The sports world is a sleepy place in mid-February, so in 1964 André Laguerre, the pioneering Sports Illustrated editor, sought something to grab readers' attention after the fever pitch of the NFL season had waned and before the other leagues gathered steam. In the early days, Laguerre and swim editor Jule Campbell kept things small: the issue itself was as modest as the swimsuits that graced its pages. Model Babette March appeared on the cover of the launch issue in a two-piece suit; inside, only five additional pages were bundled within the greater whole.
What began as a stop-gap effort to appease the distracted sports fan, however, has grown over the past half-century into a powerhouse. Few standalone magazine franchises have commanded so much attention, and launched so many household names--Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland, Elle MacPherson, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Rebecca Romjin, and now, of course, Kate Upton to name a few.
While it's easy to think of the issue--which drops this week--as a once-a-year phenomenon, the work behind it consumes the entire calendar year. The lives of the models, editors, and photographers; the fashion, beauty, and travel behind each shoot; these and many other topics will form the backbone of SwimDaily.com, our newest launch. Stop by and you'll find everything from exclusive shoots to relationship advice to Q & A sessions with the models.
Swim Daily is also a place where we'll experiment with new ways of creating content. You might have noticed the strip of Instagram photos below our feature carousel. We're especially proud of this effort, and give thanks to our friends at Instagram who've worked with us--and will continue to work with us--to leverage their next-generation platform. The models love the simplicity of popping open the app and documenting their trips, shoots, even the more mundane aspects of their lives--the contents of a fridge, the pilfering of a mini-bar--and we're happy to give them a platform.
Make sure you check back often this week, as we follow along with the models as they party in New York, jet to Las Vegas, walk the red carpets, and hit the strip to celebrate the launch of the issue. We'll have exclusive content all week long--and you're not going to want to miss any of the action.
Leading the charge will be MJ Day, the senior Swimsuit editor whose team is the heart and soul of Swimsuit; and Andy Gray, whose curation of the SI Vault Tumblr shows his eye for history and embrace of new platforms. The rest of us, well, we'll just try to stay out of the way. SwimDaily's not the only new launch this week: Learn more about our ambitious 2013 launch plans here.