"We just do what we do, and we happen to be plus size" - The Glamazons, interviewed in the February issue of Skorch Magazine.
The second issue of SKORCH Magazine launched online Feb. 1 with even more fun, flip-through content, from fashion to foundation to food. It's really worth scrolling through all 80+ pages.
Highlights from this issue:
So much fashion media coverage ignores the complex relationships women have regarding fashion, clothing, and body image in favor of a more limiting debate regarding the skinny runway model, or focusing solely on eating disorders. Special contributor Christianne Covington's interviews with four distinct, plus size women about body-image presents a refreshing, valid, real-woman perspective.
In addition, 10 quick profiles/interviews with plus-size industry players like Liria Mersini, editor of plussize.about.com, model, photographer, and activist Victoria Leigh, paint a diverse and powerful picture of the plus-size fashion community, and speaks volumnes about the need for magazines like SKORCH to exist and succeed.
Finally, the shopping guide is a great added value to the editorial fashion spreads, and a plus-size shopper and gifter's dream.
However, Plus size mags fight an uphill battle. I blogged about the launch of Skorch back in Janurary, noting their unique e-zine style online layout - looks like a mag, nav's like a half pdf/half webpage - and was curious to learn more about the process and the goals of these two plus-size fashionistas.
Amidst all the buzz, a second launch party, and holding down two jobs, editors Jessica Reese and Carrie Woomer sat down to share their thoughts and experiences with PR Couture.
Why did you chose to call the magazine SKORCH – what does that word mean to you?
Jessica: Carrie mentioned it as we tossed around names like "Hot" and "Diva" etc...then she said "SKORCH" -- we sat for a few pondering that name and instantly knew that was IT!
Carrie: Actually, it’s funny. I was brainstorming ideas in the shower, thinking of words that described the feel of this magazine. The line of thinking was something like, passion, red, fiery, crimson, scorch, SKORCH!!!! SKORCH! It’s what we do! Later that day, Jessica and I had our first meeting to discuss our plans for this magazine. Thankfully, that name was just as hot to her as it was to me! Skorch! It describes what everyone should do.
Can you give an example of how working with PR helps make your lives easier?
Carrie: Jessica and I are very open to ideas being pitched to us! We do have some Skorch Guidelines, but if it fits in, absolutely! PR is important for building relationships. You never know you’re you’re going to need to know in the future!
Jessica: It helps to know how to find the right people to talk to and know how to market yourself.
About how much of your current editorial content is the result of a sucessful PR Pitch – what made it sucessful?
Jessica: Honestly, 50%. Our editorial comes from amazing contributors that believe in us and they found out about us because of our PR skills. The other 50% is contributed by [the editors].
What kinds of products are you looking for? What are you not looking for?
Carrie: If it’s new, hip and never before, we want it yesterday! Everything beautiful, gadgety, smart, witty, sexy. We want our readers to drool all over their screens when they read Skorch Magazine. I think that’s one of the definitions of Skorch, right Jess? Actually, we do have 2 main themes that define what Skorch IS . 1. Does it make our female readers feel like a 4 year old going through a jewelry box? (Ooooo Pretty!!) 2. Does it make our female readers feel like “their world is a catwalk”? If the answer is yes, it’s Skorch Material!
Jessica: We want to review products of all natures that would be appealing to women...obviously a crank shaft isn't too exciting to a woman.
What is the best way/time to reach you to pitch a product idea?
Jessica: Via email. Carrie at carrie[at]skorchmagazine[dot]com and Jessica at jessica[at]skorchmagazine[dot]com.
Carrie: We’re both pretty much flexible. Any time is fine for me.
It’s 8 AM, and you only have time to spend 15 minutes to catch up on online content – where do you go/what do you do?
In my first window I log onto my outlook express first to check my e-mail. While that is updating, I open a second window log onto myspace (Both my personal and skorch account). On a third window I check my model mayhem account. In a fourth window I read Yahoo! news. On a fifth window (Yes, I have internet ADHD! Haha) I check AOL News. Next I Google the words Skorch Magazine (haha, narcissistic, I know) to see if any PR updates are being said. I research all of the latest fashion news, then check IGN for all of the latest techy stuff, music reviews, gaming stuff and more! I LOVE this site!
(In-depth interview continues below the click)
What is Skorch Magazine?
Skorch Magazine is a plus size women’s fashion & lifestyle magazine for women ages 16-36. The women that are featured in our magazine are confident, beautiful, stylish, empowering and happen to be plus size. We feature fashions and interviews from women of all races, ages, and sizes, however our target is women sizes 10+ and plus positive people.
How did the idea to create Skorch Magazine come about? Why is a magazine like Skorch necessary?
As plus size fashionable women, we [felt] dismayed when picking out our favorite magazines like InStyle, Vogue, or Cosmo because the fashions listed [aren’t available] above a size 10. Full figured women are the majority and we wanted a magazine that showed sexy fashions for plus-size women. We are tired of fashion that is bland and average. We want to show plus-size women that they can dress in a trendy, authentic way, [they don’t] have to dress drab. We are very passionate about showing the beauty of all women, even though our target is our plus-sized sisters.
Skorch Magazine is necessary because we are also showing that plus size women can be just as sexy and progressive as straight sizes. As representatives of the media industry, we hope to portray a new standard of what should be considered beautiful.
Why did you choose to launch online, but still retain the layout of a print magazine?
We want to perfect our craft and build a magazine that one day we feel is ready to go to print. We could have just leapt into print distribution, however, we want to make sure we provide a magazine that our readers and advertisers feel is useful and relevant.
We retain the layout of a print magazine because we are visual people, and we don't get excited with blogs that have too many words and nothing visually stimulating. We want our readers to have an experience with our magazine that is valid and refreshing.
As women, we all love magazines, we first flip through to look at all the pictures, then go back to read the content. We hope that our readers feel that same excitement when they read our magazine.
How receptive have advertisers been to the online format?
We have been very fortunate to attract almost every major advertiser in the plus-size fashion market, and they are excited. They love what SKORCH Magazine is about and love that their advertisement can look as beautiful in our magazine as it would in any print fashion magazine.
What have been your experiences working with PR so far? How can we best serve you in the future?
Our experience has been completely positive so far. Our challenge is to really communicate what we're about. There is no one and nothing like what we're presenting. We are paving a new path, and the feedback has been completely positive and overwhelming. We know we're onto something!
What are the main challenges you faced in launching Skorch?
Main challenges were the same as any magazine that tries to start from scratch. We needed writers, designers, editors, photographers, models, etc. and we are operating on a very small budget that we sustain from our personal pockets. This is a labor of love and passion, but we know it's well worth the risk.
What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the Skorch?
We are most proud that women begin to view themselves differently because of this magazine. Also, we are proud that our vision is coming to fruition. It looks beautiful, and we spend hundreds of hours in design to make sure it is. We do all the design ourselves.
What are some of the major fashion frustrations facing plus sized women?
Finding fashions in our size that thinner women readily have access to. Plus-size women want to look sassy, funky, beautiful and have the look of the season too. Luckily, there are many designers in the plus-size industry keeping up with what flatters a plus-size woman as well as what is the look of the season.
Why Portland? Do you feel pressure to be in NY?
We originally moved to Portland because we love art, music, and the spirit that is Portland. SKORCH Magazine was then born, and now we are glad we are in Portland, such a great opportunity.
Do you consider yourselves feminists? Have you found the feminist community supportive of Skorch?
We can't say that we are feminists, however we do believe in many of the philosophies. We want to empower women of size, let them know that they are equal and can look amazing and feel amazing too.
What about the mainstream fashion community?
We have had a very positive response from some mainstream fashion outlets. They are most excited that there is a forum and service to help them launch into the plus-size market. We're finding that they don't have a venue to launch a plus-size line. SKORCH provides that venue and the models to make it look fabulous.
How do you see Skorch evolving in the future?
We will continue to build on the online magazine throughout the year. We hope to build a staff of writers and designers and insiders, as well as continue to host SKORCH events in major cities, starting with Portland.
Why is fashion important?
We think fashion is important because it helps a person express who they are. Clothing makes us feel empowered, or sexy, or confident. If we were all destined to wear the same outfit, there would be no individuality.
Why do you think the fashion industry has been so hesitant to embrace the plus size market and reflect it in runway shows, fashion advertising, and the retail sector?
Obsession. The American culture is obsessed with being thinner. If the plus-size market is embraced, some feel that it's saying it's ok to be fat and unhealthy. However, we feel that a women size 14 is not fat or unhealthy. Marilyn Monroe would be considered plus-size with today's standards, and she was a sex icon. In other countries, a women with some curves is considered the ultimate standard of sexy.
What is your opinion on the recent buzz surrounding the deaths of anorexic models in Brazil and Spain, and US Fashion Council’s reluctance to adopt similar health requirements?
It's scary that women feel such a need to harm their bodies to meet an unrealistic ideal of beauty. We hope that if SKORCH Magazine can help one teen girl and show her that she is gorgeous even if she's not a size 00, then we've done what we set out to do. Unfortunately, it goes back to America's obsession with being thinner. I don't personally understand it, but I hope that in the future there will be a day when models that are healthy will walk the runway.
Are health regulations for models a good idea? Will this positively impact the plus size industry at all?
Even if the health regulations are adopted by US Fashion Council, plus models will always be at a disadvantage. As long as the industry keeps calling a women that is a size 8 plus-size, there is a problem. The runway standards are nothing like everyday standards. Plus models start at size 10, and plus clothing starts at size 12/14.
Women are often pitted against one another as fat vs. thin. I wonder what your experience or perception about this is – is there a place in the fashion community for women of all sizes to be honest with each other, enjoy fashion, and support each other’s creative pursuits?
There needs to be this magical place. Carrie and I often get frustrated as well with the fact there is such segregation. We would love to go to a boutique and find fashions from size 0 to 18/20 (and higher). Women of all sizes are beautiful.