View Full Version : Figure magazine folding
16th February 2009, 21:03
This is very, very sad news. Figure magazine is closing its doors. I guess Charming Shoppes can't sustain it in this economy.
The forthcoming March/April issue will be the last one.
I'm really saddened by this. I didn't care when Grace folded, because it was worse than useless as a plus-size magazine (faux-plus models and a geriatric demographic slant), but the end of Figure is a real loss. It had by far the best images of any magazine besides Mode.
The only thing that held Figure back from early on was its infuriating and sickening use of diet ads, which drove a lot of people away. The magazine stopped this in subsequent years, though. And I will say this: better that Figure fold than if it were to betray the cause and accept diet-industry blood money again.
When you think about all of the great moments in Figure (the Valerie and Megan Garcia covers, the Kelsey Olson editorials, Andrea Horblitt, Anna Loukachenets, Yanderis, etc.) you realize what a loss this is. Its casting policies were excellent. It always used true plus-size models.
Yes, the quality of the photography was not quite up to Mode at its best, and some of the content wasn't as size-positive as it could be, but what Figure did right was the most important thing - it cast genuinely full-figured models, and often shot them in size-positive ways. At Figure's best, it was as good as Mode at its best - and that's the highest praise that anyone can give.
I hope someone starts another plus-size magazine in the near future, and take one thing in particular from Figure: its policy of using truly full-figured models.
17th February 2009, 15:12
This IS very sad news. It wasn't perfect, but I really looked forward to seeing the new issue every two months, and except when it was running diet ads (which to this day, I still can't believe it was insane enough to do), I really liked the magazine.
I loved the fact that it used genuinely full-figured models, which is the most important thing of all. For several months, each issue did have an exciting editorial with at least one Judgment of Paris favourite.
I also loved the face that it generally shot natural-looking editorials, and sometimes set in attractive locations. (No urban blight!) A few too many stories were in bare studio backdrops, but no every shoot can incorporate travel costs.
I do think that Figure sometimes skewed too "old" though - not as badly as Grace did, but the celebrities on the covers tended to be middle-aged. What the editors failed to realize is that older readers will always be able to identify with younger models, but not the other way around. (Think of all the fortysomethings who buy Vogue.) The models and celebrities can be young, regardless of the magazine's readership, as long as those models & celebs are truly plus-size.
I wish Charming Shoppes would reconsider closing the magazine. It's by far the best promotion for their clothing.
But I also agree - better to have it close than for it to sell out to diet profiteers.
One other thing: I think any future magazine will need "all hands on deck" advertising from every plus-size retailer, from Charming Shoppes to Torrid to higher-end clients. As long as the magazine insists that the ads, like its editorials, use visibly full-figured girls, it should represent the entire North American industry (and Torrid interest might also have encouraged the magazine to have a youthful element in its content).
18th February 2009, 16:16
This is a terrible loss. While it's nice to see plus-size models make occasional appearances in other magazines, those are just tokenism. A single image (usually not even a whole page) will be tucked in between pages and pages of underweight models. It's insulting, because it gives the impression that being curvy is somehow a rare exception or out of the norm, when in fact it is the most normal thing in the world, since the majority of women are plus-size.
What was great about Figure, like Mode before it, was that it visually created a waif-free environment -- "all plus-size models, all the time." The positive impact of that was tremendously important. You can't match that with single, rare, token appearances in other magazines crammed with anorexics.
As for the point about "all hands on deck" advertising (getting ads from all plus-size retailers), that's a crucial issue. It would help a magazine be less vulnerable to the financial vicissitudes of a single company.
22nd February 2009, 02:35
I do think that Figure sometimes skewed too "old" though - not as badly as Grace did, but the celebrities on the covers tended to be middle-aged. What the editors failed to realize is that older readers will always be able to identify with younger models, but not the other way around.
I definitely agree with this. You knew there was something wrong with Figure when it was using the same celebrities on its covers that MODE did- but MODE was ten years ago. I mean, Camryn Manheim? Wynonna Judd? Rosie O'Donnell? Young girls are not going to connect to these matronly women.
And the tragedy is that there are lots of young curvy girls that Figure could have had on its covers, if it wanted to go with celebrity covers and cover stories. Imagine a Chloe Agnew cover and feature! Imagine one with Christina Schmidt! That's who Figure should have been promoting. No question that it should have appealed to the Torrid generation too. The plus-size shopping public isn't numerous enough to section it off even further by just going after the over-40 set.
Besides, since almost every issue of Figure featured at least one gorgeous editorial with a plus-size model, that's who the magazine should have had on its covers. There should have been Kelsey Olson covers to go with her stories, just as MODE ran Barbara Brickner and Kate Dillon covers when those models were in the magazine. Kelsey covers would have really sold issues!
4th March 2009, 18:16
I must confess, I cannot lament the loss of Figure. To be blunt, we deserve better. We deserve a magazine with the production value of Vogue. Great writers, photographers, make-up artists, expert contributors and most importantly GREAT MODELS wearing GREAT CLOTHES. MODE was the closest we've ever come. Unfortunately most women are still supporting the magazines that make them feel bad about themselves instead of demanding the respect and representation that 60% of the population should be able to garner. We have the power the get everything we want because our demographic has the most purchasing power. If every plus-size woman stopped buying Vogue or Glamour they would go under. Someone once told me that a woman should "cultivate" her own self-worth. Imagine if every plus-size woman cultivated her self-worth and demanded everything she knew she deserved. Imagine the possibilities.
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