With the help of the University of Georgia’s first and only fashion magazine, Athens boutiques are expecting an increase in sales as the winter season draws closer.
UGA’s Little Red Book fashion magazine is working on following through with their mission to remedy and showcase Athens’ underappreciated fashion market by partnering with several Athens boutiques and featuring clothing items from the boutiques in the magazine issue.
Little Red Book fashion editor Nikki Sarmer said that local boutiques in Athens are underappreciated because of the growing popularity of online shopping. This sentiment was echoed by employee Cat Chandler from the Athens boutique Pitaya, but Chandler said that local Athens boutiques continue to be competitive against online retailers because the boutiques offer unique and stylish clothing that cannot be found online.
Established in 2009, the magazine has spent the past seven years working with local Athens boutiques to provide UGA students with information about trends and local fashion. The student organization releases two issues a year, one for the fall/winter season and one for the spring/summer season. Even though the magazines cost anywhere between $2,000 to $2,500 to produce the 100 to 150 magazines each semester, Little Red Book’s Editor-In-Chief Kiersten Fryer said that the local retailers do not have to pay to be featured in the magazine.
“We usually give stores free exposure because they let us pull and use their clothes and merchandise in our shoots,” Fryer said.
Instead of attending the UGA homecoming game on Oct. 15, Little Red Book senior fashion editor Lexus Marion spent the morning presenting paperwork and pulling clothes from different Athens boutiques. In her role with the magazine, Marion is in charge of contacting the boutiques and arranging the paperwork for the clothing pull.
“The LRB fashion committee is in charge of basically creating a spread for the magazine’s fashion spread. We go around downtown Athens and we pull clothes from local stores,” Marion said. “As the senior fashion editor, my job is to basically organize the whole event. I contact stores to get the okay that we can pull their clothes. I find models, I contact photographers, help set the date and the theme for the shoot.”
The paperwork is essential for the success of the clothing pull. The boutiques and senior editors from Little Red Book sign an agreement with the number of clothing pieces pulled and the value of each item taken. Little Red Book can usually only take a maximum of 20 items from each store and must return those clothing items within 48 hours. For the upcoming issue “Flash Forward,” Little Red Book was able to pull $439 worth of merchandise from the boutique Pitaya and $534 worth of merchandise from the boutique Impeccable Pig for the winter/fall 2016 photo shoot. Marion said that the storeowners are okay with the organization pulling around $500 worth of clothes for each photo shoot because those stores see an increase in sales soon after the magazine release.
Little Red Book fashion editor Nikki Sarmer is also an employee at Red Dress Boutique, one of the downtown Athens boutiques. She said that, in the store, she sees those increases in sales firsthand.
“Because Little Red Book is the only student-run fashion magazine on campus, it’s really awesome for us to be able to work so closely with all of the different boutiques downtown,” Sarmer said. “It really gives them a specific spotlight because, not only do we feature them, we also basically give our readers an entire play by play of where they can find the outfits, how they can get them, and how much they were.”
While neither Pitaya nor Red Dress boutique could provide a specific amount of their sales increase, employees of the stores confirm that they do see a change in sales following the magazine release.
Fryer said that the magazine’s popularity is growing every year and that the organization expects the upcoming issue of Little Red Book to be the most popular issue to date. The issue “Flash Forward” will feature clothing from Red Dress Boutique, Pitaya, Impeccable Pig, and fab’rik.
Little Red Book’s fall/winter 2016 issue “Flash Forward” will be available at the beginning of December.