The launch issue of For Him magazine
It was around Eastertime in 1985 that the first edition of For Him magazine appeared, distributed solely on a complimentary basis through menswear shops. It was the first of the modern crop of so-called men’s style magazines. I was the launch editor. I have scanned here all of its 32 pages and covers.
To clear up a popular misconception, For Him was never a trade magazine. As these pages show, it was always aimed at the consumer. It was the brainchild of Chris Astridge, who was the owner and publisher. We also produced a menswear trade magazine called MAB News. Chris’ view was that the days of fashion trade mags were numbered as the number of independent fashion shops was declining. Advertisers wanted to reach the end-consumers and that’s what For Him was designed to do. Its rather clunky name is an English translation of Per Lui, an Italian fashion title of the period.
The idea was to produce a style guide, a celebration of good clothes and good dressing, with the American title Esquire of the 1960s our most obvious inspiration. To circumvent the reluctance of national newspaper chains to stock this new magazine, and to get round a possible reluctance of British men to pay for a fashion publication, Chris hit on the idea of distributing the mag for free (note there is no cover price) only through independent menswear shops. This distribution served For Him well for several years and even when a cover price was added and it was sold via W H Smith and the rest, menswear shops still stocked For Him.
We published For Him every six months; I was the editor of the first three editions, from Spring Summer 85 to Spring Summer 86, before leaving to work in the Netherlands for International Textiles magazine..
I returned to be the editor for most of 1990, by which time the magazine was well established and had been joined by Arena and GQ, and was soon to have Esquire as a competitor also. Chris eventually sold For Him Magazine to Emap in 1994 and it was quickly converted in to an amazingly successful “lads’ mag”, which, as these pages show, was quite different to our original concept.
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