There are now three magazine titles published in the UK aimed at the plus-size market, all are available online which is probably the only feasible way to do so successfully nowadays. A few years ago there was a US magazine called MODE (This was in the days before Ugly Betty) which was a wonderful, properly glossy treat that was available on import and which was filled with wonderful empowering images of beautifully styled clothes that were completely unavailable in the UK.
These days the only time that you will see a larger sized model in one of the high fashion mags is in one of the increasingly popular novelty issues: Elle, V and Marie-Claire have all tokenistically featured "size" or "body" issues which might feature Beth Ditto on one page and Kate Moss on the next accompanined by copy asking befuddled readers to compare and contrast standards of beauty, rather than just pointing them in the direction of something nice to buy, which is supposed to be the whole point of these things.
So what I want from a magazine is just some ideas for something nice to buy, recommendations of retailers I don't yet know, styling ideas I might want to copy and a wee chance to loose myself in escapist consumerism for an hour or so.
So to the first and so far as I'm aware the oldest of the three contenders Just As Beautiful Magazine which is the only one that charges for download £2.50 or it can also be ordered in hard copy for £4.75 per issue. It describes itself as the "UK's No.1 Lifestyle Magazine for Curvy Women" and features cover interviews with celebs like Ruth Jones and celeb chef Paul Rankin.
This magazine is improving all the time and I do like its ambition to sell print copies in newsagents. However it suffers from a somewhat pedestrian layout and there is an ongoing obsession with plus-size beauty contests which can dominate the editorial copy.
The second choice is Evolve Magazine which for me has a slightly more modern, urban feel; however its very first fashion layout turns out to be a sexy lingerie special which is a bit disheartening- you get a lot of sexy lingerie in plus sized fashion which can border on the fetishistic and which perhaps more to the point would just not happen in the same way in Glamour or Marie-Claire, mags with which these should be competing for readers. Again the layout could do with a bit of glamming up but these are niggles and I would happily continue to download and read this every month as the editorial content is fairly strong.
The final magazine is the most exciting; it is called Slink and has just published its first online edition. I like it for the simple reason it is most like a fashion mag, a mixture of designer and high street stuff and with layouts that are at least in the same orbit as Grazia, see pic below
I was particularly drawn to the layouts on pages 19-22 which are colourful, beautifully composed shopping suggestions for summer trends. I'd simply never seen this done in a publication aimed at the plus size market before and it truly lifted my heart to see something so lovely. The editorial team may be interested to know this approach worked for me already as I've pursued a couple of items featured which I'm now intending to buy
I definitely recommend tracking down all three of these mags, esp the two which are free. Also they have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds which I think will mean they are responsive to their intended readership and hopefully they will feed off the incredible energy in the "fatshionista" community.