After acquiring fashion, music and cultural site Nylon last summer, Bustle Digital Group is ready to unveil its digital relaunch today — but its print issue has been delayed due to the coronavirus.
The relaunch includes a new and improved web site plus its first digital issue under BDG, with cover star actress and singer Maya Hawke shot at a colorful Brooklyn abode before the lockdown.
The print aspect was originally due later this year and just before COVID-19 spread throughout the U.S., the thinking was more around spring 2021. Now, the virus’ impact on the media industry and advertising landscape has pushed that back to fall next year. BDG is insistent, though, that it’s committed to a print issue, which will be the only one in the whole company.
“[Print has been delayed] because of the coronavirus and what it’s done to the industry and there’s uncertainty there and it’s a big project and undertaking for us and we’ll have to hire people. We’re still really excited about it,” said Emma Rosenblum, editor in chief of BDG’s lifestyle arm, which includes Bustle, Elite, Romper and The Zoe Report.
“The timeline has just been pushed back somewhat and I still think that it really adds a nice piece to this brand in a kind of in your hand coffee table-esque product that complements the cool digital stuff that’s going up every day.”
When it’s released, it will be Nylon’s first print issue since its previous owner, investor and real-estate magnate Marc Luzzatto, ceased print in 2017.
A monthly live music series, Nylon Nights, was also planned to coincide with the relaunch of Nylon, but that, too, has been postponed due to gatherings of greater than 10 being banned for the time being. Execs are currently looking at how this could work virtually and how they can restart it once the country starts to open up again.
As for the digital issue, which partnered with Sephora Collection, Rosenblum told WWD it never crossed their mind to press pause. “It made sense for us to go forward with it and we felt it would just be a little bright spot not just in our internal teams because it has been that, but also externally for our readers to see a beautiful new site and learn to love a brand that they might have once loved at a certain point in their youth.”
For this issue and other content on the site, editor in chief Alyssa Vingan Klein is looking back to Nylon’s roots when it began in the late Nineties in New York as a monthly print publication.
“You would go to Nylon when you wanted to find out what’s going to be cool in six months. They were really on the forefront of that and they were also really amazing at picking out talent that maybe other American mainstream fashion magazines wouldn’t feature straight away,” she said.
“They took chances on up-and-comers and that’s something that when I came on board I really wanted to do. We want to be the first to feature up-and-coming Hollywood talent, musicians, bands, artists. We want people to know that if Nylon is championing somebody that they’re going to be big.”
Much of the style and layout has also been inspired by Nylon’s early editions and other magazines and fanzines from the late Nineties and early Aughts.
Like other publications, Klein and her team had to put the finishing touches together while working from home, but the large majority was already completed so there wasn’t any major drama. She is, though, having to be creative to come up with content during quarantine. That includes sending out Polaroid cameras so subjects can take their own pictures and working out other ways Nylon can make art its own without putting physical productions together.
There will be at least two digital editions this year, with the second coinciding with Pride Month, although New York City just announced that this year’s Pride March would be canceled for the first time in its history. A print magazine will likely be published once or twice a year.
The Nylon relaunch comes after a lot of change at BDG, which also owns Mic, Gawker and Input. At the beginning of the month, it laid off two dozen staffers, implemented a temporary tiered pay reduction for much of the company and shuttered The Outline to counter the loss in advertising revenues.
None of Nylon’s six editors were laid off, but there were a few layoffs in the lifestyle section. “We did have a few. Not a huge amount at all,” said Rosenblum. “This move we did it very early and decisively and we think it positions us really well going forward.”
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