style is provided and pictures are created. Gan stated there are occasions whilst a photographer will inform him that 10 days are wished for retouching, something that was par for the course however now photographers who make this type of demand will get editors searching at them “weird.” And now there are what he calls “levels” of pictures, like those who go up speedy on social media and people that show up in print, which he compared to “haute delicacies and rapid meals.”
Even with so much exchange over the last few years, Gan handiest recently felt his editorial mind click to realize the fee of video for some shoots. It was a shoot for the September issue with Bella Hadid on horseback and dressed in handiest Fendi (another advertiser) that blanketed video. While the photos are nevertheless inside the print difficulty, Gan referred to as it a “benchmark project” for him due to the fact he realized “this story in motion is probably greater effective than it’s miles in print.”

Paulette Hamilton

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