Ruth Mortimer on free magazines

I picked up my copy of the first issue of Stylist magazine today on the street in London (it’s also in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and various other UK cities). The freesheet from Shortlist Media has a 56-page first issue with 17 pages of ads, featuring clients including Selfridges, Clinique, L’Oréal, Uniqlo, Burberry Fragrance and Yves St Laurent.

First impressions? It’s a pretty decent publication. The first issue is quite editorial heavy. The paper feels flimsy and not as glossy as the weekly/monthy women’s titles but there is quite a lot of content within it that wouldn’t look out of place in paid-for media.

Actually, for me, it’s a deadringer for Grazia. It feels like Grazia from its upmarket fashion spreads to the womenfriendly features about fertility,
careers and an interview with Angelina Jolie. Even the layout reminds me very much of Grazia. It also has similarities to a shopping-focused magazine like Look, with its lists of products, but the price points in Stylist are higher than the highstreet retailers mentioned in Look. Again, more like Grazia…

I guess we will have to see if several issues down the line, the magazine can bring in the right advertisers (it’s aimed at upscale women but handed out on the street to, well, pretty much anyone). And whether it can keep up a stylish standard and range of editorial features.

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