The Daily Beast is dipping back into style and fashion coverage — this time with a focus on men’s wear. The site’s new vertical launches today, timed to coincide with the first day of New York Fashion Week: Men’s.
The Beast, which hasn’t covered fashion and style for the last three years, has been in the process of focusing on core verticals since owner IAC sold sister property Newsweek to IBT Media in 2013. Founded by Tina Brown in 2008, the site had covered fashion under the vertical “Sexy Beast,” but it faced a “period of retrenchment” following the spin-off, according to president and publisher Mike Dyer.
“We want to return to our roots,” Dyer told WWD, explaining that the company had to build up coverage on news, entertainment and politics first. The decision to return to fashion and style was linked to data, the executive noted.
Dyer looked at internal figures that showed that users who perused The Beast’s entertainment and news content would then go elsewhere for style coverage. Combine that with the fact that 51 percent of The Beast’s readers are male, and Dyer and his team had the idea to pursue men’s fashion first. If the section proves successful, The Beast will dip into women’s fashion next.
To build the vertical, the company recruited two Esquire employees. It added Wendell Brown, Esquire’s longtime senior fashion editor, to helm the section as creative director, and Andrew Bowen to run the business side as vice president of brand partnerships.
Brown said he was attracted to the opportunity because it allowed him to work in different mediums, such as stop motion and Facebook Live video, short-form video and e-commerce. “What’s amazing about this about this opportunity and space is that there’s so much more flexibility in men’s,” Brown said. “There aren’t that many great men’s web sites.”
In order to differentiate The Beast’s men’s coverage from GQ, GQ Style, Esquire, Complex, Maxim and even health glossies, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal and Men’s Health, Brown said he would focus on diversity — in brands, styles and audience. He explained that he not only hopes to reach beyond street style, but also speak to a culturally and ethnically diverse reader.
The section will launch with 15 pieces of content, which were created by a mix of current Beast staff and contributors. The site will run five editorial series that include a profile series called “Unlikely Style Icons;” “How They Make It,” a video series on the creation of coveted fashion items; monthly columns dubbed “Sneaker Society” and “Classic Cool,” and an accessories-focused feature, “Gear Daddy.”
During Men’s Fashion Week this week, Brown said his team will develop content for Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram.
According to Dyer, the launch of “Style” is a “meaningful bet” for Barry Diller’s IAC, but he declined to provide figures. For “Style,” it includes e-commerce down the line, a continued push into native advertising via video campaigns for brand partners, and events. Dyer, who noted that native makes up 90 percent of advertising revenue, said the site will launch with Mott & Bow. The denim brand will join existing advertisers such as, Neiman Marcus and David Yurman, which have tapped the company’s in-house content marketing studio to create sponsored content.
The Daily Beast said its next bet will include the launch of another vertical this year called “Drink + Food,” which will emphasize cocktail culture.