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What is WWD? Basic Fashion Knowledge You Should Know

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Women’s Wear Daily: the fashion bible

Unlike the Vogues and Cosmopolitans of the fashion world, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) long ago determined they would take a different route with their publication, and industry insiders are grateful they did.

The answer to “what is WWD?” is simple.

WWD is one of the few magazines that covers trends and news without the fluff. This was the idea when the magazine was started over 100 years ago.

It began as a daily trade journal in 1910 targeting primarily male professionals in the garment industry. Recognizing even then the need to inform designers and manufacturers of the rapid changes occurring around the world, WWD set out to provide just that. And, over a hundred years later, they continue to provide cutting-edge industry information.

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But make no mistake, Women’s Wear Daily didn’t jump to the front of the fashion publication line from the get go.
As late as 1955, magazine representatives were assigned the back row seats. This was at the leading fashion shows in New York, London and Paris. Widely considered the father of WWD, their standing changed dramatically. This was when John Fairchild took over the reins as Editor in 1960; the world of fashion was about to change, for better or worse. Things got better for industry aficionados, worse for those that ended up on the wrong side of Fairchild’s notorious wrath.

All it took was one misguided statement by a designer, or perhaps the debut of a new line. It was deemed less than adequate, and Fairchild would bring the hammer down. Often, banning any reference in the publication to some of the most famous designers in the world for years at a time. Some of the heavy hitters that got on his bad side included Oscar de la Renta, Armani, Geoffrey Beene, Perry Ellis, and Yves St. Laurent.

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What differentiated WWD then, and continues to set them apart today, is the publication’s emphasis on actual reporting. It is a concentration on the human side of the industry, and an abhorrence of all things fluff.

You won’t find 10 Ways to Please Your Man anywhere near the cover of a Women’s Wear Daily magazine.

You’re more likely to see the result of Prada’s recent IPO, or a preview of Queen Latifah’s new clothing and accessory line due in a few months. Likely with previously undisclosed pictures surreptitiously obtained by a WWD go-getter.

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While John Fairchild left the magazine in 1996 after 36 years at the helm, his legacy of providing industry insiders with the latest news and trends remains the publication’s guiding principles. It’s for these reasons, and the impact WWD has had on the fashion industry around the world. These past hundred years, they are known simply as The Bible.


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