Lindsay Peoples Wagner. Courtesy.
Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief of more than two years, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, has been named editor of New York Magazine’s The Cut, its women’s and fashion-focused vertical, the publication confirmed.
Peoples Wagner said in an interview that she looks forward to “flexing the muscles that I haven’t at Teen Vogue.”
The new position further establishes Peoples Wagner as a young leader among a new cohort of editors-in-chief who came of age when print media was already declining. Many of her peers, who climbed mastheads quickly over the last decade, have since left media altogether, seeking more freedom, better pay and some respite from the constant pivots of legacy media. Marie Claire’s new editor Aya Kanai was hired by Pinterest last year, for example. Peoples Wagner’s predecessors at Teen Vogue, Phillip Picardi and Elaine Welteroth, have moved onto podcast, television and book projects.
This is not Peoples Wagner’s first time at The Cut. She was the title’s fashion market editor before leaving for the top role at Condé Nast’s Teen Vogue in 2018, shortly after her article on “What it’s really like to be Black and work in fashion” drew acclaim. At Condé Nast, where she was the youngest editor-in-chief in the building, she continued to address race and politics through the lens of fashion and beauty, agitating for progress in the fashion business.
“The Cut has been synonymous.. with the feminist movement and ideals, and I think challenging what does that mean now, what does that mean for Black Lives Matter, what does it mean for social issues and starting those conversations over — I’m really looking forward to that,” Peoples Wagner said.
In June, she and publicist Sandrine Charles co-founded the Black in Fashion Council, an organisation to support Black designers and professionals and create set benchmarks with brands and fashion businesses. Capri Holdings, IMG Models, PVH and L’Oréal are among the dozens of companies that have pledged to work with the council, as well as Condé Nast.
The publisher of Vogue, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair has been dealing with workplace complaints about pay discrimination and inequality that grew in intensity this summer after the killing of George Floyd. In an article published by The New York Times in October that described how Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (and now Condé Nast’s chief content officer) contributed to creating a workplace that sidelined women of colour, Peoples Wagner said Wintour had “given me opportunities in leadership, and I’ve made inclusivity a deep part of the conversations we’re having.”
At Teen Vogue, Peoples Wagner brought more of a focus on fashion after years of a predominately political and activistic approach under its former editors. But the digital publication’s progressive political beat remained, as did a candid approach to sex and relationships. Peoples Wagner prioritised the magazine’s commitment to profiling and hiring a wider range of subjects and creatives. Recent digital covers have featured Black trans models Jari Jones and Munroe Bergdorf, rapper Tierra Whack and singer Normani.
Peoples Wagner also expanded the annual Teen Vogue Summit, which has featured interviews with Selena Gomez and Issa Rae and set up an initiative to support emerging designers who are diverse and inclusive in their work, called Generation Next.
At The Cut, Peoples Wagner succeeds Stella Bugbee, the section’s former senior vice president and editor-in-chief since 2012, who in October said she would transition to an editor-at-large role and develop a podcast for the magazine, among other special projects. Under Bugbee, The Cut expanded beyond its fashion blog roots into a wide-ranging women’s publication with a particular focus on politics and careers, while keeping its signature, sarcastic voice. Revenue comes from a combination of advertising, e-commerce affiliate marketing and branded content. Monthly traffic grew from 2.2 million in 2012 to 14 million in June 2020. Fashion journalist Cathy Horyn joined as critic at large in 2015.
Bugbee’s successor could have taken The Cut even further away from fashion, but Peoples Wagner’s appointment signals the magazine will keep or expand its style coverage. New York Magazine was acquired by digital media company Vox in 2019, and The Cut is the main title through which the company can directly court luxury advertisers, putting more weight on Peoples Wagner’s fashion credentials and relationships.
“The way that we talk about how we decide to get dressed and what it means to be a good shopper and what brands we support and how the future of fashion is going to come to life is really important to me,” she said. “And those are going to be conversations that are just as important as everything else on the site.”
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