For the first time ever, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue won’t be heating up newsstands during the chill of winter.
To help capitalize on the time period when readers start to think about summertime trips to beaches and pools, SI will move the publish date of the Swimsuit Issue from February to May starting this year.
Published in February since 1964, the annual SI issue has served as a launching pad for models such as Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kate Upton, and Ashley Graham.
However, there’s no reason it is tied to a February publication date other than that’s the way it has always been throughout its 55-year history.
“The February placement for the swimsuit issue … was chosen by the head of Sports Illustrated from years ago to fill a hole in the calendar,” issue editor MJ Day told The Associated Press. “We were just a stopgap.”
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Moving the timing of the issue – which usually has to be wrapped eight weeks before publication – frees up models and photographers to use locations they otherwise might not have been able to.
“We were so limited with our timing,” Day said. “There’s been a whole set of places that have been off the table for us because their summers are when we’re not shooting.”