If you've spent any time trolling the Internet for new fashion editorials, you've probably happened upon Fashion Copious at some point. Similar to Fashion Gone Rogue, the blog functions as something of a one-stop destination for seeing what's new in the world of magazines and advertising; as a news editor, it's a useful tool to have in your RSS feed.
Eventually we got curious about who's actually making the magic happen at Fashion Copious, and by magic, we mean super speedy uploads. Turns out it's one guy: John Haro. Born in Syria, raised in New Jersey and now a resident of Bushwick, Haro is gearing up for a site relaunch in the next few months. In the meantime, here's his take on a day in his blogging life and why photographers don't tell him to remove images any more.
So tell me how you started the site.
I started it in late 2008, early 2009. I knew nothing about fashion. I didn’t know who Karl Lagerfeld was or Prada, like nothing. I think it was just as an artist I was attracted to anything artistic, and at that point it was the images. I was doing my day job, and, you know, it requires maybe two hours of my time and I was bored. Everyone asks me, “What was that one thing that attracted you to fashion?” And I don’t know.
I don’t think I could really tell you why I got into fashion initially. I was in high school and bored in the suburbs.
Yeah, I don’t know. I think I’m attracted to the beauty of the image in fashion. I literally just started out reblogging runway images from Style.com, grabbing the ones I liked and reposting them. At that time [photos] weren't as available. Now you we have modeling agencies, and they send those images out. Then you had to look for them. The Fashion Spot was a big source.
How does your sourcing go today?
My RSS feed is up to like 1,200 different things I follow. Some don’t post every day, obviously. Then I look at the agencies’ websites, like agencies that represent photographers or stylists. They get their images directly from their photographers. I end up using maybe 10 percent of what I get because I want to keep the point of view [clear]. First of all, I don’t have time to post everything. Then I want it to be my point of view. One of the reasons Fashion Gone Rogue got more attention is because they post everything. You feel like they don’t have a point of view.
How much does speed play a part in running the site? I look at Fashion Copious and Fashion Gone Rogue every morning, because you guys often have new editorials and campaigns before everyone else.
I do it because I happen to be sitting in front of the computer all day... If you post an editorial first, people link to you. If you wait, they might go to another site. So yeah, that does play a part in it.
Do you have a day job?
Yeah. It’s in telecommunications. Nothing really sexy.
So you're working there and then…
I’m working there, and then I’m working on the site while I’m working there. Today I might have put in one hour. The rest goes to running the blog.
Wait, you put an hour a day into Fashion Copious?
No, into the day job.
I was going to say, it seems like it would take much more than an hour.
Oh, I mean, the blog takes all day. During the day, then when I go home at night. Hour-wise, I put in probably 10 hours a day?
Talk me through a day.
I wake up at 7:30. Coffee and smoke and get food. While I do that I clear my RSS feed. Then like around 9:00 I’ll shower and head to work. Blog, have lunch, continue blogging until 5:00 when I leave. Then go home, watch some "Seinfeld," have dinner, check the blog… the whole blog thing continues across the whole day.
So when do you sign off?
When I go to bed, I guess. Anywhere between 12:00 and 2:00.
Does your boss know you do this?
He knows, but he doesn’t know how many hours I spend on it. I get my work done, so it’s never a problem.
How do you navigate The Fashion Spot? I feel like you'd have to do a lot of hunting on it.
Yeah. There are many categories. I have three that I check: magazines, models and ads, like ad campaigns. You have to go through each one to see what’s read. When there’s something new in the post, it will be bold. I do that with magazines, models… I go through maybe 10 pages of 15 models on each page every day. I look at anything bold. If I like it, I’ll download the images, edit them if they need to be cleaned up and post them.
Have magazines ever told you to take stuff down?
Not anymore. That was the case early on. Now they want you to post. The whole psychology has changed. Not that it happened a lot back then, but I might have posted something early that they didn’t want to release yet, or a photographer would ask you to take down something. Like, Art + Commerce said they’d only approved one Moschino image, the one with the missing leg.
It is missing, right?
It’s missing. I can’t believe that stuff still happens, especially from Steven Meisel.
Or a model might contact you; when she started modeling in the beginning she might have done some nudity, and later she goes to school and she contacts you to say, "Can you remove that image?" But that’s once a year, maybe. But yeah, the idea of people wanting to remove images doesn’t happen anymore.
When would you say that started changing?
Probably in the last two years.
Because everything's just online now. Love makes announcements on Instagram all the time.
Yeah. They just gave in. Maybe they see some kind of benefit in it. I guess the editorials promote the magazine, so people might go buy it. Which makes sense; a lot of people want a hard copy of the images. They rip them out, teenagers put them on the wall.
Do you buy hard copies of magazines?
Hardly any anymore. I go to the newsstand once in a while and browse through, but not really. First of all, they’re expensive. The ones I’d be interested in are anywhere between $15 and $50 dollars. That adds up quickly.
What would you buy, if you were to drop between $15 and $50 on a magazine?
Novembre, Double, Self Service, Industrie, System, The Gentlewoman.
I like — even though it’s more marketed to women — Porter magazine. I think they’ve done a really good job with it. They did what Style.com should have done [with Style.com/Print], and that’s why they’ve gone out of print already.
You've been looking at editorials up close for so long. What kinds of trends have you seen emerge?
I like to challenge myself to see if I can pick the next big face. Every year we hear, "This is the year that black models are going to break through." That always leaves you disappointed in a way.
My conclusion is that it’s never gonna happen. My personal opinion on that is, I look at stats of the world at large, and at least the western side of the earth is very white driven, and fashion is very white driven because of all the media, and white people are generally attracted to white people. I think what it comes down to is we’re attracted to our own, and we’re into hiring our own people. That’s why white models are always the most used. That’s how I view it.
A lot of the [models] I end up picking, and I’m very selective, have ended up going places. Amsterdam right now is a hotbed of models, or what the industry is looking for. It was Russia a long time ago, Australia for a while, and now it’s like Netherlands girls. Like, anyone with a "Van" in her name, there’s a chance she’ll be successful in the next few years.
That's interesting. When did that start becoming the case?
Probably about a year and a half ago. I’m terrible with names. I can get you a few names.
[Sent later via email: Annika Krijt, Loeka van Harteveld, Saadi Schimmel, Alice Vink, Rosalieke Fuchs, Annemijn Blom, Lieke de Jong, Anais van der Meij, Julia (Paparazzi Amsterdam), Hanne van Ooij.]
Who do you think is doing interesting work right now?
Novembre, they're based out of Switzerland, I think. There's just something... you see the future in them. And they do a good job on their website, too. It’s just like the team of people that are somehow friends and they produce the magazine. Like, that’s the only one I think maybe will take it to the next level.
Commercial magazines can be pretty stagnant.
Totally. Vogue is a legacy magazine. They just happen to have the print numbers. Like, as soon as people stop buying Vogue, that’s the death of Vogue. Whereas an independent magazine would be lucky to have 100,000 [in subscribers] if they’re really good. As far as image and taste, Vogue is done. I feel the same way about Vogue Italia now. I feel like it’s slipping slowly. The leaders are getting old and they’re not representing the new generation. Grace Coddington should be gone. Anna Wintour should be put in a more managerial position. The people who manage the image should be revamped.
What about Vogue.com?
I love the new site. I was gonna write a piece on it. They're a blog now. They’re doing what everyone else has been doing. Style.com also redesigned their website, and I like what they’re doing. But yeah, I find myself going back to Vogue.com once a day, partially because they get exclusives. The big boys get the exclusives.
With [my] new site I want to do something with maybe more culture. And that could be anything. It could be theater or interviews with architects or design.
When you think about evolving the site, do you check in with yourself at intervals to see what you could be doing better?
Not really. I tell myself, "Don’t be so anal about everything." [I want to] maybe cover makeup. I want to start getting myself into doing that. That’s where the traffic is. I was reading an article that said that women do most of the sharing on social networks.
What does your traffic look like?
I kind of hit a plateau around 400,000 to 500,000 page views a month. Partly because of competition. Like, I was one of the few to cover editorials, and then Fashion Gone Rogue came up. Then everybody else. So that’s another reason why I’ve got to cover more things that are more than editorial.