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FLARE’s New Leader Cameron Williamson Plans to Take the Brand into the Future with Digital Offerings

This September, Canadian fashion powerhouse FLARE will be celebrating 35 years of providing cutting-edge coverage to Canada’s style-minded. The glossy launched in 1979 as Canada’s first consumer fashion publication, and stands out today as one of the top destinations for the latest in fashion, beauty, and design.

As with most dynasty publications, FLARE has been navigating its place in the digital market with moves to tablet and forthcoming mobile versions, and a wildly successful website FLARE.com. Another strategic move was adding leading fashion editor Cameron Williamson to the masthead earlier this year as editor in chief.

Williamson was most recently with The Globe and Mail as a freelance project editor, and is best known for his role as editor in chief of Glow magazine. He has worked with top fashion publications in Canada, including Chatelaine and Toro Magazine. His eye for detail and dedication to his readers has allowed him to push content to new creative heights since his arrival. Not to mention his enthusiasm for the position, “I’ve wanted to get my hands on FLARE for years; it’s a part of the country’s history.”

Williamson hit the ground running from day one and in his words his life for the past five months “has been nothing but work, work, and work.” In between meetings with staff and advertisers in preparation for issue production, and developing strategy for making content accessible to a wider audience, Williamson has worked with the creative and editorial staff to achieve a comprehensive understanding of digital publishing from SEO to web analytics. Looking forward into the future he predicts a rich digital brand to compliment the esteemed print.

As a Canadian publication covering an industry as global as fashion, he notes the importance of including homegrown talent and brands, and keeping the publication Canadian at heart. “Although our readers want to know what’s going on in the entire world of style, they are proud of their country and want to see homegrown talent and locally-sourced products in our pages.”

And it shows. Coverage of Canadian events, celebrities, and designers are intermixed with international icons and style reporting “What I’ve tried to do at every title I’ve worked at is differentiate, creating something uniquely Canadian that doesn’t just mimic what’s being done south of the border or overseas.”

As for other big name fashion publications, “There’s no point trying to compete with international magazines, people are going to buy them regardless (I certainly do), but what we can offer our readers is a publication that speaks to Canadian fashion and beauty lovers in a smart and engaging manner, with the right mix of aspiration and reality, not to mention a little dry humour, a uniquely Canuck trait.”

Competition on a national level however, is another thing. FLARE is not only Canada’s oldest publication, but it remains among the top at the newsstands thanks to a readership of more than 1.3 million inspired readers every month. “Locally we have two main competitors and we all reach a similar target audience. I’m looking to quickly differentiate whom we are targeting.” By fostering the same creative coverage as a digital supplement, the magazine is well on its way to having a robust daily readership as well.

“My long-term goal is to get everyone as excited about the website, the tablet edition and the upcoming smartphone edition as they are about print.” And who doesn’t love to read fashion on the go? Although pouring through the rich pages of a fashion editorial you have been waiting weeks to see has its own special place, escapism on the go can be particularly satisfying.

“Knowing that I’m charged with leading Canada’s very first consumer fashion publication into the future is beyond thrilling.”

Pitching Tips

“It would be nice if freelancers did some homework before pitching a story—ensuring that we haven’t already covered the idea, and also being as specific as possible in terms of why FLARE should be covering this topic at this time. And on a more basic level, you don’t know how many times I’ve gotten an email that says ‘Dear Ms. Williamson.’ Do your research! I’m a dude.”

 

Photo credit: Miguel Jacob

 

To reach even more relevant fashion and beauty journalists like Cameron Williamson just in time for Fashion Week, be sure to download Cision’s free Fashion & Beauty Pitching Kit today!

 

 

About Laura Botham

Laura Botham writes features covering the movers and shakers in the media industry, daily updates, and Top 10 lists. She is a media researcher at Cision, specializing in Internet media. She is a freelance artist, enjoys traveling, the mountains, and can always make time for a cute animal video.

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