Porter: "the biggest launch of a British Fashion Magazine"

Friday, 07 February 2014
Luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter has launched its first printed glossy magazine, subtly named Porter, which is part of the group's new publishing division. The magazine is aimed at women with "great style" and features fashion alongside culture, art, beauty, travel and commerce and is predicted to sell 400,000 copies around the world while it is published six times a year.

Porter was revealed at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park London before Massenet flew to New York to unveil the magazine during New York Fashion Week, who said that: "the founding idea for this business was about launching a shoppable magazine online, inspired by the incredible glossy magazines we have grown up with. With the launch of Porter, I feel like we have come full circle."

Douglas McCabe, an analyst at Enders Analysis described the magazine debut as "the biggest launch of a British fashion magazine for years." He believes that the launch is unique because Net-A-Porter is "an e-commerce retailer, not a traditional publisher," reported the Evening Standard.

The idea for Porter existed from the very beginning

Net-a-Porter's founder, Natalie Massenet, who launched her luxury retail website in 2000 revealed in an interview with Imran Amed that the idea for Porter existed from the start and was part of her original business plan since 1999. She stresses that Net-a-Porter is not just an online retail company, but that it is also a media company and as such it cannot ignore such an important aspect of the media business, namely print. Massenet adds that Net-a-Porter would not be a fully fledged media company without running a print publication.

What makes the launch of this fashion magazine so "striking" is that Porter "will help blur boundaries between writing about goods and services (a form of journalism) and selling them" weaving commerce and content together like never before, according to the Economist.

The debuting issue of Porter features model Gisele Bundchen on the cover and features 284 pages of articles, ads and photographs from the likes of David Bailey. Roughly 35 percent of the fashion magazine's pages will go to advertising campaigns, with 65 percent going to editorial content featuring more towards the start of the magazine as consumers "didn't want to get to page 250 before getting to any editorial," comment Massenet.

Lucy Yeomans, editor for Porter, believes that what truly makes the magazine unique is its global approach, offering just one edition per circulation, rather than various country editions like other fashion magazines such as Vogue or Harpers Bazaar offer. There will also be a digital version of the magazine launching February 14, which will allow readers to click on an image and purchase the item they see. Yeoman says that the feature is about "content and commerce coming together."

The print magazine itself also features image recognition software that allows its readers use their smartphones to scan a page or take a photograph to find out more information or purchase products shown in Porter, which will help drive more traffic to Net-A-Porter site, which currently boosts over 6 million visitors per month.

Porter costs 5 pounds or 9.99 dollars, with the choice of signing up for a year's subscriptions for 25 pounds or 48 dollard and is available in 60 countries in 20,000 stockists.

Photo: Cover of Porter, Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet

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