Luxury Fashion Advertisers Looking to New, Nerdier Horizons


Luxury fashion is getting hip to the fact that a lot of people with a lot of money don’t read fashion or lifestyle magazines.

Maybe they used to read them, or maybe they never did, but magazines that fall in the “thought leadership” category, whether they focus on politics, criticism, financial topics, or some combination of all (like The Atlantic, The Economist, Harper’s, Bloomberg), are fielding a lot more interest from, and cutting deals with, fashion advertisers. While these types of titles have long gotten placements for luxurywatches, cars and travel, major fashion brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, Burberry and Paul Smith are starting to place ads and branded content for the first time.

“We’ve definitely seen increased interest [from luxury fashion],” Ryan McRae, vice president of sales for The Atlantic, said. “Other types [of luxury brands]are not new for us, but I think advertisers are seeing a development in the political climate and the cultural climate and they’re turning, looking.”

To wit, Balenciaga is advertising this year with The Atlantic for the first time. Nice images from the spring campaign, one featuring two models primping in a mirror wearing designs by Demna Gvasalia (founder of cooler-than-thou Vetements), the other a moody black and white fashion shot, appeared as the backpage wrap for the January/February and March issues. Articles in the issues cover topics like sport fandom in Tibet, the roots of the opioid drug crisis, LGTBQ terminology, and a “backlash” against revived feminism, among many others. There is not a celebrity, fashion spread or first-person account of the latest anti-aging “breakthrough” to be found.