CORRECTION: This post previously misspelled editor-in-chief Nicole Aguirre’s name.
Worn Magazine, the newest publication focused on fashion and culture in Washington, is quickly establishing itself as a strong source of exposure for the DC fashion and culture scene. With its captivating covers, extensive photography spreads, and in–depth interviews, Worn focuses on taking the creativity of Washington to the mainstream. In a phone interview, Arts Post chatted with Nicole Aguirre, editor–in–chief of the magazine about the city’s “creative renaissance,” supporting local artists, and the future of the magazine.
Worn was started with a grant by the DC Commission of Arts and Humanities.
Where did the idea come from?
I came up with the idea to start Worn while I was in New York City, interning for Vanity Fair, because I knew that I wanted to come back to D.C.. I just realized that there was just this sort of vacuum for this type of magazine, particularly fashion. I thought a really long time about it and who I would want to be on my team and what message we would have and what it would really take. I applied for a Young Artists Grant with the D.C. Commission of Arts and got it. And it was really exciting, because I felt like for the first time in this project with something more than myself… somebody was willing to back me in it. I found out I was getting the grant in December of ’09 and then we used that to help with printing of the first issue.
Describe the creative process that goes in to creating Worn.
It’s really, really fun. We print twice a year – we do a Spring/Summer and we do a Fall/Winter. There’s two phases: there’s the production process where all of the shooting is happening and all the designing and all the production. And then there’s the second part, which is more like marketing – the part where people are actually buying the magazine, and we’re presenting our finished product. In between there, there’s kind of like a two-month period where we’re brainstorming, we’re trying to figure out ideas.
Our team consists of about four core people, with two or three interns every issue. I am editor –in –chief , but I am also the fashion photographer and I’m also the designer. And then we have Josh Yospyn who does photography, mostly portrait photography for us. Merin Guthrie, she’s the Style editor. She also works with some of our vendors, so she takes care of the vending side and then she styles all of our shoots…she’s like the lead liaison with all the boutiques and independent designers in DC. And then Emma Fisher works with the media, and she’s also our copy editor.
There is a huge photography aspect in the magazine. How does that help to shape the reader’s experience?
When thinking of this magazine, I always approached from the photography angle. Not only because I’m a photographer, but also because my good friend Josh [Yospyn]…who is also an excellent photographer…At the time we were thinking about, you know, “Why is everyone still using digital on all their photos,” like say on their computer or on their camera, and no one prints anything? [We are] in some ways, rebelling against the casualness, the “Everyone can be a photographer.” We wanted to sort of bring back… the cool fantasy aspect of being able to hold a print magazine in your hand and flip through the pictures and rip them out and put them on your wall like you’re still in high school. It’s just a nice feeling…
In your first issue, there was an interview by Laura Masterson, where she asked about D.C.’s “creative renaissance.” What part do you feel that Worn plays in that?
That phrase is one of the reasons why I felt compelled to start Worn in the first place. I saw that within my friends and within the art community that I’ve become a part of, there are so many talented people doing really creative and interesting things, and having a completely full life away from the other majority of D.C. who works on government, and does these really interesting issues but isn’t really involved in that community. And there are may other publications in the city doing and talking about interesting things, but I felt like this particular part of DC was being…neglected in some ways. Or at least if it was being talked about it was only on one or two blogs. And I wanted to take that and bring it to life in a very professional and sort of exciting dynamic manner where you’ll be able to look at it on all these big beautiful large format pages and…be a voice for these different things that were happening.
What is there an abundance of in the city, and what do you think we’re missing?
I think people in DC are so sophisticated, some of the most intelligent people in the country. And I think that people have a lot of passion. People here have more dedication and ambition than any other place I’ve ever met. People in the creative community here are really willing to carve out their own niche – to create their own infrastructure. That’s something that we’ve had to do. It’s been up to us to carve out our own infrastructure for people to sell the magazine, for people to be able to get it and pick it up in certain places. And I think that’s certainly true for all different types of creative people and for artists in the city- finding alternative ways to show their art..
I think people are sometimes missing a sense of a willingness to take risks. I think there truly is a conservative undertone to the city. And I mean that in the sense that people are very proper and it really matters what you say and that is certainly the case in government type of work. I think that one of the reasons we started Worn is to really not only show people what is already available in terms of fashion and style and creativity in D.C., but to also push them to take some risks. Show them that it’s okay to have more…individuality and express that.
How does the Worn blog function in conjunction with the magazine?
I think the blog is an incredibly important part of the whole brand of the magazine. The magazine only comes out twice a year, so we want some way to connect with our readers in between issues. We’ve started to include more interviews with local business- owners or designers, fashion people that come to DC that we think people would be interested in talking to - always relating it back to local DC – it’s really important to us [to do that]. Like the magazine, the blog is also focused a lot on photography, so it’s mostly a photography blog and we’re also incorporating more of a fashion aspect to that as well…It’s a great way for us to share those extra photos, behind the scenes moments, with people and give them a look inside the actual magazine and communicate with us directly. People comment on the blog all the time, and we have dialogue with them, and people get in touch with us via the blog. And, also because our magazine right now is only in print, you can’t read it online [so this is an extension of the magazine].
What would you want someone who is reading Worn for the first time to know?
I would want them to know how local the magazine is, from the people who work on it, to every model. I would want them to know that all of the pieces of clothing they see on [them] – if they like it, if they think it’s well styled, well all of this comes from a DC store, a DC designer. I want people to understand that this is their city and embrace it and…I want the best parts of it to be highlighted for them so people can be proud of it and feel like there’s more than they realize.
You can purchase a copy of Worn Magazine both online and at participating retailers.