The future of fashion publishing
The Glossi template allows anyone to be a fashion editor. Front row seats for all! Photo: Getty images
We've already seen the democratisation of the writer, with blogging and tweeting; the photographer, with iPhones; and the art director, with Polyvore. Glossi, a publishing platform introduced on Tuesday that enables its users to create their own online magazines on laptops, tablets and smartphones, is saying ''off with her head'' to the editor-in-chief as well.
Somewhat like Tumblr before it, Glossi (the new incarnation of ThisNext, a social-shopping company based in Santa Monica, California) offers everyone a chance to be their own content organiser. Yet instead of Tumblr's vertically scrolling interface, Glossi has the new (yet familiar) experience of ''opening'' a magazine and flipping pages by using a mouse or by swiping.
''The magazine format is an emotionally involving format,'' says Glossi's chief executive, Matt Edelman, 43, explaining the decision to bring it to a digital platform. ''It really evokes interest, passion and conversation in a way that the blog doesn't.''
Glossi users upload images, audio, videos, text and fashion's current format of choice, the .gif, into folders. Then, page by page, they drag and drop media, write text and edit their publications, which can be browsed as if at a real newsstand. Almost any topic is welcome, though pornography is prohibited.
To say that the process encourages the creation of niche publications would be an understatement; current titles include Best of Bracelets, Yellow Handbags and a men's fashion publication called Hey Boy: You're the Perfect Combination of Sexy & Cute.
The designer Norma Kamali, who was among those invited to test-drive the website, pronounced herself impressed. ''I think that Glossi gives us that surprise of opening the page,'' Kamali says. ''Every time you turn the page, there's an opportunity for entertainment for the eye.''
And, she says, ''You don't have to carry it around with you.''
Kamali's Glossi features audio interviews with celebrities, a look book of her current designs and a place for followers to upload photos of what they perceive to be their most powerful body part.
DKNY, Lucky magazine, Rent the Runway and REVOLVEClothing have also created Glossies. One company not participating is Net-A-Porter, which announced last week that its online house magazine would be issued in, of all formats, print - a capability Glossi now lacks.
Maren Hartman, the director of US content at WGSN, a trend analysis and forecasting company, says that Glossi reflects the growing importance of user customisation online. ''It's about engaging the consumer and making it personal,'' Hartman says. ''That's why Pinterest exists. It's really this expression thing happening, but it's the personalisation.'' (Though as with Pinterest and Polyvore, it is still unclear how all this consumer engagement will translate into extra dollars for the brands involved.)
On the Glossi of Lucky, the Conde Nast magazine that has been intertwined with Internet commerce since its founding in 2000, readers are encouraged to submit their style inspirations based on clothes from Lucky's January issue. ''Women are really driving the self-curated experience online, and they're really doing it through fashion and style,'' says Lucky's editor in chief, Brandon Holley. ''I've always been an editor who loves UGC, and I love the idea of women picking Lucky and making it their own.'' At the moment, shopping within a Glossi, which is accessible only through browsers, differs little from shopping on any other fashion website, with links taking you directly to the clothes you want to buy.
Edelman says the Glossi team is focused on creating a strong user experience, and that hosting transactions on the site is still being discussed. A Glossi iPad app and collaborations during New York Fashion Week in February are also planned.
The New York Times