“Fashion! Dallas” Shows More Than Just “Style”

Newspapers battle to be heir apparel

The Times Herald rarely gets beaten in its intense competition with the Morning News, but the recent emergence of the fashion sections of the two papers represents a coup for the News.

The Herald’s section, “Style,” has none. The News’s offering, “Fashion! Dallas,” is a well-planned, well-designed product that could well keep the News on top as the two papers battle for the fashion advertising market.

The two sections did not hit the market at the same time by coincidence. When the Los Angeles Times started a separate fashion section in February, it was obvious that its sister publication, the Herald, would not be far behind. The News simply geared up to beat the Herald at its own game – and did.

The News put together a full-time staff of four, headed by former “Guide” editor Ellen Kampinsky, and began planning months ago. The result of their efforts is a high-quality product, and a vast departure from the traditional drabness of the News.

The Herald’s “Style,” by contrast, looks like something a newspaper copy editor could throw together in a few hours. Among the other failings of an early issue was an overplayed photo spread of big-name socialites in designer dresses. It looks more like a revival of the old Herald society coverage than legitmate fashion writing.

“Style” editor Lana Ellis, brought in from the Louisville Courier-Journal, defends her offering. “I’ve been in this business for 16 years, and I know what sells,” she said.

The section was mailed out to 30,000 non-subscribers, principally in North Dallas, where its circulation is low. “We are promoting ’Fashion! Dallas,” ” said the News’ Kam-pinsky, “but we didn’t have to mail to North Dallas; we’ve already got those subscribers.” First issues are not a good way to judge long-term performance, however, so look for the competition between the two sections to get tougher.

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