Assignments: Visual Style in Fashion

Teen Vogue was always meant to be about the young woman discovering herself, and all the different aspects and facets of herself. For Amy Astley, that core mission hasn't changed, even as it has evolved with the times. Overall, the photography and the look of the magazine are more sophisticated now. She explains, "That's because we've gotten better at what we do. We've grown and become more sophisticated. I'm not even the same person I was when I started it 12 years ago.” The readers have changed and aged up with the magazine, as well. The core audience is actually in their early 20s. And by giving them a sophisticated product, Teen Vogue has been able to push the envelope over the years and make the magazine more special, sophisticated, and challenging photographically — from not only beauty, but also styling and fashion POVs (point of views) too. So that's what the word "teen" means for Teen Vogue — young, fresh, new. But not junior. The magazine itself was mind-blowing for many when it started, and that has only continued throughout the years. For Marie Suter, it’s working with the talents of today that are relevant. Her first cover with Teen Vogue was Selena Gomez on the beach, and it might have been the third time she had been photographed for the magazine. Marie shares, “So it’s like, OK, what do we do now? We just tried something very different with a positive message for celebrities, about being young and fresh. Selena was a bare beauty on this cover and she looked gorgeous and grown-up.” They did less makeup, less hair. Stripped down the clothes to something simple. From a design standpoint, Marie made it more grown-up by removing things that would steer the shoot to look a little younger. And all without redesigning or changing the essence of the magazine. So think more evolution in style. Instead of 75 colors on the page, maybe one would be good. Clean it up. Have a very clean cover. For Amy Astley, these are really beautiful. Don’t just go and do the same thing because the cover model always looks good with a red lip. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s also helpful to seek out collaborators, especially photographers and stylists, and even the subjects themselves who will help to push you into new territory. Sticking with what you've always done is a problem with any creative endeavor. As Marie says, “If it's not slightly scary, it's not going to be special.”


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