Ones to Watch: Franc

Business, Ones to Watch | Fri 4 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Briony Somers

In our Ones to Watch section, we highlight some of the top movers and shakers in Ireland. This week we feature Franc.

What is it?

FRANC is a new fashion philosophy that began with reimagining what the fashion magazine could be in the age of the internet. With luxury no longer about exclusivity and hierarchy but community and culture, the print publication was designed to be a space for considered specialist content that is an antidote to the fast paced content-light environment of the internet. The book-sized publication houses the work of contributors who are a mix of writers, photographers, academics, activists and members of the FRANC community with backgrounds as diverse as Vogue, I-D, Simone Rocha, Lanvin, Trinity College, The Repeal Project, The Financial Times and The British Council.

Each issue contains specially commissioned and highly edited essays and photography based around a series of evolving themes, each chosen to explore our emotional experience of clothes and the world that produces them. The timeless edition is launched with a live event where a contribution is given with speakers including Anna Cosgrave, Joe Caslin and Sinéad Burke.

2018 saw the launch of the brand’s digital wing with e-commerce, the podcast Francly and its online publishing destination Francness, all at francmagazine.com.

Who’s behind it?

The publication began as a college project by history and political science students Briony Somers and Lauren Henshaw in 2014. With the first issue of the publication selling out in two weeks and gaining support from the industry the project quickly grew beyond Trinity College. Issue two saw graphic designer and Sunday Books proprietor Paul Guinan execute a redesign giving it its current aesthetic.

Following issue two Henshaw left Dublin and Somers, a model who’d worked with clients such as Simone Rocha and Perry Ogden, started developing the project into a business. In the final year of her degree, while focusing her historical research on 20th century fashion publishing, Somers secured funding through Trinity College’s accelerator programme. Following the programme Somers has been expanding the team currently working with Courtney Byrne as digital editor and Ciara Forristal as assistant publisher.

How is it funded?

FRANC has generated revenue since its inception with American Apparel its first advertising client and a stable of international and domestic stockists. Focusing efforts on business development over the past year FRANC has received funding from Trinity, through its accelerator programme, and Bank of Ireland.

Future plans?

Having gained notoriety from the Irish Times, and image.ie, as well as being stocked in the UK’s most prestigious magazine stores, FRANC is currently focused on developing its community to expand its reach in Ireland and the UK. Recent investments in its operational development and brand strategy have been made to serve the growth of the brand’s digital wing as both a publishing and an e-commerce destination. Spring/Summer 2019 will see the launch of the 5th issue of the print publication. The brand’s mission is to execute its new fashion philosophy across a number of verticals ultimately redefining what the modern luxury fashion brand can be.