Media: Double Standards - 'Why would Hermes want to be in a porn mag?'

Editors of men's magazine fashion spin-offs compare expensive coats and celebrate the newfound vanity of the British male.

ADRIAN CLARK EDITOR, FASHION INC

The majority of men's lifestyle titles incorporate fashion pages. Is there room in the market for specialist fashion titles?

Of course there is. Monthly men's lifestyle titles also cover cars, music and film, and the market would be pretty empty without specialist titles in these fields. This is 2006 and men care about what they look like.

What are the differences between your magazine and its competitors?

Before Fashion Inc, the subject matter was either dumbed down or massively elitist. We ask questions men would like answers to and provide a real read, not just pretty pictures. We also pride ourselves on not taking a straight or a gay stance. The magazine is about clothes, not discriminating when it comes to sexuality.

What makes a great front cover?

The criteria change with each issue. We don't usually shoot celebrities, and we never put a girl on the cover.

How many of your magazine's readers can seriously afford the fashion items inside the pages?

Every one of our readers can afford some of the items in the publication; some can afford more items than others. But we've been conscious to offer a broad cross-section of merchandise, from Marks & Spencer through to Dior.

How closely do you work with your ad team and what has been your biggest disagreement?

The editorial team work very closely with the ad team, which is normal and healthy. The only disagreements we have ever had are over advertisers who don't fit the profile of the magazine. In which case, we refuse the ad.

Does the magazine essentially sell itself to fashion advertisers?

Obviously, advertising revenue is essential to the magazine's profit. However, the aim of Fashion Inc was to be a seasonal style manual for men that would not intimidate or alienate the consumer.

What's been the best interview you've ever done?

Tom Ford. He can work the press with the same flirtatious charisma as an A-list Hollywood actor, while being as calculated in answering questions as a politician.

Have British men become more vain?

Men globally have become more vain! We have entered a period of dressing for occasion, not seen since the 50s.

How do British men compare with the rest of the world in the fashion stakes?

The consumer who has enough disposable income to spend on designer menswear is in a position to live anywhere in the world and regularly travels through many capitals. The fact that they may choose to live in Britain does not make them British.

Which other editor do you most admire and why?

Katie Grand, the editor of POP. She is completely fearless in her decision-making, very focused and always pushes the boundaries.

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've ever bought?

I am a self-confessed shopaholic, but I suppose it would have to be a Jil Sander cashmere coat, which cost me £2,000. While I really look after my clothes, in that particular instance, I lost it the same weekend.

Who is your top fashion icon?

My true fashion icon would have to be a place rather than a person: Studio 54.

What are you listening to on your iPod?

Triptico by the Gotan Project.

DYLAN JONES EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GQ STYLE

The majority of men's lifestyle titles incorporate fashion pages. Is there room in the market for specialist fashion titles?

GQ Style differs from GQ in that - obviously - it devotes itself to fashion almost exclusively. GQ carries more fashion pages than any other men's lifestyle title, and GQ Style carries more fashion pages than any other men's fashion magazine.

What are the differences between your magazine and its competitors?

Most of our competitors produce magazines either for the fashion industry only, or for a few marginal fashion victims on the fringes of the industry. We launched GQ Style because we believed there was room for a men's fashion magazine that treated fashion seriously, without being full of photos of pre-pubescent boys in their underpants.

What makes a great front cover?

Something arresting and appealing that doesn't frighten the horses and that is instantly recognisable as being representative of your brand.

How many of your magazine's readers can seriously afford the fashion items inside the pages?

GQ's readers earn more money than the readers of any of our rivals, so I'd say probably all of them.

How closely do you work with your ad team and what has been your biggest disagreement?

We work very closely together, probably closer than any other magazine. Our ad team totally understand that this is an editorially driven product, and that the advertising has to reflect that. And we don't have disagreements.

Does the magazine essentially sell itself to fashion advertisers?

No, although it has been suggested that many of our competitors do that. I think the likes of Maxim, FHM and Loaded launched fashion spin-offs because they weren't getting the sort of fashion advertising they wanted. I mean, why would Hermes or Armani want to be in Loaded, which is essentially a porn mag?

What's been the best interview you've ever done?

Shirley MacLaine, Malibu, 1994, for The Sunday Times Magazine. I got the lot: JFK, Sinatra, Warren Beatty, reincarnation. Lovely lady. It was her birthday, too.

Have British men become more vain?

Yes, and a good thing too.

How do British men compare with the rest of the world in the fashion stakes?

In terms of youth culture, we've always been more fashionable than anyone else. In terms of formal tailoring, we've always been better than anyone else. But we're now getting a lot better at looking chic and comfortable in that easy way that the Italians and the Americans have.

Which other editor do you most admire and why?

Roger Alton, Simon Kelner, Peter Wright, Andy Coulson, Tristan Davies. Bill Emmott was a good editor. I admire so many editors, particularly on newspapers.

What's the most expensive piece of clothing you've ever bought?

I had a bespoke overcoat once, which was obscenely expensive, but I'm certainly not going to tell you how much it cost.

Who is your top fashion icon?

Other than Jeremy Clarkson, you mean?

What are you listening to on your iPod?

Right now? Security Joan by Donald Fagen.

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