Thursday, October 1, 2009

Review: Canadian men's fashion magazines

As a working professional on Bay St., a lot of my colleagues insist on eating their lunch in their office. Personally, I try to eat outside my office. For one thing, I don't want my office to smell like the food court. Secondly, I think lunchtime provides a good opportunity for a brief mental break.

In the summer, I am especially religious about eating outside while my lunch drips over one of the many men's magazines for sale on the newsstand. I typically read GQ, Esquire and Details. I also used to also read the Men's Vogue during its brief lifetime. If I've managed to polish off those 3 before newer editions come out, I will sometimes pick up Men's Health or the British GQ.

It's a bit of a bummer that in Canada the subscriptions aren't any cheaper than the newsstand prices. In the U.S., the subscriptions are so cheap that they're practically given away.

I used to get a kick out of the Canadian Men's fashion magazine Toro, which was launched in 2003. I was originally introduced to it because it was distributed free of charge in my Globe & Mail subscription. However, as a sign of the times, in 2007, the magazine was converted into a webzine:

The current site does look pretty good, however to be honest, Toro fell off my radar screen once it ceased being published in print. I thought the print edition offered good production value, especially for a Canadian publication.

Recently, the Globe provided me with two free unsolicited men's fashion goodies along with my daily paper: "Sharp" magazine and "Men's Fashion" magazine.

"Sharp" magazine

Sharp is published by a new company called Contempo media. The editor is Michale La Fave, former editor of Driven magazine, a self-styled men's "luxury lifestyle" magazine, though primarily an automotive magazine. There is also a website which appears to have some content:

On its face, Sharp appears to have the typical features of most men's lifestyle/fashion (style, food, drink, film sex, health, etc.). I could quibble a bit over some shortcomings in the layout that give it a bit of an amateur feel:

-A lot of the pictures are way too small (postage stamp size)
-Several pictures are appear to be stock photos
-Some of the layout is quite spartan in design

The edition that I have (not the one shown above) has a nice feature on 6 Canadian men's fashion designers. I also like the fact that the "where to buy" page only lists Canadian stores.
Overall, the publication offers a pretty decent package. The publisher claims it will be published 6 times a year. I look forward to the next edition.

"Men's Fashion" magazine

I'm not sure who was the marketing wiz who came up with the name, but the magazine is surprisingly slick. Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise since the publisher is St. Joseph communications, responsible for a bunch of magazines including Toronto Life. Actually, the name of the magazine is a variation of St. Joseph's sister publication "Fashion".

The edition that I have is the inaugural edition (Fall 2009, shown above). The publisher's page seems to suggest that the intention is to publish 10 editions a year.

Men's Fashion also seems to have the typical features of most men's magazines, but the emphasis is definitely on fashion. The layout is really nice and the photospreads are top notch. My only beef with the magazine is that its pretty slim (64 pages). That' ll only last me one or two lunches. Hopefully the magazine will be successful, and therefore a bit thicker for the next issues.

Will these magazines survive? Or will they go the way of Toro and SIR (another Canadian men's magazine that went under this past summer)? There's already a lot of competition out there, and the unfortunate reality is that the print industry is not a growth industry. Let's hope for the best.

-The Scandal


  1. I love Justins style !! i like how his tie is showing through his top!

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