By default, I gravitate towards international titles whenever I hit the magazine section of bookstores. Almost all local titles (regardless of subject) hold very little interest to me, and sadly, the fashion magazines especially so. They're just not interesting. The only local magazine I read is Juice, which is free (and related mainly to music).
But I made an exception in the last two months - I plonked ($6!) for the revamped Female magazine (above). Below is their old look -
I bought their March issue, and their April issue (which has a better cover), and both times, it fell flat for me. It was mostly the usual articles that read like advertorials (Gisele's Ebel shoot? Come on.), the usual mindless display of the latest must-buys, and the fashion spreads were rather scant, usually about 5 pages.
There were one or two bright sparks and the new layouts are a vast improvement and way cooler than anything in the market now, but otherwise, I was left thinking that...actually I wasn't left thinking anything, it was that unmemorable.
This is from their press release about their new look -
"Female’s refreshed and brand new editorial columns are presented with strong news points, trend-centric, exciting, engaging, as well as useful, with lots of take-back for the readers. Its approach to stories remains informative, useful and fun. Expect both newsworthy features and bite-sized snippets that come with a good dose of fresh perspectives, informed opinions and tasteful humour.
The styling and photography of visuals take on an international stance, with arresting concepts that are impactful, unique and unexpected.
All this, in a concerted bid, to create a product that's more customised for its ever-growing fashion- and beauty- conscious readership, and in turn grow a larger following of trendy people among its readers."
Hmmm, it didn't really come across like that. Considering the quirky new masthead and elements of the new layout, the actual fashion featured was really more of same (your Prada flower-heeled sandals, your YSL tote of the moment), photographed in the usual spotlight white background. Edgier perhaps, but definitely not edgy.
I would like to see more articles about fashion (NOT ADVERTORIALS DISGUISED AS ARTICLES, OR THEY SHOULD BE BETTER DISGUISED), more extensive fashion editorials, and can we have some better coverage of the local fashion scene? This month is the Singapore Fashion Festival and the feature on it in the April issue was pitiful and unimaginative. Who are the local fashion players? The best local retailers? The best designers? What's missing from the local fashion scene? What are the local trends? Local blogs are doing a better job.
Can we see a more diverse model mix? Why is everyone white? This is especially bizarre considering that you count the number of white people in any given room with your fingers. (Unless you're in one of those expat bars. Or Holland Village.)
Can we have a slightly more expanded and intelligent culture section on film, books, theatre, food...you know, the other things that occupy your readers' minds?
But I have some hope that the new Female would add a little something into the local magazine scene - of the lot they've always been the best - so I am hoping that they will grow over time into something interesting.
Picture of new Female and press release excerpts from http://www.openpr.com/news/38938/FEMALE-SINGAPORE-S-LEADING-FASHION-AND-BEAUTY-MAGAZINE-GETS-A-FRESH-UPDATE.html; picture of old Female from http://www.sph.com.sg/magazine/female.html