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PROPER i-D: i-D magazine, the irreverent and forward-thinking British fashion glossy, was purchased by Vice Media, the company behind the namesake magazine said Thursday.
The thinking behind the acquisition is to create a video-driven fashion channel. Vice president Andrew Creighton promised “mind-blowing, video-driven fashion content.” The company also said it was doubling down on i-D’s print magazine, seeking to expand its print circulation.
Founders Terry and Tricia Jones, will stay on at i-D as partners, and its editorial and sales staff will combine with Vice. It’s not clear whether there would be redundancies.
The purchase appears to make sense for Vice, which early on invested in video and cultivated its video arm, VBS.tv, into a successful business producing documentaries about dangerous countries, like North Korea. Since its inception in 1994, its magazine, which is distributed for free, also rapidly expanded into other countries, and now owns more than 20 international editions.
Fueling Vice’s latest acquisition is investment last year from several media companies, including, most notably, the U.K.-based marketing behemoth WPP.
The purchase is ironic, because Vice, which was initially dismissed as an upstart against titles like i-D and The Face, has flourished while its more established rivals faltered.
More than 32 years old, i-D came about at the same time as The Face, another magazine that blended fashion, culture and music. Later, similar magazines, like Sleazenation and Dazed & Confused, joined them.
“I did my first shoot with i-D in 1990,” Kylie Minogue told WWD two years ago at the magazine’s 30th anniversary party in London. “I was just this little pop gal. And for me, i-D was so cool and edgy.”
Sleazenation folded, and The Face was the subject of a nasty dispute between its founder and an investor, and was later closed, its legacy more or less wiped out except for a permanent place in the London Design Museum’s collection. Dazed & Confused remains a quirky promoter of avant-garde art and fashion.
Through all that, i-D managed to still churn out issues on a monthly basis and could consistently count on marquee photographers and fashion notables to appear in its pages — in November, Arthur Elgort shot Vogue’s Grace Coddington for her first cover in years.
“Working with Vice means partnering with a company that knows how to expand from print to digital in a smart way,” Terry Jones said.