On its maiden voyage, Vogue Philippines makes a strong statement of Filipino pride and identity. The intention is clear: They want you to pick up a magazine and keep on reading.
At some point over the last few years, the general consciousness has declared the long cared for and romanced medium of print dead. Sure, some heritage titles continue to lord of the business of fashion and storytelling, as well as irreverent and niche brands serving as a steady pulse in the severely challenged media and publishing industry. But for the most part, the consumption of content for multiple generations have shifted almost completely digital, which has only been exacerbated amid the pandemic. “I don’t want to turn a blind eye and say print is not dead. It has suffered and that’s the reality,” explains Suki Salvador, President of Mega Global Licensing, the company that houses NYLON Manila and most recently, Vogue Philippines. “We did see its sunset, and that is something we are aware of. But I feel like just like fashion, mediums and platforms are cyclical.”
With shorter attention spans and an numbing source of information, and conversely, disinformation, as well as of an overwhelming saturation of visuals, there is a lot to contend with in the stream of consciousness of the world today. And this is a challenge that Vogue Philippines is raring and ready to take on as it makes as splash with its maiden issue in September 2022. “We feel that there is a new generation of readers, people that like to touch books because there’s so much garbage online,” asserts Salvador. “We feel that they are the ones we will start to talk and hopefully, they will start to pick up a magazine instead of an iPad.”
This is a bold claim, of course, but that is what MGLI, led by CEO and Chairman of AGC Power Holdings Corp. Archie Carrasco, Publisher Rhoda Campos-Aldanese, and Suki Salvador, and Vogue Philippines, with Editor-in-Chief Bea Valdes at the helm, are standing by. The proof? Why, the introduction of Vogue Philippines to the country and the rest of the world, of course.
The New Frontier
“There is very little we need to do for someone young to pick up a magazine. In general, if you have a strong product, a strong story, it will be read…without even trying. I think that’s what the Vogue brand has been doing for the last 130 years. It’s very curated, it’s very edited, and somehow there’s always magic to what Vogue, what we put out,” details Suki Salvador ahead of the launch. “And I think this will continue for Vogue Philippines and future generations, because the values we have at Vogue, it’s always keeping in mind the future generations whether that’s sustainability, or making the pages breathe, so it’s easily digestible, or a 10 second video, so we don’t take up too much of an 18 year old person’s time. It is all of these things we’ve thought about to make sure that he, she, they or them are on board what we have to say.”
Echoing this statement, Bea Valdes says, “If you bring out something that’s exciting and relevant to the younger digital natives, and that will get them hooked. I think that’s why as much as possible, we speak to lots of different audiences. But again, what It offers, it’s a tangible tactile experience. I think leafing through the magazines and just having that always there in your room as reference as we did. I think everybody here had that exposure to print, and so we have that great attachment and love for it. And I think that’s the sort of experiences we want to bring back to this generation that is not here.”
More than just the nostalgia or for some, a stubborn insistence on tradition, Vogue Philippines intends to usher in a new generation of readers into the discipline and wonder of experienced storytelling and wonder making. ”It’s a really prime and exciting time to do, because they haven’t had that sort of connection with something that they can read and sort of refer back to and service information,” continues Bea Valdes. ”I think a lot of us who are in this industry, it was through that magic portal of pages as well, that sort of bring us here, the writers the images, and that’s what we want to as Suki said, we introduce in this manner that cyclical, so in a way it’s quite a fresh idea.”
In Vogue, The Filipino Way
This proposition is not one without responsibility. In fact, there is a lot heaved on their shoulders, one that the Vogue Philippines team courses through generations with its values of optimism, bayanihan, and malasakit.
”I think one of the things that we were really crafting it was thinking about, again, the different audiences that we have. So, I think the stories that we were trying to put together for the whole magazine have been relevant to different age groups and different segments of society as well,” explains Bea Valdes. ”So we try as much as we want to have a really specific voice. It has to be things that are interesting, cross generational. I have a 15-year-old who I also sort of ask her what is on her radar, and at the same time, as research, sort of as research I ask my mother as well. So, there are certain points that everybody’s on board with and I find that fascinating. Those are the sort of like non-scientific research that I do, because again, when you tell human stories that are either rooted in emotion, those things are ageless. Again, they’re just different ways that we tell them to different people’s lives. So I think those are the sorts of things that we really want to focus on, as well as with Vogue mandates always been about the next unfolding moment. So we also have to be as current as possible. And again, everything that’s on the crest of a new wave is interesting for everybody.”
Needless to say, Vogue Philippines is made for everybody.
The Legacy Continues
As lofty as the heritage and legacy of the Vogue is, the 28th international franchise of the brand aims to carve out its own unique identity primed for both the local and the global audience. ”It’s not so much of how we’ll come into the Philippine consciousness. I really see how the Philippines will come into the Vogue world’s consciousness in that way. That’s why I feel very united with all of the other titles here, because I think we’re on the same path—we serve the Filipino people and to bring our stories to a global audience. So I think it has this reciprocal relationship between what we can tell our local audience and what we can tell our global audience. I think it is the same philosophy and vision. We want to bring out the things that are meaningful to us,” relates Valdes. ”And again, showcase even beyond just the Philippine fashion identity. So much of it is about our identity, our warmth, our resilience, what values we have, what values we share with the world. So I think, again, if we look at it that way, as a whole ecosystem, between local and international, I think it will give everybody the sense that we’re all going in the same direction.”
This is just the beginning for Vogue Philippines, and as it embarks on its maiden journey, they are especially committed to the conversations, values, and creativity that colors the our most beautiful archipelago. As realized in its cover (with Chloe Magno, a Filipino-American model whose roots are from Davao), a vision of the nation as brought to life by fashion and passion makes it clear that in this beginning, the future is very bright. And as Global Director of Content Planning & Editorial Director, Licensing for Vogue said, and just like they found their pearl in the Philippines.
Maligayang pagdating sa mga isla, Vogue Philippines. Mabuhay!