Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani took to her blog this week to solicit pitches for "a new channel" that the magazine will launch in September. She didn't elaborate on this "channel" except to clarify that it will address "fashion, photography, designers, fabrics, accessories, purses, shoes, jewelry, and hairstyles. And more, fashion, cinema and art, news from the world always linked to fashion, customs, traditions and the history of a Country." So the usual stuff, in other words. What is different about this new venture, though, is that any old person can write it, so long as Vogue Italia vets their pitches first. Writes Sozzani:
By next Tuesday you must send us the topics you would like to cover. Please write them in the comments below this post. We will then choose them and get in touch with you via email and assign them: you will have the whole month of August to write the pieces.
This is sort of similar to American Vogue's recent announcement that they've tapped an "influencer network" of 1,000 bloggers to write about Vogue, products and brands that advertise in Vogue, and other Vogue-related things. In both cases, the magazines are using the Internet to outsource brand promotion and content for free. In return, the writers get exposure and, in American Vogue's case, probably some free stuff.
What's particularly interesting about Sozzani's blog post, though, is the volume and earnest of the pitches she's received in the comments. (Non-sarcastic commenters — can you imagine?) So far, there are about 80 pitches, many of which are quite lofty, like this one:
I have a Bachelor in museology and cultural heritage. As a cultural heritage specialist I learned that it is my role to preserve, collect, research and exhibit material and immaterial manifestations of society. Personally I was always intrigued by one particular manifestation this, namely, fashion. With a background in cultural heritage, where I studied different aspects of society, I see fashion as a symbol of society. In my perception fashion is history, religion, tradition, identity, culture and art. And these concepts also portray how fashion is a reflection of society...
It goes on, and it's hard to tell exactly what this person is pitching, but it elicits a question: will these kinds of crowd-sourced partnerships produce interesting content that people will actually want to read?