Men’s Health is bulking up its style quotient with new fashion director, Ted Stafford.
Until earlier this year, Stafford was fashion market director for six years at Condé Nast’s GQ, which has been dealing with cuts and reduced print frequency. Hearst has also named him market director of its men’s group, which includes Esquire and Popular Mechanics. Starting next week, he will provide style coverage and content for those titles, while more closely overseeing fashion, style, accessories and grooming coverage at Men’s Health. He’s replacing Sandra Nygaard as fashion director at the magazine, who’d been in the role for more than a decade.
This is Richard Dorment’s first hire since he became editor in chief in March after a two-year stint as a senior editor at Condé Nast’s Wired and before that, about 11 years as a senior editor at Esquire, another Hearst title. Naturally, there are some more hires and changes that Dorment is planning for Men’s Health, which publishes in 59 countries and boasts a reach to a third of all men, but he shied away from specifics.
“I’m really excited to evolve the brand, but, like I keep telling the staff, who are so smart and motivated, this isn’t a revolution, it’s an evolution,” Dorment said.
He added that Men’s Health is like any magazine in the industry right now, in that “it’s always in need of updating, always in need of change — that’s the nature of the business we’re in these days.”
“With Men’s Health you have the added urgency that things are changing for men across the country, and they’ve been changing for the last 10 to 15 years, in every aspect of their lives,” Dorment went on, referencing everything from fitness to parenting. “The fundamental rules that we were handed down when we were growing up really are no longer valid, to be successful and happy in today’s world. So the challenge and the opportunity is to evolve with men and keep up with that change, if not get in front of it.”
Dorment is also looking to increase print circulation and web visits, which are currently at a base of 1.8 million and 21 million, respectively, but he’s still new to the job and the first issue to come from under his full editorial purview is still a couple of months out.
As for why Stafford was the best person to be lead fashion at Men’s Health, Dorment said no one operating in men’s fashion “had a better reputation than Ted does” and that he brings a good understanding of athletic wear and fashion.
“He’s someone who knows the market really well and he understands the relationship between performance and style and that’s really something we want to own,” Dorment said.
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