In what might be a precursor for the industry, Buro has retrenched members of its editorial team
The homepage of Buro SG. Screen grab: buro247.sg
Warning: contains language that might be considered offensive
At the end of the first month of the Circuit Breaker, some members of the fashion/lifestyle media have expressed fear that when they do eventually get to go back to the office, they might not be able to return to a job. This might have been the case for a reported five editors of the Buro Singapore team.
According to Yahoo News this evening, “Indochine Media Ventures (IMV) has axed five out of seven employees at the digital fashion platform Buro Singapore”. This came just a week after the scandal at the editorial office of IMV’s Vogue Singapore, where its editor-in-chief posted on Instagram photos of himself and his team in what appeared to be a gathering without safe distancing, flouting an MOM requirement.
At the time of this writing, Buro’s website has not removed the list of its editorial staff. While it is reported that five among seven editors were retrenched, it would, in fact, constitute all their editors, as the other two have “contributing” roles, usually a freelance appointment. If IMV isn’t keeping any of those editors, is it possible, as the speculation emerges, that they might also end Buro?
Buro 24/7, mostly known as Buro, was launched in Russia in 2011 and in SG in 2015. They tout themselves as “a world-leading digital destination for the affluent millennial”, while the SG edition, is considered to be “your trusted advisors for all things luxury lifestyle”. Co-founded by “internationally famous” Russian media veteran Miroslava Duma, the e-mag is now in ten countries, including Kazakhstan and Croatia.
Buro’s ‘About’ page. Screen grab: buro247.sg
Ms Duma is reported to be a friend of IMV’s founder Michael von Schlippe. Both were colleagues in Moscow, where they were staff of Condé Nast Russia. According to Mr von Schlippe’s telling, he “stumbled up Buro 24/7” in 2014, called his former co-worker, and offered to expand the title to Asia. Ms Duma was by then a seasoned media professional, having worked at major fashion magazines: Harper’s Bazaar, Tatler, Forbes Woman, L’Officiel, and, Vogue. The pair-up was instantaneous. Five months later Buro was launched.
In the fashion world, particularly of luxury, Ms Duma is considered “a firm fixture on the fashion week circuit”. Despite her impressive standing, she is not free of discreditable deeds. It has been reported that in 2018, during Paris Couture Week, she and Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko (believed to be one of Kim Kardasian’s favourite couturières) shared a racial slur. Ms Sergeenko had sent a bouquet to her compatriot, with a note that read “Niggas in Paris”, also the title of a 2011 Kanye West and Jay Z song. Ms Dumas shared that note on Instagram Stories. Social media promptly stormed disapproval on the gaffe.
Not long after that incident, a video of Ms Duma making homophobic and transphobic comments against the Filipino blogger BryanBoy and the Bosnian-Australian model Andreja Pejic surfaced. In a Q&A session, she was asked what she thought of the two men wearing and modelling women’s clothes. She replied in Russian, “Honestly, I dislike that. Because somewhere, on TV or in a magazine, a little boy could see it and that boy wouldn’t understand it correctly, wouldn’t react correctly. And I think a certain kind of censorship and refined culture is needed here.” Two months later, she exited Buro 24/7, selling her stake in the company she co-founded.
On the homepage of the current issue of Buro SG, there are no discernible ads. The top banner space is a link to their YouTube channel. Industry folks we spoke to isn’t surprised. Rather, they felt sorry for the editors told to leave, especially the fashion editor, who departed Cleo SG to join them in April, just as the Circuit Breaker was implemented. That Buro would close is now on many lips. One PR professional told us via FaceTime that it “started with some fanfare, but has not made a mark in the scene here, so it won’t be missed.”
Note: SOTD does not tolerate nor condone the use of racial slurs.
Updated (10 June 2020, 20:00)