The UK’s newest glossy magazine is ambitious, highly funded--and exclusively online.
Today, Shortlist Media announced the May 2013 launch of Never Underdressed, a new online fashion and beauty title. It's aiming high: “Our objective is to create a luxury glossy magazine experience with all the speed and wit of the web,” says Carrie Tyler, the editor of Never Underdressed (and in her former capacity as digital director at Elle UK, my ex-boss).
The title will feature original fashion news and features, video content, and, perhaps most innovative, original fashion and beauty photo shoots, with a consistent reader experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile environments.
Unlike recent digital magazine launches like Net-a-porter’s The Edit, Never Underdressed isn’t attached to an established brand. So there’s no preexisting traffic base to draw on--it's starting from scratch. And it's got a 14-person editorial team uniting ex-Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Independent and ASOS staffers, most of whom worked on the digital side.
Sound expensive? It is. The project has been in development for a year, with investments that at least one industry source estimated at £2-3 million. Why go to all the trouble and expense, given that the online fashion space is already pretty crowded?
“Magazine brands save their best content for print, while their websites are given little budget or full-time staff to fully develop creative, engaging and unique content,” Tyler says. “The focus of my brilliantly high caliber team is purely on the digital product and we are excited to push our content beyond what's already out there.”
Traditional mag editors may have viewed websites as low-rent repositories for PR favors and overflow copy in the past, but that attitude has gone the way of MySpace. Still, the level of investment and commitment marks Never Underdressed as a daring effort.
“If done well, it could be the truly disruptive idea that we have been waiting for in digital publishing,” says Sasha Wilkins of LibertyLondonGirl.com, who praised the team’s digital credentials (“I’m fed up to the back teeth with seeing print veterans brought in to helm digital projects.”) and emphasis on mobile.
“It's a challenge to launch a brand in to a market filled with heritage titles,” Tyler says, “but it is crying out for a brand like Never Underdressed.”
Something tells us her team is up for the challenge.
Follow Emily @emrocro and see more at emilycronin.me.