A veteran editor of InStyle is the latest to leave magazine publishing for presumably more lucrative and dependable pastures.
Kahlana Barfield Brown, who started at InStyle more than a decade ago as an intern and eventually moved up to fashion and beauty editor, most recently working on an “at large” or freelance status, has left the magazine. While Brown didn’t want to comment on the “exact details” of what led to her recent departure — her byline appeared on the magazine’s web site last week — she is set to ramp up work on “personal projects” with brands and companies.
“The publishing world is changing…it was just time,” Brown said of her departure. “It really felt like a graduation.”
Brown joins a number of former editors to leave the magazine world over the last few years, many nudged by layoffs and title consolidations, as the industry continues to figure out how to drive revenue independent of declining print advertising.
Basically, Brown has turned herself into an influencer — a word she doesn’t like to use, like nearly all influencers — over the last few years, racking up more than 220,000 followers on Instagram and working with brands such as Bobbi Brown, Olay, Reebok, American Express and Uber. Today, she’s flying to Milan, where she will cover the city’s fashion week for Barneys New York, which she’s partnered with previously on other influencer-type projects. Now, without the attachment to a magazine, Brown said she can work “without boundaries.”
“What was cool at InStyle, I was able to have my hands in several different buckets — interviewing celebrities and being on TV,” Brown said. “Now, I can partner with brands and freelance and still do TV, but it’s nice to have more variety in what I can do.”
As for what exactly she will be doing untethered from InStyle, Brown avoided specifics outside of current partnerships, but said product development could be on the way and there will surely be more work as an influencer for various brands. Whatever the work is, Brown seems relieved to be done with publishing. “I’m definitely excited, I feel, like, free,” Brown said. She also admitted that all of the shifts at InStyle specifically, previously part of Time Inc., which after several years of cutbacks was sold to Meredith Corp., have not been pleasant.
“There have been so many changes, so many shifts to even just the way [the magazine does] business,” Brown added. “It’s just become so different than what I’ve always known it to be. You have to be able to change with the times, but it’s just so different.”
A representative of InStyle could not be reached for comment.
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