'Self' Magazine Gets a Fashion-Forward Makeover Under New Editor

With fitness at the forefront of fashion, now's the perfect time for the magazine's rebirth.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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With fitness at the forefront of fashion, now's the perfect time for the magazine's rebirth.
Photo: Patrick Demarchelier for 'Self'

Photo: Patrick Demarchelier for 'Self'

With sport motifs taking over the runways and the activewear market growing at an above-normal rate, it’s the perfect time for Condé Nast’s health and fitness-focused book Self to get a long-awaited makeover. 

The magazine’s October issue hits newsstands nationwide on Sept. 30, and it’s the first to reflect the new design and viewpoint of Editor in Chief Joyce Chang, her newly formed team, and Condé Nast Artistic and Editorial Director Anna Wintour. At first glance, you'll notice that the title appears much more fashion-forward, with a cover shot by Patrick Demarchelier, starring supermodel Joan Smalls.

"I was talking with Anna [Wintour] about who would be on my cover wish list. Of the models, Joan Smalls was first on my list," Chang told us of the magazine's new look. "She’s fresh, beautiful, healthy — and she has a self-made story. Self readers are self-made women, they make it happen for themselves at gym, at the office and beyond. That’s why I felt [Smalls] was the perfect person for the first cover.” 

Chang, who took over Self in April, says that her main goal coming in was to elevate Self, period. Readers can expect an entirely different look and feel of the title, which includes the introduction of more high-fashion photographers and models — especially since the new guard of top models (Hilary Rhoda, Karlie Kloss, Gisele) take their health and bodies seriously. "There's been a seismic shift, and the way we look at fitness has changed," Chang says. "We live in a 24/7 world... something you need in a steady stream is motivation and inspiration." 

Photo: Jason Kim for 'Self'

Photo: Jason Kim for 'Self'

All of the stories in the new Self — from fashion to beauty to features — will be told through this lens of inspiration, and Chang aims for the magazine as a whole to be the go-to guide for a motivated woman in all aspects of her life. Fashion is an important part of this, and Chang notes that the magazine has worked hard to find its signature "look," which is clean, modern and unfussy.

"Fashion is a part of our lives, but not just the driving part," she explains. "The Self woman is busy, changes clothes a lot — her style has to be crisp and sporty and versatile. She's someone who knows who she is and out for the best of something." This "something" is often a beautiful bag or a statement coat, alluding to what Chang calls "the new power suit" — cool leggings, a luxurious coat or bag, and some trendy sneakers. 

With new activewear lines popping up weekly, and interest in wellness reaching new heights on social media and beyond, there's certainly a booming market for a revitalized Self and Chang is very excited about it. "There is no better time for a magazine called Self," Chang says. "You often put yourself at the bottom, but we're really looking to change that."