The New York Times may be taking the whole buy-now trend in fashion a little too literal.
In its interview with Cindi Leive on her departure from Glamour as editor in chief on Thursday, the Times in the article described the dress she was wearing and ever-so-helpfully provided a shoppable link — a curious thing to do in what is essentially a flowery exit memo.
Styles writer Katherine Rosman wrote: “Ms. Leive’s stomach growled beneath her flouncy Tanya Taylor dress, with its cutout shoulders.” In the sentence, Tanya Taylor is hyperlinked, and, if the link is clicked, the reader is sent to the designer’s e-commerce site, fwrd.com, to shop Leive’s look.
While there is a trend in style and fashion writing of providing affiliate links for products, it is a bit odd here. After all, the editor in chief of 16 years is resigning from her job at a time when the magazine industry is in massive upheaval.
The Times told WWD it was not an affiliate link, which makes it even stranger that they would link to an e-commerce site.
A spokeswoman clarified: “Per the [Styles] editor, this was the only link they could find that showed the dress the story subject was wearing.” (Whatever happened to good old-fashioned descriptions?)
Perhaps equally strange is that the Styles section routinely handles what it deems as “women’s media” stories, not the newspaper’s media section.
Case in point: When Leive’s colleague, Graydon Carter, resigned last week from Vanity Fair, his story appeared in Business Day, which includes the media section. (Meanwhile, more than half of Vanity Fair’s readership is women.)
(Elle’s new editor in chief Nina Garcia also got the Styles treatment this week, while Nancy Gibbs, who recently exited the news-driven Time magazine, was featured in the media section.)
Several outlets have recognized the disparity and called out the Times for its choice. The Times has also been criticized by publications such as Huffington Post for only hiring men to run its Styles section. Recently, it named Choire Sicha to the post. He was the fourth white male editor to run the section since founding editor Stephen Drucker, who launched the section in 1992.