Yesterday, WWD reported that Anamaria Wilson, the fashion features director at Harper’s Bazaar, would be leaving her post at the magazine to join Michael Kors as vice president of global corporate communications. Wilson is something of a veteran in the publishing industry, building her career over the past twenty years at such prestigious titles as WWD, W Magazine and, of course, Harper’s Bazaar, so her recent move to Kors is somewhat unexpected–and it’s definitely a change of pace.
But Wilson isn’t alone.
Several big-name editors have recently made the jump from editorial to brands. NYLON‘s Faran Krentcil is now at Clarins and Shopbop; New York Mag’s Jenny Kang is now at J. Crew; GQ‘s Sean Hotchkiss is also now at J.Crew; Glamour‘s Jenny Feldman is now at Amazon; Lucky‘s Jen Ford is now at Kate Spade; Marie Claire‘s Taylor Tomasi Hill is now at Moda Operandi; and the list goes on.
So what’s going on? Why are all these editorial-minded individuals leaving publishing to work for retail brands?
Well, for starters, editorial and retail aren’t as different as they used to be.
“[I]t’s less of a jump than people would expect,” said Faran Krentcil, who edits Clarins’ Beauty Flash Blog, and Shopbop’s blog. “The reality is that, frankly, a consumer magazine is a brand–there are ethics involved, of course, but there are also ethics involved in a regular brand…I think that as barriers come down and the industry becomes more transparent, and people really start understanding that magazines function as brands, it’s going to become more acceptable for people to get their news from brands.”
Jenny Feldman, who is currently Senior Marketing Manager of Digital Content and Social at Amazon’s MYHABIT.com, agrees. “I believe that the line between magazines and retail has blurred to obscurity. When I worked at Glamour I was consumed in commerce partnerships with brands like Loft and HSN. The transition to an actual retail organization like Amazon felt like a natural progression for me. On my last day at Glamour, Cindi Leive said to me, ‘Don’t ever forget how much you know about marketing to women.’ It was great advice, and has rung through my ears a few times in my new role.”