From top: Apartmento via Pretty Mommy, The Gentlewoman via Iko Iko, Wilder Quarterly
I've been thinking a lot about magazines lately.
It's not surprising I suppose, given that I'm in the throes of helping to create one from scratch. But still, there's a lot of thinking (and obsessing) about the medium.
I have loved magazines for as long as I can remember. I probably got my first issue of Vogue when I wasn't much older than Audrey (I'm not sure that was a good thing, for the record), and I've noticed she's been milling around the children's magazine section at our neighborhood bookstore an awful lot lately, carefully flipping pages and scanning mast heads. She's getting sucked in.
But what I wanted out of magazines when I was nine, nineteen, twenty-nine (lots of bits and snippets and tips and just general stuff) is different from what I want now. These days I'm jonesing to read something that feels soulful and smart and artful. I want something that has lots of thoughtful eye candy, quiet inspiration. I want to walk away from reading one and think about it for a while after. Maybe this is more of a book/magazine hybrid. Less temporary, more lasting...reflective of the qualities I'm after in all the other things that I bring into my home.
This magical formula is executed stunningly well in the sort of "second generation" magazines cropping up now. Titles like Kinfolk, Gather Journal, Wilder Quarterly, The Gentlewoman, Anthology, and Apartmento are smart and deliberate, from the design to the edit to the advertising. They are largely self-funded, not part of large media conglomerates and, as such, can be really selective. They usually work on a quarterly publication schedule, so instead of chasing a story, they can let it slowly unfold. It's a dreamy enterprise.
It's also a philosophy that I think is starting to guide the evolution of more traditional magazines. (You can see the influence in publications like Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living, don't you think?) And yesterday my colleague Allison alerted me to the Huff Po's new iPad magazine, and it's slogan, "Join the slow news revolution". It seems even the online outlets are rethinking things a bit. The trick now is figuring out how to keep them around for the long haul.
But, I, for one, am rooting for (and buying) this new breed like crazy. It's the least I can do.