Phoenix Fashion Community Reacts to the End of "Yes" Magazine

Last week, as part of Gannett-wide layoffs, the Arizona Republic made a few nips and tucks of its own. The most significant impact on the editorial side was the elimination of the paper's fashion supplement, Yes.

Members of the local fashion community say they were disappointed to see the end of Yes, but aren't expecting the section's closure to affect the Arizona fashion scene. 

"It was a great way for the general public to stay in tune with fashion, so it is a definite loss for Arizona," says Angela Johnson, local designer and Fashion Group International board member. "As far as the actual fashion scene though, it probably isn't going to have a huge impact ."

Brian Hill, executive director of Phoenix Fashion Week, blames on the continuing impact of the bad economy for the demise of Yes. He says social media and online fashion shopping will also have a hand in killing these kinds of print publications, but reiterates that the magazine had a purpose.

"It was an outlet for local designers to be featured in," Hill says. "That's important."

Bunky Boutique owner Rachel Malloy notes the importance of having a publication that focuses on local fashion and said store owners will miss the spotlight.

"The journalists that covered fashion for 'Yes' were always excited to feature local boutiques and did their best to connect their readers to our businesses and products," Malloy says. "It's very sad for the diversity of print in Phoenix ... as well as for boutiques and designers."

With the loss of Yes (and even 944 this June), the Phoenix metro area's choice for fashion coverage is slim. Java magazine may be the only still-in-print local fashion publication out there, and it's still going strong, says publisher and editor Robert Sentinery.

Sentinery says his publication never competed with Yes because people associated it with a larger, mainstream newspaper, and Java attracted an audience by "showcasing local talent."

When the magazine-style tabloid began as an insert in November 2002 (by last year, it had been demoted to just a few pages in the paper each week), the Republic's then-publisher Sue Clark-Johnson said she hoped it would bring a female demographic to the paper. It didn't work.

Clark-Johnson told Nieman Reports that she wanted a publication that would help "move the needle" -- essentially, a conduit to bring women in to the mother paper. She declined comment for this post.

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Bryan Scott Dugan

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