Maxim mag bets big on style and quality trend

The first, the sauciest and the sexiest of the so-called “lad mags” is undergoing a self-proclaimed “moment of reinvention.” A new owner, publisher and editor-in-chief believe they can transition the more than two million young men who subscribed to a promise of “Sex, Sports, Beer, Gadgets, Clothes, Fitness” to an appreciation of fashion, quality storytelling and style. In a raft of media interviews, editor Kate Lanphear and publisher Kevin Martinez made it clear their new approach was based on company research as well as a close-read of the burgeoning trend line.

“People are hungry for something new and I think we are really coming in at the right time,” said publisher Martinez. “We’re going to increase style and grooming coverage in the magazine,” Lanpher explained. “Men are increasingly interested in looking great, and I want to showcase that. I want to inform our readers and offer them vocabulary so they can have great style too…”

The premier redesigned issue, on the stands this month, starts telling its new story on the cover, where Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel appears, not in lingerie or bikini, but in a full-cover close-up that highlights her beauty rather than providing hot-bod titillation. Back in 2006, Maxim reported that its typical reader was 27-years-old; it now says that reader is 34. But it’s not just a bit of reader maturity that’s tilted Maxim in this new direction: “Men are different than they were in the late ’90s,” Lanphear said.

Readers of the Trends Journal will recognize this very public moment as another example of the deepening of the trend toward quality and style. It ties directly to Retrograde 2.0, one of the institute’s top trends for 2015.

As stated in the Winter 2015 Trends Journal: “… Those in the fashion, art and entertainment worlds that respond to this trend early will set the stage and the tone for Retrograde 2.0 – retrofitting the best of the past to create the future with enhanced levels of quality that are 21st-century unique.”

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