Mario Testino Vogue China

For Angelica Cheung, “it’s very important to address the woman who wears the clothes — otherwise it’s pointless, it’s a mannequin.”

As editor in chief of Vogue China, Cheung is obviously fully aware of the commercial responsibility she has, but a priority is to influence her readers, helping them to grow. “Young people need guidance, they don’t need Vogue to tell them what to do, but to treat them as friends, subtly influencing them to become responsible adults,” she said.

The effervescent Cheung was speaking ahead of the cocktail event held in Milan at the tail end of Fashion Week to mark the birthday of the magazine she launched 10 years ago. Though finally persuaded by her team, Cheung confessed she was “not in the mood to look back. I know there is a lot to celebrate and I am proud of what we have achieved, but the world has moved on from 10 years ago and I am too busy with current projects, my mind is on next year and on moving forward.”

Eagerly showing the Vogue Mini app on a smartphone, she pointed out that Vogue China and Vogue Mini have both reached 5 million readers. “Everyone was saying that [hard copy] circulation figures were [generally] going down, so last year, I stopped looking at the numbers because I wanted to stay happy and be inspiring, until one day they told me they had been going up, helped by digital [devices]. It’s so encouraging and Vogue Mini is so successful we are thinking of spinning it as a magazine from digital,” Cheung revealed. “It’s fun, not too serious yet interesting.”

Last year, she continued, Vogue integrated the magazine and digital, “seeing very positive results.” Cheung highlighted the influence of digital communication and how this helps target and understand younger readers. “Those aged 15 to 25 are the first generation that never experienced poverty, it’s a totally different generation, they look at things differently. I look at value for money, they have no concept of high and low. If it’s not cool, they won’t buy it; they buy what they like.”

Asked if she was thinking of linking the magazine with an e-commerce platform, Cheung said she does not have an answer yet. “I’ve discussed it with a lot of people. How do you it? But we have to move with the times and not be left behind.”

A book on the magazine’s first decade will be out in mid-October and presented in Shanghai on Oct. 27. Cheung trumpeted how Vogue China “created a whole generation of models, nurtured Chinese designers and photographers that now do cover stories.”

She recalled how she had studied law, but she “liked to be pretty, see the world, do a crash course in experience,” and then going on to work at the Chinese editions of Marie Claire and Elle. “It was supposed to be a temporary plan,” said Cheung, who was convinced to continue working in media when she realized that she had the opportunity to create a Chinese edition of Vogue “that would be on the level of all the best Vogues in the world, not cheap and locally syndicated.”

Cheung does not rule out a men’s edition of the magazine “down the road,” but said she “will do it if I feel the passion.”

 

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