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Story:Audio Q&A with C's style director George Kotsiopoulos


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      Although Kotsiopoulos would not reveal his rate at C, his contract with the magazine is likely higher than the estimated day rate of Los Angeles area stylists, which can range from $750- $6,000.
    
     Fashion stylists face a highly competitive job market, according to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Those interested in the field often take internships or apprenticeships to start their career by gaining experience in the industry. Many work for several years for relatively low pay, often as freelancers. They can sometimes work weeks on the same project, then move on to other jobs that require them to toil around the clock for a short, intense periods of time. Their duties: to keep an eye on details of every sort. 

     "It takes a lot of energy to keep track of everything and see the process through on such a short timeframe," said Taylor. "The longer you work with the public relations people (of a certain clothing line or designer,) and cultivate a relationship, the more willing they can be to accommodate your request. Especially if you publish their looks often, return items on time and in good condition."

The rise of specialty magazines

      Since the successful launch of O, The Oprah magazine,  in 2000— when 1.5 million copies of O’s debut issue sold out on newsstands, according to Magazine Publishers of America— several magazines, including C, have followed Oprah’s recipe of stylized-glossy pages overflowing with female-friendly content. Focusing on women, usually between the ages of 25 to 49, the magazine is filled with multi-paged fashion spreads to satisfy a variety of tastes.

       Labeled as “a personal growth guide” by Oprah Winfrey herself, O’s motto is “Live your best life,” inspiring readers, 80 percent of them women, to embrace a can-do attitude. This positive approach has carried the magazine into the stratosphere of the national market with a current paid circulation of more than 2.5 million monthly readers (more than Martha Stewart Living, 1.9 million, or Vogue, 1.2 million,), according to Magazine Publishers of America. O initially printed only 850,000 copies on its April 17, 2000 launch.

      In California, C found early success. The publication found an unoccupied niche and took it, said, Jenny Murray Hooks, C’s managing editor. Hooks said she couldn’t believe California lacked a magazine devoted solely to its vibrant, trend-setting culture. With a paid circulation of 100,000 (more than Los Angeles Confidential Magazine, 70,000, or Angeleno Magazine, 56,000) C is one of several niche publications to make a mark— fast.

     “C is selling more copies on the newsstand in California than W and Town & Country combined,” Hooks said.

       And in each copy of C, Kotsiopoulos has a hand in the styling of one, if not several, fashion photographs.

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C finds early success in an
increasingly crowded magazine market.
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      Passion is the foundation for fashion styling, but a keen eye and a willingness to take risks are the making of a true stylist. "With an editorial shoot, you can take chances," Kotsiopoulos said. "But you have to think about trends several months in advance."

      But it isn't as simple as putting the clothes together and taking some pictures.

     "It really starts with an inspiration or idea that can come from anywhere- art, old movies, a poster, travel, a specific place, trend or style," Taylor said. "Basically the stylist will come up with the idea for a story and then find the looks that match the style and direction of the idea." 

     Public relations departments are then contacted to request the items of clothing. And so begins the sample request waltz, a back and forth nightmare that usually concludes with the arrival of a pile of Fed Ex boxes the size of a small island.

      "The stylist's job is then to ensure all of the items remain organized and are perfectly fitted and matched in the (runway) photographs," Taylor said.

      Easier said than done for Taylor. As Kotsiopoulos' assistant, she makes the calls for clothing requested by Kotsiopoulos. Because C is on the West Coast, scheduling can be difficult because of the time difference.

     "We must always be conscious of representing designers and advertisers as well as clothing that are simply beautiful," Taylor said. "Covering designer's who will advertise with us is important because basically a magazine is a shopper's guide that is meant to promote sales. If more consumers buy the looks we represent, than we will have more advertisers, which is how magazine make a profit."

      Adds Blaine Zuckerman, contributing editor at Teen Vogue: "As long as advertisers have money, there will be fashion magazines. The bottom line is money."

 

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