What Is a Magazine Now?

“To be perfectly honest with you, I needed a few Americans to tell me what it means to win this award,” said David Fischer, the founder of the company Highsnobiety.

Mr. Fischer was sitting in an airport in Spain, wearing a denim jacket and a designer baseball cap. About 10 days earlier, in New York City, Highsnobiety won a National Magazine Award for general excellence — its first nomination and win at the Oscars of the magazine world.

“I’m not a journalist by background, nor would I consider myself a great writer,” Mr. Fischer, 41, who lives in Berlin, said.

He started Highsnobiety as a sneaker blog in 2005. Today it is a website that covers fashion and youth culture broadly. It is also a clothing store and clothing line and, more lucratively, a creative consultancy and production agency. In other words, Highsnobiety writes about and recommends T-shirts, but it also makes its own T-shirts, sells and advertises other labels’ T-shirts, advises brands on how to market their T-shirts and throws big parties in honor of T-shirts.

But is Highsnobiety a media company? “It’s certainly not a clear yes,” Mr. Fischer said. “I was mostly interested in finding exciting new things and putting those things in front of the audience. And I suppose I was always excited about building a brand, more than anything.”

The magazine is printed twice a year. Its stories and images are frenetic, meant to speak to readers who are either young and cool or interested in being young and cool. The editor in chief is Willa Bennett, who ran social media at GQ magazine until 2022.

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