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DNR RIP, men's fashion trade paper dead at 116

November 24, 2008 |  5:58 pm

Rage_dnrlogoDNR, the weekly trade paper known popularly as "the bible of the menswear industry" and longtime resident of New York City, died today. The exact cause of death has not been given, though a faltering economy is the most likely suspect and parental neglect may have been a contributing factor given that the news was announced in a press release titled: "WWD AND WWD.COM TO LAUNCH MEN'S FASHION COVERAGE," referring to the fellow Fairchild publication that will be adding "comprehensive, round-the-clock men's coverage" while burying the news that the august 116-year-old paper, whose bones were being unceremoniously kicked to the curb, was actually the publication that launched the Fairchild publishing empire.

Born as the Daily Trade Record on March 29, 1892, it was fathered by Edmund Fairchild, who purchased a menswear focused paper called the Chicago Herald Gazette, which he distributed at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Known by varying names throughout its life, including the Daily News Record, later shortened to just DNR (to de-emphasize that the once daily publication had been decreased to just three times a week and then eventually once a week). Women's Wear Daily, which began as a once-a-week page in DNR, was spun off as a standalone in 1919.

So perhaps, then, it's only fitting that WWD swallows what's left of DNR's DNA. According to the press release: "In addition to daily men's coverage in print and online, WWD will publish in-depth WWD Men's reports every Thursday beginning in January."

But the  demise of DNR is more personal to me. Before joining the Los Angeles Times Image section, it's where I cut my teeth on the style beat as West Coast editor -- learning why someone would use the word "apparel" instead of "clothing" or why a "button-down" shirt is not the same as a "button front" one; things that are now second nature to me.

DNR always felt like the red-headed stepchild of the Fairchild family during my tenure there, yet the editors always managed to dig a trench with a teaspoon. Along the way, it was a launch pad -- and a way station -- for a cadre of writers, critics and editors on their way elsewhere, including the late Amy Spindler, who went on to become fashion critic at the New York Times (and later style editor of its magazine) and Richard Buckley, who was DNR's European editor before becoming editor in chief of Vogue Hommes International in 1999, a post he held until 2005.

When I first took the job at DNR, I wisecracked that if I got hit by the milk truck, someone pulling  out my business card might think it stood for "Do Not Resuscitate."

Unfortunately, today that's exactly what it means.

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