The True Test of Economic Development?

Here’s a simple test of the economic development and consumer sophistication of a nation: visit a newsstand, and look for a copy of Vogue. The arrival of an indigenous edition of fashion‘s most famous glossy magazine has become a barometer of the emergence of an affluent middle class, and a siren call to a luxury industry looking for new markets.

Before you scoff:

Because the printing cost of a copy of Vogue is much higher than the cover price, advertising is crucial. For this reason, the appetite of the luxury industry to reach consumers in a country is what brings Vogue to the newsstand. As Condé Nast’s chairman, Jonathan Newhouse, said when announcing the 2013 launch of a Kiev-based edition of his magazine: “The Ukraine is ready for Vogue … Kiev is booming, and there is a strong market demand for luxury products and the experience Vogue can offer the reader.”

There is also this passage regarding the relativly brisk magazine growth during the past forty years:

Launches in Thailand and Ukraine next year will bring the number of international Vogues to 21. Until the 1960s, there were only five editions of Vogue: in the US, UK, France, Italy and Australia. In the past 40 years, economic growth around the globe has been tracked by the arrival of Vogue editors: Russia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan have had their own Vogues since the 1990s, while the first decade of the 21st century saw launches in China and India, among others. The launch of Turkish Vogue two years ago indicated the country’s emergence as a luxury market.

You can find the article, by the Gaurdian’s Jess Cartner-Morley, here.


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