Vogue’s videos almost always feature a recognizable face. We watch to see Kanye talk about his fashion line or Hamish Bowles teach Lena Dunham to pose for her cover shoot. But now, the elite publisher is turning to a different type of star: YouTube vloggers.
This week, Vogue set up a pop-up studio in YouTube Space New York and invited model Karlie Kloss, who recently launched her own YouTube channel, to create a series of videos featuring top creators. Vogue brought its fashion and beauty expertise. The vloggers, including Amanda Steele, Fleur De Force, Chloe Morello, Ann Le and Rachel Levin, brought their talent and their fans. Each of them has upwards of a million subscribers on YouTube, compared to Vogue’s 333,000.
The magazine’s video coverage takes a more accessible tone than its print product, aiming not only at fashion insiders but at the more democratized audience of the Internet. It has become known for witty and conversational videos including a series that asks 73 questions in rapid succession to celebrities from Anna Wintour to Iggy Azalea. Partnering with vloggers who already relate to their fans may be another way to appeal to more viewers.
The videos, produced with Condé Nast Entertainment, showcase fashion week’s hottest trends by challenging the vloggers to recreate different runway looks. For the Vogue Beauty Challenge, editors asked them to recreate Jason Wu’s matte red lip, Diane von Furstenberg’s shimmering mermaid eyes, and Givenchy’s ornate hand-made masks.
“We’re seeing all of these backstage trends happening in real time, and it’s interesting and incredible to be able to partner with people who can diffuse that information to their large audiences,” said Celia Ellenberg, Vogue’s beauty director.
Vogue first tried working with a YouTube beauty vlogger in Febraury 2014 when it collaborated with Michelle Phan on a video that recreated a Rihanna-inspired makeup look. The video amassed over 500,000 views on YouTube alone. (Vogue’s YouTube videos average 64,000 views according to video analytics firm Tubular Labs.)
“I think there are great ways for [publishers and creators] to add value to each other,” said Adam Relis, head of YouTube Space NY. “They each have unique properties or channels that include built-in audiences that should be shared when it makes sense.”
The magazine also gets plenty of video action on its social channels. It had 3.6 million video views on Instagram in August and another 900,000 on Facebook, according to Tubular Labs. More views come in over The Scene, Condé Nast’s digital video network. According to comScore, The Scene had 2.9 million multiplatform uniques in August 2015 and close to 30 million video views on desktop (comScore doesn’t track mobile video views).
The YouTube partnership will yield around a dozen videos that will go live over the next two weeks. They will be available on Vogue’s YouTube channel, the vloggers’ channels and The Scene.