Making Mama Proud

V magazine gave birth to a baby boy back in the fall of 2003. And one can see a lot of his mother in him – her style, her grace, her glamour. But he’s also turning into quite the man, and one day, he’ll make his mom very proud.

            VMAN isn’t finished growing yet, but the seeds that have been planted are strong. Unfortunately, coming out only twice a year and being only four years old, the magazine has not solidified a readership yet. Even a quick scour through the Internet hints at little acknowledgement of the magazine’s existence.

            The fall/winter 2007 issue – VMAN’s ninth – has a double-cover. On one side is Tom Brady, and on the other is a male supermodel piece. This move is pure genius – VMAN is like the bisexual version of a fashion magazine. Straight guys can turn to Tom Brady and feel masculine doing so because of his sportsman status, while gay readers can jump right in to the “Full-On Fall Fashion” promoted on the other side. Or they could look at Tom Brady. It’s a tough choice.

            The main article of the fall/winter issue is the “15 Most Wanted,” a listing of the newest generation of “it” men. These guys include pretty much every genre of celebrity, from actor to athlete to dancer. Whereas most established magazines stay inside the lines and make picks like George Clooney or Johnny Depp when they form style lists, VMAN’s young stature allows it to be edgy and different by choosing less famous men.

            Creative typefaces and stunning photography further separate VMAN from other men’s magazines. The photographs are made up of mostly facial or torso shots. With the larger-than-normal page size, these pictures seem almost lifelike and piercing. The typefaces used in the headlines are thin and classy, with subtle use of red and white when the occasion allows for it.

            One of the most fantastic photo/article spreads, “Face Off,” has faces that are literally two blended into one, with one man’s face split down the middle and paired next to another man’s. The idea is to contrast different kinds of skin – tan and olive, smooth and scruffy – and promote the best products for each skin type. Flip the page, and the same thing is done with hair. It’s an interesting way to do what the competition does, only better and more creatively.

            All-black pages are another edgy tool used by VMAN. Though most of the 256-page magazine uses extreme white space to its advantage, every so often VMAN will use a black-paged spread in a way that more mainstream men’s magazine wouldn’t dare. In fact, black, white, and red dominate the magazine in a refreshing absence from the cluttered world of magazine design today. Many magazines have recently increased the use of color, crowding what little white space is left, and loading information onto their covers. It’s nice to have a simple design that can still be hip and chic.

            All I have to say to the iconic V magazine is: Mama did well. V-Man is solidifying a place in the world of men’s fashion magazines. And, hopefully, time will bring the publication further success.

– Brandon Miller

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