Time Inc. is clarifying its mass fashion titles, StyleWatch and People’s style vertical under the PeopleStyle brand. The combination of the two properties clarifies what many in the market deemed confusing, as both entities serve a similar reader and have similar names.
Time Inc. told WWD that StyleWatch editor in chief Bethany Heitman and People beauty and style director Andrea Lavinthal will lead PeopleStyle. Both editors will report to People editor in chief Jess Cagle, who also serves as editorial director of the style & entertainment group at Time Inc. (Before, StyleWatch had fallen under the purview of InStyle.)
As part of the combination, StyleWatch will reduce its frequency from 11 times a year to eight, and focus on shopping-driven seasons such as back-to-school, as well as celebrity-driven events such as the Emmys. Re-branding the titles also allows the magazine’s print staff to work closely with the digital and weekly print team from People.
Consumers of StyleWatch will notice the change in September when the magazine is relaunched as PeopleStyle. In the meantime, Lavinthal and Heitman are in the process of collaborating on their vision for the unified brand. This includes sharing editorial calendars and some staffers. There’s been no word on how the changes will shakeout when it comes to the masthead.
“There have been a lot of changes here at Time Inc.,” Lavinthal said. “This just makes sense…instead of targeting the same readers, we are offering them more of what they want.”
Although bringing together two top editors can sometimes be jarring, this does not seem to be the case here. Lavinthal and Heitman both worked at Hearst’s Cosmopolitan under then editor in chief Kate White, and have a shared sensibility for PeopleStyle.
“I remember Kate telling us that you’ve got to be a cross trainer in this industry,” Lavinthal said. “It’s true. We keep doing more and more because that’s what the reader wants and our reader is everywhere.”
Heitman added: “We’re going to be able to provide the reader with content 24/7….You’re behind the game if you can’t do that.”
Both editors noted that the title will continue to use celebrity and fashion-centric news from People.com and InStyle.com when need be on PeopleStyle’s digital vertical and social channels. (Lavinthal heads up Time Inc.’s centralized digital new desk for style and beauty and will direct that coverage.)
The duo explained they will not share content in print with InStyle, which is targeted to upscale advertisers and more fashion-focused readers.
In his editor’s letter this week, Cagle explained that the combination is a way for People to expand its digital verticals via more fashion coverage. StyleWatch’s renaming is a homecoming of sorts; the title was born out of People in 2007 as a monthly magazine targeting younger women, who shopped mass market brands. Since then, PeopleStyle was launched as a section in People magazine and on People.com, in part to shore up fashion and beauty advertising dollars. But in recent years, StyleWatch and InStyle had been combined in a larger group called The InStyle Collection, making it harder for InStyle to build on its luxury advertising business.
“As we continue to build the People brand and its digital verticals, fashion is a critical part of our strategy,” Cagle offered. “StyleWatch’s young audience is remarkably receptive to advertisers, and it will play a key role in Time Inc.’s e-commerce expansion. By re-branding as PeopleStyle, the magazine becomes part of a singular multimedia brand that lives on digital, mobile and social platforms and as a weekly print section in People. The re-branded magazine will include more celebrity fashion but will remain basically the same — a valuable resource for Millennial women, bringing them the latest trends in street style and helping them shop for the looks they love.”