“Paper magazines will continue to exist, but as a luxury item”

Madrid – The corona pandemic has significantly accelerated the digitization process of the fashion industry. What will happen to paper magazines? How do you distinguish yourself on social media? And how can one win over the new generations? Amaya Ascunce, Digital Director at Elle Spain, answered some of these crucial questions for FashionUnited. In Spain she is considered a digital guru, literature is her calling and she comes from Navarre, Spain. Sometimes a crisis can offer you opportunities.

You started your career as an editor. How did you make the leap to the digital world and to fashion?

“I started in the written press where I worked on beauty and health. However, I had already done my graduation project at a newspaper, in html. That was very rare in 2001. Few people could program and even though as a journalist I didn’t have it. It has always been a plus. Thanks to this skill I was able to get a lot of things done on my own and it helped me better understand processes and opened up more opportunities. In fashion I came through beauty. They are two themes close to lie in the magazine world. “

Was it always clear to you what opportunities the internet offered?

“I’ve always liked working with it. I’m what is called one heavy user, I get addicted to all the new things that are being launched. I like to play with the markup, try networking and surf for hours on end. And I’ve always thought it has great power. It makes it possible to produce content at a low price and reach a large audience if you have something interesting to say. “

“In addition, it offers you the opportunity to create niche content. Lovers of specific topics can interact with each other while on the other side of the world and find someone who, for example, only likes perfumes based on jasmine. The only question is how the large media with high production costs fit into this system. “

How has the pandemic changed the landscape of fashion magazines?

“Paper magazines, fashion magazines and others are suffering badly. Advertising revenues have plummeted just as that sector was experiencing a crisis due to the decline in the use of paper. Moreover, the corona crisis is making it more difficult to produce stories. The pandemic has caused us to us have to adapt much faster. “

“Having said this, I think paper magazines will always be around, but perhaps as a luxury item. Something similar to what happened with LPs. They are still sold but have turned into a luxury item, something rare. streaming the big public. I don’t think the future is entirely on the internet, much less if the internet is free. Limitless free content cannot be kept forever. “

It seems like the pandemic has slowed fashion consumption. Do you think this is a temporary thing or an enduring trend?

“I think this is similar to the paper magazine trend. There are two different crises at the same time. A saturation started to develop in the excessive buying, collections, the clothes that we threw away. And the pandemic has shown that we not having to launch something new every week. “

“Even though I think that once everything gets back to normal, even more fashion will be bought than before. Everyone wants to wear crazy things: mini skirts, pinks, dressing up with feathers, you name it. is normal after so many leggings and sweatpants. “

Generation Z was born with one tablet under the arm. How do you think this group consumes fashion content?

“I think Generation Z values ​​a different aesthetic and has a different body ideal. You only have to look at the pop idols of this generation. This also changes the fashion image, the way people dress and even the practical use of clothing. “

Digitization in the fashion industry: & quot; Paper magazines will continue to exist, but as a luxury item & quot;

“Generation Z comes across more freely. They make demands on fashion and are more successful in changing things in the fashion world than previous generations were able to. Moreover, they seem to blur the boundaries: gender, influences, origins.”

Does this generation read from paper?

“I don’t think they read newspapers or magazines and have my doubts about books. I think they consume a lot of information and content, but not on paper.”

What are the keys to a successful digital strategy?

“This is a complicated question because you have to have an audience on the one hand and revenue on the other. In terms of audience, it’s important to have good content. Something authentic, good stories, and being clear and loyal to your readers. That’s how people share your content and follow. them you, even though Google changes its algorithm. Facebook makes you pay for visibility and Instagram just wants you reels (an Instagram feature that allows you to record 15 second clips). “

“If you do it right, people will follow you. The problem is profitability. I don’t have the key yet, but I think it’s some kind of Spotify from the media. Some of it is free and you have access to a lot of it. exclusive content via a paywall. And at the moment, that includes a lot of video content. Of course we don’t just speak of articles, and I would add podcasts to this list as well. “

What is your opinion on Big Data?

“Once in a while there is an Internet boom. We have now moved from influencer marketing to Big Data. I think this is useful and very interesting, but you need to know where and how to manage it. The same goes for influencers. All brands started campaigning with it, but many influencers quickly determined for themselves which collaborations were interesting, based on what their followers thought about the brand, whether they were able to keep up with the times. “

“They are tools, but you need to know if they benefit your product. Hypes aren’t for everyone. That said, what could be more interesting than having access to an audience looking for you or buying your products? If tools are used in the right way, they will pay off.

What advice would you give to a brand that is just starting out and wants to be 100 percent digital?

“The most important thing in my opinion is that you have your own playing field. That brands use the different tools that exist to connect with their customers (networks, Google, SEO, Sem, whatever), but that they have a home base For example, a website, which is theirs and on which they can build in the long term.

For example, you have brands that only have an Instagram account and change the algorithm to show your product to their fans. As a result, you no longer see 80 percent of your fans. You must have alternatives. And the next step is to be very honest and authentic. You can’t just pretend on the internet. You are always criticized. “

Your first book originated from a blog, would you say the internet has been your patron in some way?

“It has been a useful tool for me that has made it possible to reach an audience that I would otherwise never have been able to reach. And all this from home, with a cheap design and a laptop. Those followers opened the doors for me to a publisher like Planeta (Grupo Planeta is a Spanish publishing house and media group, which includes Atresmedia with important national television channels, ed.) “

You recently entered the world of newsletters. Why do you think this new way of communicating is so successful?

“Yes, that’s right. The newsletter is called“ Leer por Leer ”(“ Read to read ”), and I already have over 3,000 subscribers. I think there is one boom is (as with podcasts) because newsletters are a useful tool for that creators. It gives you creative freedom. In addition, newsletters have an advantage. They don’t depend on social media or Google to reach people that major media bets heavily on. For small ones creators it’s a lot harder to attract readers. “

“You can also make newsletters paid. In the United States there are writers who make a living with it. I think that free quality content will disappear, or at least in part. Creators must be able to make a living from their work. In my case it is more of a hobby. I love to read and write and my own newsletter allows me to determine the frequency and content myself. Moreover, I am not dependent on social media. “

What do you like most and least about social media?

“I like that they bring people into contact. I got to know a lot of people and made good friends through social media. They also succeed in giving small entrepreneurs a stage. But generally I am not fond of social media. They are made in such a way that you spend a lot of time on them and I think they are a source of dissatisfaction. Not everything is there as it seems. Everyone can agree with social media. “

“In the end I only post beautiful things myself. It doesn’t matter, I’m 42. But sometimes I think that teenagers are under enormous pressure when they see all those edited photos and then look in the mirror. Social media is not the real thing. life. Maybe in a few generations we will know how to use them better. “

Can you make a digital prediction for 2021?

“I’m not a good guru at all. In 2008 I said that the end of Facebook was near. You can tell. Anyway, I’ll try. I think the current video-boom perseverance and we have a bigger one boom see in terms of streaming. The youngest generations consume a lot of video content. The advertising world will invest a lot in podcasts and in Spain newsletters will get a lot of readers. We’ll see if I get a little closer this time than I did in 2008. I think we’re living a moment when everything has to be real. On the internet, on paper, on the catwalk, even in my own newsletter. People want real stories. “

Picture: Amaya Ascunce, Freepik

This article was previously published on FashionUnited.ES, then translated and edited into Dutch by Veerle Versteeg.


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