It’s the end of an era for InStyle.
Ariel Foxman has resigned as the fashion glossy’s editorial director, after eight years at the helm. He will leave the company on Aug. 4, so that he can help close out the magazine’s September issue. Time Inc. will name an interim editor in chief shortly.
“I’ve been with this brand for many, many years. This year in particular it’s been really exciting — challenging and exciting at the same time,” Foxman told WWD.
The editor, who spent 15 years at Time Inc., expanded his profile at the company to include serving as editorial director of InStyle and StyleWatch, as well as running “The InStyle Collection,” which includes InStyle, Mimi, xoJane and The Outfit. He helped develop e-commerce, as well as introduce both virtual and augmented reality projects for the glossy. This year, he led the relaunch of InStyle’s print and digital issues.
When asked if his decision was related to the many hats magazine editors are being made to wear, Foxman said: “There’s really very little subtext here.
“I asked myself, ‘What do I want to be doing next? What opportunities do I want to explore?” he said. “For me, it’s really about creating incredible content for engaged audiences.”
Sources said Foxman’s decision did seem to be a personal one, and appeared unrelated to the recent shakeup at Time Inc.’s top management that saw the promotion of Fortune editor Alan Murray to chief content officer, a role previously held by Norman Pearlstine. Pearlstine became vice chairman, focusing on international growth. But Time Inc. changed reporting channels for the new chief content officer, with Murray reporting to Time Inc. chief executive officer Joe Ripp on editorial matters and executive vice president, and newly minted president of brands, Rich Battista on operations — a further blending of the business and editorial sides being seen at so many magazine publishing companies.
InStyle, like other magazines, has been suffering the last few years. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, the title’s paid and verified circulation totaled 1.8 million and single-copy sales amounted to 314,889. The magazine’s circulation remained flat in 2014, but newsstand sales fell 12.9 percent to 361,554.
According to an InStyle spokeswoman, the magazine has been the best-selling core fashion title for 18 years in a row; outsells 97 percent of all magazines sold at newsstand, and paid subscriptions rose 4.4 percent last year.
Although Foxman wouldn’t divulge what his next move is — aside from taking a vacation — the editor offered that he would like to “explore opportunities” that continue to allow him to tell stories in different ways. “I want to take what I’ve learned and apply it elsewhere,” Foxman said, offering that he’d like to write more and perhaps wade back into covering men’s fashion.
Foxman began his career at the now-defunct Details, before working for Condé Nast sister publication, The New Yorker. In 1999, he went to Time Inc. to work at InStyle until 2003. He left to become the launch editor of Condé Nast’s Cargo, a men’s shopping magazine, which would shutter in 2006. Two years later, InStyle would bring Foxman back, but this time as editor.
“I feel that the [InStyle] brand is in a strong place with incredible equity,” Foxman said. “I am grateful to Time Inc. and will always appreciate the incredibly talented team I’ve worked with over the years.”
Pearlstine offered: “We want to thank Ariel for his work and commitment to Time Inc. during these exciting and evolving times.”
Pearlstine underscored the importance of the InStyle brand, as Time Inc. transitions its company from magazine publisher to multiplatform digital media company. The executive concluded: “InStyle inspires consumers to take action and each reader purchases seven advertised items per issue on average, more than the readers of any competitor.”