Who Will Be The Next To Go?

When you see Kate Hudson’s smiling face on the cover of Allure’s November issue, you might not know that its founding Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells was just fired and replaced by Nylon’s Michelle Lee, who is well known for her digital expertise.

This has been seen as part of the parent company Condé Nast’s overall business strategy, who owns Vogue, Vanity Fair, Allure, Glamour, GQ and The New Yorker, to move to a digital focus and grow its e-commerce footprint. As less and less people go to the newsstand, even the 24 years experiences of leadership cannot save Linda Well from being ousted. This is just how business world works.

“When Linda Wells launched Allure, it broke new ground and redefined the beauty category, and she leaves us with that rich heritage to build upon,” the company said in a statement. “Today we begin a new phase of innovation for the brand, with Michelle paving the way for the next wave of consumers who crave interactive beauty content that’s both inspiring and approachable.”

Shortly thereafter, Teen Vogue announced that its publisher Jason Wagenheim was planning to leave the company after the Thanksgiving holiday, which raised further concern about the unclear future of the magazine. Many people believe this is simply the magazine’s first step towards an inevitable closure, just as Lucky’s slow death.

Along with GQ’s recent layoff, the changes in the company have been quite intense. The way millennials consume information has fundamentally changed the media world. Living in an age bombarded with information, new generations tend to feed themselves with content more digestible, interactive and purposeful. Also, the e-commerce business has been continuing to grow in a fast pace.

All these trends require media leaders to understand how to grow their online audience and have the capability to integrate all platforms and create a new mode for revenues. For a magazine, editorship is extremely important because unlike news outlets, magazines are all about style and trends. And the editor-in-chief needs to be the person who defines these styles. Therefore, when a magazine finds itself with a continuing loss of readers, the only thing they can do is to bring new chief editors.

Just as 27 years ago, when American Vogue worried that it was losing ground to upstart Elle, the publisher brought in Anna Wintour to replace Grace Mirabella, who had been the editor in chief for 17 years, to revamp the magazine and shake things up. It turned out to be a right choice as Wintour revitalized the brand and turned things around.
Hopefully, Michelle Lee will also bring an innovation to Allure just as Wintour did for Vogue. And the business restructuring of Condé Nast will bring a new vision to the whole industry. All we can do, as readers, is wait optimistically that these drastic changes in leadership will bring more diversity, possibility, and innovation into the future of fashion magazines.

Lingyi Hou is a Staff Writer. Email her at violetvision@nyunews.com.

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