<i>STYLE 615</i> mag hopes to show Nashville’s fashion

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 1:43am

A Charlotte, N.C., company plans to launch a new magazine in Nashville next week.

Style Publications Inc., which publishes the recently launched Chattanooga Style magazine, will soon mail out more than 15,000 copies of the quarterly, 88-page STYLE 615 to high-income homes throughout the Middle Tennessee area, the magazine’s publisher, Connie Cathcart-Richardson, told The City Paper Tuesday. The official launch party is also next week.

“We’ve tried to fly under the radar so that we can surprise people,” Cathcart-Richardson said.

Start-up money for the magazine, outside of advertising, is coming entirely from out of town. Cathcart-Richardson said Style Publications has no local investors for the magazine, though the company is open to partnerships. Cathcart-Richardson was formerly a partner at Image Design advertising firm of Nashville, and is technically an employee of Style Publications.

STYLE 615 is directed toward women ages 23 to 53 with household incomes of more than $100,000 per year, according to the magazine’s media kit. Distribution deals with Anderson News and Ingram Distribution have been inked, which should allow STYLE 615 to be sold at area grocery and book stores, though agreements between the distributors and individual retailers are still in progress, Cathcart-Richardson said.

The initial print run will be 25,000 magazines, 60 percent of which will be mailed to targeted addresses with a subscription solicitation to grow reader base. The magazine will retail for $5.95 per issue, or $16.66 for a year’s subscription.

The magazine will be more fashion-oriented than the Chattanooga publication, Cathcart-Richardson said, as the Nashville market is already saturated with more general lifestyle mags aimed at the city’s wealthiest demographics. STYLE 615’s managing editor is Nikki Cary, writer of the local Web site MyFashionableFriend.com. Each magazine will include a several-page spread created by Robert Campbell of the Nashville Fashion Group, an association designed to serve the interests of local designers, models and boutique owners.

Cathcart-Richardson says she sees the magazine as a natural progression following the growth of the local fashion scene. The area is increasingly inhabited by designers and models seeking a higher quality of life than that of New York City or Los Angeles. Local boutiques are becoming more prevalent. And major labels including Louis Vuitton, Anne Klein and Anthropologie are finding homes in Green Hills.

At least one competitor in the market sees the new publication as less a reflection on the local fashion scene than an indication of the amount of outside business interest in the burgeoning Nashville economy. Stacie Standifer, publisher of the eight-year-old Nashville Lifestyles magazine, sees STYLE 615 as the latest in a line of lifestyle-oriented magazines funded by out-of-town investors to enter the Nashville market in the last year.

“I think Nashville, for the first time, is gaining recognition on a regional and even national basis,” Standifer said. “Most of them are coming from [economically] weaker areas. You don’t have magazines coming in here from Atlanta.”

Though Standifer said that any new magazine that enters the market aimed at Nashville’s wealthiest demographic is in some sense a competitor, she doesn’t believe STYLE 615 will be a threat to Nashville Lifestyles, based on her reading of Chattanooga Style.

“I would probably compare it more to a young women’s publication mixed with an Nfocus. There’s not a lot of meat to it,” she said.

But Cathcart-Richardson said she is confident STYLE 615 — with its local fashion industry partners and all-local contributors — will fill a unique niche in forwarding Nashville’s fashion scene and the interests of Middle Tennessee’s up-and-coming designers, models and photographers.

“I think we’re ready for this,” Cathcart-Richardson said. “Watching the scene begin to emerge and recognizing the talent and the quality of merchandise in the boutiques we have here — I just thought the time was right.”

Leaders of Style Publications could not be reached Tuesday, but the company’s Web site lists 34 urban markets — including Memphis, Charlotte, Ashville and Huntsville — as cities being considered for magazines.

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