I was idly browsing this afternoon and ended up on NME. Looking at the site of a magazine that, as a teenager, I bought religiously, made me think of a magazine I bought religiously for much of my 20s. The magazine in question was The Face, the genre-defining style magazine launched by Nick Logan in 1980.
The Face covered fashion, music, art, youth culture, politics, and anything else it fancied, with intelligence, wit & elan. Unfortunately due to the fact that “the format [became] stale, there were too many competitors, sales had declined and advertising revenues had consequently reduced” it was closed in 2004 (just one year before my 20s ‘closed’).
In many ways it was the internet that killed The Face, as trends were being tracked so quickly online that a monthly style magazine just seemed like an anachronism, and it was something that the team at The Face never really seemed to understand. Just take a look at most of the iterations of The Face website archived by the Way Back Machine, and you’ll see dull pages which had obviously had about as much thought put into them as most people would put into choosing a stapler. Or even less in fact. Ironically the last editor of the magazine, Neil Stevenson, was one of the founders of the website Popbitch (which was, and is, doing exactly the sort of things that The Face should have been trying online) but by then it was probably too late.
I still have the last ever copy of The Face and seem to remember that, at the time of the closure, it was suggested that the brand would be kept (i.e. not sold) by its owners EMAP (now Bauer, following a buy-out) in case there was a desire to relaunch it in the future. And that’s what I think Bauer should do.
Seriously, how expensive would it be to launch an online only version, possibly using blogging software? When I think of some of the sites I regularly visit, such as The Sartorialist, the aforementioned Popbitch, PSFK, Holy Moly (which is doing very well, thank you very much), Josh Spear & many more, I see exactly the sort of things that The Face should have been doing, and probably still could be.
I’m sure that there are many people like me out there; (reasonably) young, web savvy, interested in everything from hip hop to politics, and who loved The Face when they were younger, who’d be happy to see it up & running again, and who would probably even help out.
So come on Bauer; you’ve had a fresh start recently, why not celebrate that by showing a new Face to the world?