New Delhi: Shiny and glamorous – that’s how we usually describe a fashion magazine cover, it was until last year. Traditionally, a fashion magazine features a model or celebrity face – most often a Bollywood, Hollywood or sports star dressed in sensational clothes, with hair and makeup on point.
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But since the world was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, things have changed. The global battle against the virus has been mentally, physically, emotionally overwhelming and has taken its toll on frontline workers in every nook and cranny. Popular magazines like Vogue, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar among many have taken the unconventional route – they have become more inclusive with their covers and echoed people’s feelings.
Most recently, the cover of the July 2021 edition of British Vogue features Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. For the all-red cover, the world’s youngest Nobel Laureate, Malala, wears a red shirt dress and scarf by Stella McCartney.
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âFashion has long been a reflection of the times. Be personal, political or economic, âsays Nonita Kalra, former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, India. Adding: “The pandemic has not only highlighted this, it has also highlighted the fact that all communication must be sensitive to the current environment.”
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In April 2020, Vogue Italia released a blank white cover that imagined life in a post-pandemic world. Likewise, Vogue Portugal published a cover in the same month of two models kissing while wearing face masks to represent life in the age of social distancing.
In August 2020, the 26 editions of Vogue united to release the Hope issue. Interpreted in their own way, it focuses on the future of the world.
This month Cosmopolitan India featured ‘The Hope’ issue on Instagram, it features a six-cover series dedicated to real-life heroes who have shown extraordinary courage and kindness in these times. difficult.
Nandini Bhalla, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, India, told IANSlife: âOur decision to break the mold was driven by the need to amplify the real heroes around us: those who make a difference, lead change and inspire. millions of women and men. Basically, Cosmopolitan is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine for young women. But it has also always been a magazine that stands for equality, courage and kindness. “
She adds, âThe past year has been devastating for many of us, and right now what we want to feel is a sense of hope. A light at the end of this dark tunnel. Along with the illustrated covers of Cosmo India are this message of hopeâ¦ a reminder that there is goodness in the world, through those voices that help restore our faith in humanity.
The six covers feature: Health workers in India, Harteerath Singh of the Hemkunt Foundation who provided “oxygen langars” and assistance to thousands of people, ASHA workers in rural India and the Good Samaritans – from rickshaw drivers who converted their cars into makeshift ambulances, to police officers, teachers, and animal advocates.
Baishali Chatterjee, former editor of Femina, India, believes that today’s magazines are taking this âboldâ step to respond to the changing perspective of consumers.
She says, âWhen I worked for the magazine three years ago, Bollywood was still a big seller, whatever content we wanted to do. We had to meet the expectations of our audience. But now, maybe the pandemic has changed people’s perceptions and made them realize that it’s the people who really make the difference. So people like Malala end up on the covers of magazines. And people are realizing that their idols have to move from Bollywood and entertainment to real people making a difference and saving lives.
Chatterjee adds, âI think it’s very courageous for magazines to take a stand and present this change. It speaks well of us as an audience. It’s like a vicious cycle of foresight, we create the kind of content the audience wants and then the audience delivers the kind of content that is given to them.
Also, the entire digital revolution experienced by the written press provides the opportunity to play and experiment. âYou reach so many more people, your audience is much more diverse. A single outlet can have multiple covers in a month, unlike before, when we had to close the magazine cover three months in advance, âshe says.
When asked if this was going to be the future, Kalra, who is currently editor-in-chief of Tata CLiQ Luxury, replied: âIn the future I think the covers should be symbols of solidarity, messages of solidarity. hope and signals. of optimism. In large part because the reader wants to be treated with sensitivity and intelligence.