February 15, 1995

Fashion Mag Hoping To Hit Right Frequency

Mary Gottschalk San Jose Mercury News
 

Heads up, Vogue, Bazaar, Elle and Details - you’re about to get some competition.

UHF, which stands for Ultra High Frequency, is a new quarterly fashion magazine that just hit the racks with expectations of going bimonthly in a year.

UHF has an edge that is likely to make older consumers uneasy. Based in Los Angeles, it is aimed at a national market of “people in their teens and 20s who want to know what’s going on and who care about how they dress, how their peers dress and how musicians dress,” says thirtysomething publisher Scott Becker.

Cover model Gabriel is part of an inside spread on Latin looks titled “Salsa Caliente.”

UHF “It’s retro, sort of techno and it sounds good” - is a spinoff from Becker’s 10-year-old alternative music publication, Option. The first two issues of UHF were tucked inside Option, but now it’s on its own.

Becker views established fashion magazines, from Vogue to GQ, as “monolithic” and filled with “big designers, expensive merchandise and having nothing to do with what’s going on in the streets, the clubs and the skate ramps where kids congregate.

“They are very aware of what they wear, even if they deny it, and there needs to be a fashion magazine reflecting that. We shy away from the word fashion. We try to use style because it’s a whole approach to life and lifestyle.”

From early distribution at Urban Outfitters stores across the country, Becker has already received attention for the price levels of the clothing featured in UHF fashion layouts.

“We try not to put a dollar value on fashions, but affordability is an issue for us,” he says.

“If you talk to editors at fashion magazines, they’ll tell you they’re giving readers fantasy. That’s OK, but we’re trying to give readers reality. We want most of the readers to be able to afford the clothes.”

In one of three multi-page fashion layouts, the clothes are a mix of Nike, North Face and Levi’s 501 labels alongside items found in vintage clothing stores as well as the $9.99 & Under store.

“A lot of our readers’ favorite stores are thrift stores, so we show those kinds of clothes,” Becker says. “I’m not afraid of offending advertisers; I want to take care of the readers first.”

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