Year by year, more and more publications have either moved solely to digital, or have shut down operations entirely. Yet, in the world of fashion, and more specifically Japanese fashion magazines, there are still a plethora of them that are in circulation. Browse a magazine rack in Asia, and the hot takes that print is dead feels irrelevant.
They Just Feel Special
In Japan, print is viewed through the lens of being an art form. The moment you pick up a physical copy of Popeye’s or SENSE you can tell by the sheer weight of the magazine that there is substance. The paper is thick and glossy as it doesn’t chafe your hands as you turn the page. The larger sizes of their mags makes the outfits and editorials pop. It can easily double as a coffee table book. It’s something you, or any guest can pick up and find something interesting to gawk at even when you can’t understand what you’re reading.
They Are Niche
Unlike your GQ or Esquire which cover a wide assortment of topics, as well as a wide variety of styles, Japanese fashion magazines are the polar opposites. They are niche and every magazine caters to a distinct way of dress. There is a touch of lifestyle in all magazines, but it’s mostly a deep sea dive on all things Jawnz. For dudes who are into classical menswear, there is Men’s Ex. For lux hypebeasts, there is SENSE. For the everyday city boy there is Popeye’s. For the Americana enthusiasts, there is Clutch. Take for example the May issue of Men’s Fudge Magazine; the magazine is geared towards men who want to be aware of trends, but don’t feel the need to adopt every single one. The theme of this month’s issue is British style. Everything featured is done, so with that in mind, every photo highlights the various ways the brits dress and style themselves. All brands that are featured in the May issue has some connection to the UK.
You Don’t Need To Read Japanese To Be Inspired
Without the understanding of words, a lot of what the magazine is trying to communicate gets lost. But leave it to the Japanese, the incredible eye and high levels of curation to still hold your attention. Every outfit and photo editorial is captured with a level of detail where you are simply left in awe. Their ability to capture a brands identity and ethos in one single photo is simply remarkable.
When they’re not inspiring you with their killer photoshoot editorials, they are educating you on brands that you never heard of. Take for example this style guide on how to incorporate stripes into your outfit. The magazine breaks downs and styles a dozen different ways to wear stripes, and then follows it up by featuring about two dozen products that features them. The magazine ends up feeling like an old school encyclopedia. You need to have a smartphone or laptop beside you because you can’t stop googling everything the mag is showing you.
Please Instagram Don’t Ruin Japanese Fashion Magazines
Here in North America fashion news, inspiration has migrated online. Here in the west we obsess over release dates and drops. The easiest way to find these details are obviously via the smartphone. We consume fashion content that fits perfectly within our smartphone screens. Part of the reason why there are still so many Japanese Fashion publications still in business is due to the fact that the Japanese don’t rely on social media for everything like we do. Things are changing though. Instagram is begging to thrive in Japan. With more and more eyeballs on the gram, there is potential for these mags to begin to feel less relevant. So in the meantime enjoy the hell of out them. We don’t know when another Zuckerberg backed identity ruin another good thing.