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Memo Pad: Cosmo Convention… School’s in Session

In all the hype about the Web, the publishing strategy that gets lost in the noise is overseas expansion.

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WWD Staff

COSMO CONVENTION: In all the hype about the Web, the publishing strategy that gets lost in the noise is overseas expansion. But those who think it’s just a case of planting their flag in a foreign land could take some tips from the editors of the 59 international editions of Cosmopolitan, many of whom were in New York this week for a conference at the Hearst Tower — not to mention spa treatments and a few parties.

Thinking of publishing in Indonesia? Don’t run any sex stories unless it involves a husband and wife, since sex before marriage there is forbidden. And Fira Basuki, chief editor of the Indonesia edition, said the magazine produces most of its own fashion and beauty content, as opposed to borrowing from the U.S., because women in Indonesia believe white skin without freckles is beautiful, while the flagship magazine features a lot of the opposite. “We try to get as white as we can,” Basuki said. “Whitening products and sunblock are the biggest sellers here.” The magazine faces its share of opposition from activist groups that want to see women in traditional clothing, but, so far, Basuki has been able to keep the complainers at bay, by softening cleavage shots and easing up on the miniskirts.

As for the magazine in India — which published its largest-ever edition in October with more than 1,000 pages — it features mainly Bollywood stars on its covers and considers Elle to be its main competitor.

Cosmopolitan reaches 70 million women throughout the world and shows no signs of slowing down, with Denmark, Chile and Georgia added this year. Besides the U.S., its largest edition is in Russia, with 1.1 million in circulation. And, Cosmo in Russia holds the Guinness World Record for the largest magazine circulation in Europe. — Amy Wicks

SCHOOL’S IN SESSION: Teen Vogue’s Fashion U is already looking toward its sophomore year. The three-day event drew 500 fashion-forward teens — including a dozen boys, a 19-year-old Maryland girl with her own public relations firm and a Connecticut girl who hobbled to the panels despite a dislocated knee — from 47 states and four countries. Attendees learned the nuts and bolts of fashion through panels and seminars led by members of the fashion elite, including Simon Doonan; Derek Lam; Michelle Sanders, Juicy Couture vice president and fashion director; Catherine Malandrino, and Teen Vogue editors, including Amy Astley.

On Saturday, Tim Gunn, Project Runway judge and Parsons Department of Fashion Design chairman, gave the program a rousing endorsement as he spoke about ways to break out from the crowd when applying to fashion schools. “[Attending Fashion U] should be on your résumé when you apply. The fact that you came here is impressive,” he said. Teen Vogue will make Fashion U an annual franchise, but is approaching it with caution. “Looking forward you want to balance getting it bigger, but maintain the intimacy of it,” said vice president and publisher Gina Sanders. Next year, the program may include more panels on the business side of fashion, for example marketing and fashion journalism. Sanders is also thinking about scholarship and sponsorship opportunities to help attendees beyond the East Coast cover travel costs. One element for next year is certain: The November 2007 issue will be slated as the Fashion at Work issue, focusing on fashion careers, as an editorial tie-in to the Fashion U program. — Stephanie D. Smith

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