Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen Talk Editorialist and Why They Left Elle

Last week, we told you about Editorialist, an exciting new online magazine/ecommerce hybrid with a focus on luxury accessories launched by former Elle accessories editors Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen. Yesterday, we hopped on the phone with Davidson Hudson and Allen to get the full scoop on how the idea for Editorialist came about, the site's cool concierge service, and why they left Elle (which they sort of told us). Read on for our interview!
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Last week, we told you about Editorialist, an exciting new online magazine/ecommerce hybrid with a focus on luxury accessories launched by former Elle accessories editors Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen. Yesterday, we hopped on the phone with Davidson Hudson and Allen to get the full scoop on how the idea for Editorialist came about, the site's cool concierge service, and why they left Elle (which they sort of told us). Read on for our interview!
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Last week, we told you about Editorialist, an exciting new online magazine/ecommerce hybrid with a focus on luxury accessories launched by former Elle accessories editors Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen.

Yesterday, we hopped on the phone with Davidson Hudson and Allen to get the full scoop on how the idea for Editorialist came about, the site's cool concierge service, and why they left Elle (which they sort of told us).

Read on for our interview!

Tell me a little bit about Editorialist and how the concept for it came about. Davidson Hudson: In going through a lot of this, we challenged ourselves to think about what’s important in our increasingly over-saturated media environment and there’s so much information out there and you’re being hit from all angles from social media, from mobile, from online, from print and it feels like accessories are such an afterthought in the ecommerce space [in comparison] to ready-to-wear that there isn’t this one point of view, this authority that really informs on whats important, that gives you ideas and inspiration that you can tap into.

It's the modern idea of the fashion magazine. There will always be those mainstay tangible hard copy books that we all love, but this is just a further evolution of that. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; we feel this is very service-y, accessible, but also aspirational.

So, I know you guys worked together at Elle until recently, but how long has Editorialist been in the works? Davidson Hudson: Stef and I had worked together years ago at Harper's Bazaar and then she went on to Town & Country and I went on to Elle...It’s an idea that we’d always kind of thrown around as something that was missing from the market: This idea of, what is a modern fashion magazine? How do we like to consume our media? How do we like to shop? And we really felt like there wasn’t anything out there.

We can’t really apply a certain timeline to [how Editorialist came about] because we both left our jobs...I gave my notice in September of last year and Stef gave her notice a few weeks later. I stayed on in a stylist/freelance capacity for another month or two; then, we regrouped and after a a lot of market research and talking to a few people, a few weeks later we got everything ready and decided to launch!

Why did you guys decide to leave Elle? Allen: I think it was more personal reasons. We were ready for our next steps and there were no issues with Elle or anything. We loved working there; we loved our time there. I think Kate and I were just in different places in our lives and ready for the next steps.

What was the biggest challenge in terms of getting this off the ground? Allen: The timing contstraints. We left our positions in October; Kate was still freelancing at Elle; and it was sort of a quick decision for us to do it. Like Kate mentioned, this is something that we had talked about and always fantasized about doing, but we hadn’t actually put anything into place. Everything else has been really amazing; we’ve gotten a really good response from all of the vendors and designers that we’ve approached and talked to.

Why did you decide to focus specifically on luxury accessories? Davidson Hudson: Something Stef and I talked about extensively was the idea of what does luxury really means to us and for us it’s not about a price point; it’s about exclusivity. We also have a concierge who--if you see something on the site that you love that we don’t currently have in stock--we’ll help you find that piece. Or, if you see something you love but maybe you want it in a different colorway, we'll help connect the dots between the consumer and the designer and [the concierge is] also for styling tips.

So that, for us, also underscores the idea of luxury, coupled with the exclusivity angle, and everything is really put forth through this editorial filter.

How often will there be new issues and new editorial content? Allen: We’re doing it once per season and then we update three to five times per week with different entries and news posts and trends and then street style will be a section that we’ll be constantly updating.

How big is the staff at Editorialist? Davidson Hudson: We have seven: Stef, myself, our digital team, and editorial team, and then on top of that, contributing stylists and photographers.

Do you plan to feature advertising on the site? Davidson Hudson: We’re opening it up to select luxury advertisers in March.

But, it’s not a situation where they can use advertising to buy into editorial placements. We shoot what we love because it's important and we also feel it's so important that we will buy into what we’re shooting. It's a new way of thinking about how fashion is editorializing.

How are you choosing what brands to feature? Allen: It’s really about honing in on those things that we love and really can’t find in traditional mass retail. The piece that went down the runway but retailers are conditioned not to buy because it’s not quite commercial but we fell in love with--we’ll buy more of those runway pieces. We’ll also work with designers we have relationships with to design one-off pieces exclusive for us that we feel are missing from the market, that we feel like we’re in the mood for, that we see as more directional.

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I see in the current issue there are couple of editorials styled by fellow former Elle staffer Kate Lanphear. Can we expect more big name stylists and contributors in the future? Davidson Hudson: We’ll work with a lot of the same teams--stylists, photographers--that we’ve worked with in both of our editorial careers. We’re going to be bringing in a new roster [of influential contributors] for our prefall issues, but we’re going to leave that to the imagination until we’re doing shooting. But yes, it will be the same type of situation we will have a rotating roster of industry influencers and that also applies to our tastemaker picks. For our launch issue, we had Miroslava Duma and Paola Van Der Hulst--she’s kind of a new girl on the scene. We love getting their perspective, too, because it’s funny to see how different people digest the season differently.

Would you ever feature a more mainstream celebrity? Davidson Hudson: [Editorialist] has such a strong editorial voice and focus...obviously all the worlds cross-polinate each other, so when it makes sense, of course. A celebrity won’t be a huge focus for us, but when it’s an important statement and it advises a bigger message overall, then yes.