’Boys have always loved clothes. For them it is an aspirational
thing, a kind of one-upmanship,’ says Beth Summers, editor of Loaded’s
new fashion spin-off, Loaded Fashion.
Summers, who has been Loaded’s fashion editor since the title was
launched in 1994, says she spotted the opportunity for a solid,
non-elitist men’s fashion title some years ago.
’It was a question of getting the timing right. One or two years ago it
might not have worked, but the high street menswear market is expanding
rapidly, and men now have a lot more freedom when it comes to buying
The idea behind the biannual title is to produce a magazine with a broad
appeal with an emphasis on mainly British fashion. The first issue hit
the newsstands on 26 August, only four months after IPC set the
project’s wheels in motion. Working against the clock with an art
director and a few contributors, Summers was single-minded about what
she wanted to produce.
’I wouldn’t like it to be referred to as a ’lifestyle’ magazine, but I
wanted to show that fashion can be broader than people think, and that
it can make an interesting read,’ she says.
With Loaded Fashion, Summers says she wants to establish a separate
identity by toning down the ’laddish’ slant and adding an element of
’I want it to be humourous without being anal, to get away from bare
breasts and to attract a broad range of people, young and old, without
singling out a particular type of reader,’ she says.
Summers suspects that, as a woman and a single mother working with a
team of ’young lads’, her reputation is a bit of a mixed bag. ’I joined
Loaded when it was just beginning, and I had already been around the
industry for a long time. I would probably be described as
single-minded, and it has certainly taken a lot of stamping of feet to
get this magazine off the ground,’ she says.
Before joining Loaded, Summers had taken two years’ maternity leave
after studying fine arts and working as fashion editor for iD
With just two issues a year, she feels she can afford to be
’I would rather have two brilliant issues than four not-so-brilliant
ones, and am quite determined to re-shoot and turn copy down until I get
what I want.’
She says the next issue may be larger than the first edition’s 162 pages
but, preferring to work hands-on with a small team, she plans to rely on
freelancers rather than recruit any more permanent members of staff.
The first issue was launched with the help of an extensive press
campaign, and Summers is now waiting for the public’s response before
she decides how the next issue is going to look. If the magazine can
achieve a quarter of Loaded’s half-million sales, she says she will be
In the meantime, Summers says she is open to suggestions as far as the
editorial content is concerned, and would welcome approaches from PR
’We are on completely unknown territory, and I will look at any ideas as
long as they are slightly different, have an emphasis on humour and
fashion, and have a six-month appeal - but I do not want the magazine
itself to become a promotional tool.’
1986 - Fashion editor, iD
1994 - Fashion editor, Loaded
1998 - Editor, Loaded Fashion.