Veteran fashion journalist Lauren Sherman has joined Puck, where she will write a newsletter about the fashion industry, beginning April 10. Sherman’s Line Sheet will initially come out once a week (on Mondays), but will eventually ramp up to twice weekly (adding Thursdays).
Sherman joins Puck after a long stint at Business of Fashion, which she exited last December. She first began discussions with Puck editor-in-chief and cofounder Jon Kelly about eight months ago. Sherman is also writing a book about Victoria’s Secret with Chantal Fernandez, due out early next year (Henry Holt & Company). Her Puck newsletter will include one big story plus additional shorter briefs and links to essential industry reading.
“If you look at lists of the richest people in the world, from [Inditex owner Amancio Ortega] to the Arnaults [LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton] to the Pinaults [Kering], tons of them are fashion moguls and very little has been written about these people,” Sherman said.
Indeed, the $1.5 trillion global fashion market, with its outsize personalities and eye-popping valuations, is a natural extension for Puck, contended Kelly.
“I had always imagined that [fashion] was going to be a growth area for Puck,” Kelly told WWD. “We’ve seen, after the COVID[-19] era, the rise and fall of some of the biggest brands in the business. With all of our coverage areas, we want to focus on the inner strategies, anxieties and turmoil of the people who push the industry forward and to be unbeholden to any other obligation.”
Puck content is led by individual journalists — Matt Belloni (Hollywood), William D. Cohan (Wall Street), Julia Ioffe (Washington), Dylan Byers (Media) — whose dispatches are distributed to subscribers via “private emails” as Kelly put it. Writers are paid a base salary and get an ownership stake in the media startup, which launched in 2021. They also receive bonus compensation tied to the number of email subscribers they bring in. For example, for every additional 1,000 subscribers over a certain threshold, they receive $10,000.
Puck’s editorial mantra is “the story behind the story” from “generationally talented” journalists who are “domain experts,” said Kelly.
Sherman said she was drawn to Puck for its incisive writing and start-up ethos. “I want to work at places that are delivering value to the reader and are worth the reader’s time and money. And I’ve always loved working at early-stage start-ups.”
Before her tenure at Business of Fashion, Sherman had stints at Fashionista and Lucky. She has also written about fashion for numerous legacy publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter.
Sherman will not be critiquing collections at Line Sheet, but rather exploring the behind-the-scenes machinations of an industry that has tentacles in myriad thorny issues of the moment including sustainability, climate impact and issues of class and race. Musing about stories Line Sheet subscribers might find in her newsletter, Sherman mentioned what she described as Tiffany’s underwhelming collaboration with Nike and the Vogue Runway app, which has endured technical difficulties.
“I love building things and from the day Puck launched, I really admired it. I thought, oh, I could do that for fashion. I’m the right person for it,” she said.
The media industry has weathered the demise and diminishment of numerous legacy brands, while digital distribution platforms have given rise to a new generation of newsletter stars who cater to niche audiences. A basic Puck subscription is $100 annually. There are also podcasts and an Inner Circle subscription tier (for $250 a year) that includes off-the-record conference calls with Puck writers.
Puck’s target audiences are the people Puck writers are writing about; captains of industry and C-suite habitues. And the writing strives not so much for fly-on-the-wall as seat-at-the-boardroom-table. A one-sheet boasts that “approximately 25 percent of Puck’s subscriber base are C-suite or government officials.”
Kelly declined to offer specifics about Puck’s financials, though he did allow that “entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.” He characterized Puck’s revenue pie as “aggressively subscription-driven with a growing ad-supported business.” A newsletter about the fashion industry, which spends more than $500 billion annually on advertising, could unlock additional ad dollars. Despite the severe economic headwinds bearing down on the industry, Kelly is “bullish” on the future of media.
“I think we’re all looking for new business models that make media more sustainable and profitable,” added Kelly.