A Changing Landscape

Some changes are afoot as we see out 2018 at Riddle

Dear Reader,

The changing times and the evolving nature of the internet has made it ever more difficult for high-quality journalism outlets to secure income. We have decided to add a donate button to our site. At Riddle, we want to keep our coverage open to as many people as possible who value quality, manufacturing integrity and fun journalism.

With a monthly unique readership of 125,000 and a close on 50:50 male to female split readership we have cross demographic and international reach. We want to keep our journalism rigorous, objective and precise to allow the brands we cover to show themselves off to best advantage and give you, the reader, the best advice and options. Riddle will always be open, honest and declare any interests or gifts – and in a lifestyle arena that can be full of smoke and mirrors, we hope that you agree and that that’s worth supporting.

This month, to round off the year we have now introduced our Shop page. Having dealt with numerous fun, dedicated and high quality brands in many differing arenas over Riddle’s life, we thought the time had come to offer a small, quirkly curated selection of goods from some of those firms. Some are well known in this country, some we know have dedicated followings abroad but are more under the radar here – and we think that’s a bit of a shame. I hope the page gives food for thought for seasonal or celebratory gifts – or just a little treat for oneself; gin scented candle anyone…?

And so 2018 comes to an end…… For many of us a well-earnt break beckons – before the lunacy starts again in the New Year. This year has seen substantial change in the lifestyle media industry, even the CEO of Conde Nast has spoken of his desire to completely re-pivot the company into the tech and digital sphere rather than continue as a publisher as well as radically cull its dependence on advertising revenue.

The year has seen certain long-term media arena concerns come and hit home – though the pieces are now up in the air and we don’t yet know how they will fall. 2018 has seen the widespread acceptance of the digital future though we are now faced with both the realisation at the over-dominant monopolies of Google and Facebook and the ever-increasing debate and concern about the societal and psychological impact of social media. How do British brands navigate the increasingly choppy digital waters whilst retaining their unique identity and, in a wider discussion, perhaps play their small part in the human debate as to how do we relate to and interact with technology moving on. After all, for many of the incredible firms we look at, the timeless nature of sewing cloth, shaving umbrella ferules or cutting leather couldn’t be further away from the AI enhanced future may predict.

Despite the tech and the current visual focused nature of media, I saw welcome signs throughout the year that both consumers and brands themselves retain the interest and curiosity for reading, understanding and talking about their craft arena, style and elegance. Only so much can be communicated via hashtag; respect for the artisanship, raw materials, brand’s story and ultimately the consumer making that purchase needs the traditional journalist to tell it but there remains more to do by lifestyle journalists in driving that conversation and engagement online, working out how the story can best be promulgated and engaged with in the environment most people use to communicate.

The emerging shift away from fast fashion in favour of considered purchases has continued; though this has been talked about for years, I sense 2018 marks another small step change in this. Though Riddle’s focus is on the smaller craft brands, both heritage and new, I would say this trend is finally being taken seriously by some bigger fashion players who have the muscle and voice to drive it forward. There remain serious problems, Burberry’s now notorious stock burning in 2017 – which hit the news only this summer – probably marks the tip of an iceberg where economies of scale at the luxury end of the market alongside a desperate need to protect that “luxury” nature of the label sit poorly together. I am sure similar stories will still be arising in 2025, there is no easy change there. At the mass market end of the spectrum, the recent parliamentary enquiry in fashion sustainability has raised the unsettling question once again of just how polluting the industry is.

It only remains now as we leave 2018 for me to thank, once again, the dedicated and good-natured writers and contributors who make Riddle magazine what it is. It would not exist without them, they are its pulsing heart. They have much to put up with given a somewhat crazy editor at the helm yet each month I remain impressed and humbled at the quality and variety of writing submitted to me. Along with you the readers, I thank them all.

Best wishes for a relaxing break and a needed re-charge over this month and I look forward to taking on 2019 with you.

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