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Building Metropolis

By March 21, 2019Publisher Spotlight

A guest post from March Publisher of the Month, Man of Metropolis.

It has been nearly 4 years since Founder, Creative Director, and Editor-in-Chief Seth Travis set out to build his Metropolis with a men’s magazine named MAN OF METROPOLIS. He took some time to share his adventures from getting started, to surprising challenges, and ways he adapted to the landscape of fashion and magazines in the digital age. Let’s take a look at Seth’s journey from his first days as a new editor to where he has taken the magazine today. If you want to watch a real evolution of an idea than stick with us; this is Building Metropolis.

FALL 2015

PROOF OF CONCEPT

In 2014 I picked up a camera and started to shoot a few models. By 2015 I decided I wanted to evolve my blog into a men’s fashion magazine. The proof of concept was a cover story with me, hey I had to start somewhere. {laughs} I shot all the stories on the inside and worked with a designer friend on layout. It was very much the spark of an idea. I had not fully realized the magnitude of creating a magazine.

SPRING 2016

ISSUE 1

On Christmas eve I tweeted Cullen Jones that I was starting a magazine, and he should be on the cover. He tweeted back and in early January I was on the phone with CAA pitching the idea. I learned a lot about content, and booking shoots. We were onto something here and I liked creating something that I wanted to read myself.

FALL 2016

THE OVERNIGHT REBRAND

I met a really great art director and told him I was looking for a permanent logo. We spent all summer on it, and the day we revealed it, got a cease and desist letter from a publishing house saying they “owned” the letter M for a men’s fashion magazine, so we spent the entire next weekend developing a replacement. It wasn’t ideal and I was frustrated, but we had to move fast as we had invested a lot of time and money on the fashion story and film featuring model Chad White.

FALL 2016 — SUMMER 2017

FINDING OUR READER

After almost a full year on this journey, we found our stride so to speak. We were pulling in some celebrity talent, seasoned creative contributors and brands like Ralph Lauren were giving us access to showrooms for pulls, like our cover story with actor Luke Bracey.

FALL 2017

INSPIRED BY THE PAST

I grew up in a lot of small college towns across the country, 16 states in all. I really liked the nostalgia of a campus story in Autumn — a great opportunity for a fashion story too. Brands like Abercrombie & Fitch showcased these types of images in their famous Quarterly magazines and once you have made it through college let’s face it looking back is always fun. We decided to make the title of the story the focus rather than our logo in this issue.

FALL 2017

CREATING A COHESIVE ISSUE

Still to this day one of my proudest issues, with model Oil Lacey shot by Bell Soto. I think any editor or creative director wants their work in a magazine to feel cohesive cover to cover and this was an instance where everything from each contributor really connected with the theme for the issue, and the colors page after page just blend in a really nice way.

WINTER 2017

FEATURING WOMEN

We had worked with celebrity photographer John Russo several times and had the opportunity to feature actress Brittany Snow for our Winter / December Holiday Issue in 2017. It was a great feature and Brittany was terrific to interview and shoot.

WINTER 2017/2018

LANDING OUR BIGGEST NAMES

Anyone in marketing knows to reach more people you need a buzz. That also means the content or stories have to be relevant. We were able to shoot and interview Gregg Sulkin ahead of his new HULU show by Marvel, Edgar Ramirez who was starring in the new FX crime story about the murder of Versace, and America’s Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy. These stories did extremely well for us both on Issuu and across social. Our web traffic and followers went through the roof.

SUMMER 2018

BRAND REFRESH

We had a good lay of the land creating over 2 years of content but also knew that fashion was changing. Instagram was dictating how people dressed, how they shopped, and brands were responding to faster capsule collections and more youthful street style campaigns. We brought in art director John Kunichika to work with us on a new Brand Identity and look and feel of our layout. We knew that color, high fashion, and relevant fashion stories were the key to a successful re-launch.

FALL 2018

EXPLORING CREATIVE COVER CONCEPTS

When it is your passion project, it is fun to make the rules and break them from time to time. I have always admired illustrators like Donald Robertson and I wanted to find a fresh way to create a high fashion story with a talented illustrator. We connected with artist Ben Chmura to concept and illustrate several nods to the past, present, and future of fashion. This is one of my favorite covers we have done because we did something unexpected and the fashion knowledge Ben shared during this process was really fascinating.

FALL 2018

A CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE

There are a lot of magazines and e-zines, Instagram accounts and fashion blogs. So how do we separate ourselves? Easy, tell an epic fashion story with heart, high fashion, and on a budget. Menelik Puryear, Javon Drake, and J.R. Saint took us on a cinematic journey in LOST AT SEA for our Fall 2018 Fashion Issue.

2018-2019

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

We recognize the power of Instagram and digital as a whole. So we wanted to open up online exclusive opportunities for more of our teams. We have put out a handful of Exclusive stories since last summer that allow us to keep providing valuable fashion content to our fans through a new issue while promoting those stories on Instagram.

2019

REINFORCING DIVERSITY

I have been working with several casting agents and directly with agencies over the last 2 years to lean into more diverse casting and storytelling. This doesn’t just mean race, it means age, body type, and attitude. We worked with up and coming photographer Leo Chang on THE NEXT NINE, with casting director Kevin Chung, and I rolled up my sleeves and styled this one too.

SPRING 2019

AMERICA’S FASHION MAGAZINE FOR MEN

I knew we were going to change our logo far earlier than we did. Things take time and we take big steps and leaps towards our next milestone with every issue. I knew I wanted MAN OF METROPOLIS to have a real place in the fashion world. I know we work with exceptional talent and with the right fine-tuning we could be America’s Fashion Magazine For Men. In our Spring 2019 issue, we featured nearly every top fashion brand’s collection including nearly 40 male models across 170 pages. Our eyes are up and our goals are in sight.

Looking for more exclusive Man of Metropolis content? Follow us on social for a Man of Metropolis Instagram Takeover later this month!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Bruce Whitehair says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Seth. It’s a great story, and a wonderful learning opportunity for future entrepreneurs. I’ve had fun watching your growth and maturation!

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