Fashion FAQ: Why are Magazine Photos so Strange?

The other day I was sitting at the dinner table while my mom was reading through this month’s issue of Glamour magazine. She stopped at a photo shoot spread with Jaden Smith and model/actor, Jasmine Sanders wearing extremely over-sized clothing with loud, mix-matched prints. She stared at it and said “interesting…” with a sarcastic tone. I snapped back and asked “what is the photo segment called?” “Mix it up” she replied. “Well, that’s what they’re doing…mixing it up,” I stated in a fighting back manner. It wasn’t the fact that she didn’t like the photos that bothered me, it was the fact that she didn’t understand them. I started thinking more about her comment and realized I had heard this questioning comment many times before about fashion editorials. So, I thought I would take this time to explain the reason for fashion editorials— what they are, why they are used, and who creates them/who benefits from them.

1st question: What does Editorial mean??

Editorial is a word used to describe many things, so it is confusing to understand what exact type of editorial is being mentioned. According to, it is “of or relating to the commissioning or compiling of content for publication.”  In this case, it’s just any piece paid for a magazine that is to go in the magazine. Editorial can be written or a photo, which is what I am talking about today.

Editorial Theme: Models Who Eat

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2nd Question: Why do magazines have them?

Fashion editorials usually accompany text to better clarify the message or topic, so a lot of times they over exaggerate the imagery to convey the message and catch the readers eye. This is why a lot of fashion editorials look strange. They are also created to not necessarily showcase style, but to uncover a story, such as where the clothes may be worn or what they would be worn for. 

Editorial Theme: Athleticism 

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3rd Question: Who creates them?

There is usually a whole team who puts together the end product of an editorial. The editor-in-chief and creative director of a magazine decide on the theme of the editorial story and then the fashion director works alongside the creative director to decide on the clothes, models, photographer and location of the shoot. After the basic details are decided, the photographer communicates with the fashion director on the poses and execution of any props for the shoot. Once all of the photos are shot, the photographer then edits all of the photos. The art director decides on how the photos should be laid out in the magazine and then viola! The editorial is complete!

Editorial Theme: Lounging

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4th Question: Who benefits from these editorials?

Well for one, you do. You can gain inspiration from them whether it is by styling similarly or thinking of it as art. Designers and brands benefit because their clothes are being used. In the same way, makeup artists, stylists, and photographers benefit, since they are showcasing their talent to be used for other advertising gigs, fashion shows, etc. Lastly, the magazine is benefiting because these editorials are everywhere and are given credit by the magazines.

Editorial Theme: Party Mode

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Got the gist? Four questions answered about fashion editorials. Fashion editorials are one of may favorite things to look at in magazines and I get a lot of creative ideas from them, so hopefully the next time you find yourself reading a magazine you notice the impact of the fashion editorials and the story it tells about society, culture, art and ultimately fashion.

With Love,

Maia Signature


p.s. thanks mom for the blog post idea <3

For more editorial images visit my Pinterest board here.



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