INTERVIEW BY JAMES VICKERMAN
www.jamesvconxept.com | @jamesvconxept
When it comes to conceptualizing a relevant magazine within the current landscape of culture, it’s undeniable that, with the vast array of publications already out there in the world, the task is certainly a difficult one. But SKYN managed it. With the obesity crisis – nay,epidemic – only booming, 1 in 4 British adults standing as medically obese and over a third of adult Americans standing as the same, SKYN explodes onto the zine-scene showing the stunning possibilities when power, perspiration and panache merge. With their conquering combination of minimal, concept photography and strong, body-positive, thick and healthy muses, SKYN Magazine shows the world the ‘alter –life’ – a life it is possible to lead if we simply eat less, move more and appreciate ourselves.
I spoke to Founder and Creative Director, Eames Alexander, and Editor-in-Chief, Ashley Hassard, about SKYN’s beginnings, its impact and what lies ‘beneath the clothes’ of, what has emerged as, one of the most excitingly curated digital magazines in recent years.
J: Let me just start by saying, I’m so grateful to be given the chance to speak to both of you! I have a great respect for your work and find so much inspiration in the content you create. I wonder - how did SKYN first come about?
Ashley: Aw you are so sweet – thank you. It means more than you know. SKYN wasn’t actually something that we set out to do explicitly, it sort of happened by hap and circumstance.
Eames: We were tired of dealing with the process of working with other people. We saw what others were doing with their digital platforms and realized that, with our passion for high quality content and an eye for curating, we could probably do a half decent job. So we took what we saw, studied all we liked, and just kinda did it.
J: Would you say the notion of Feminism ever, consciously, came to play in the formation of SKYN Magazine? How, would you say, does SKYN seek to compromise the objectification of the female body?
Ashley: Absolutely. It was actually something we were really passionate about – finding a way to take the key elements of a men’s magazine and make them empowering for both the women in them, as well as the men reading them. It’s actually why one of the main things we do in all of our interviews is try to profile our feature’s, not just for their beautiful bodies, but also for their beautiful minds, spirits, and personal achievements.
Eames: We’re not about compromising or objectifying women, but about celebrating them.
J: Your notoriety on Instagram cannot be ignored, your 62k followers ‘liking’ and commenting things such as, “This is the way to live”, and, 2015’s favourite phrase, “Goals!” – but I wonder how a publication that celebrates fit, empowered females has overcome Instagram’s controversial censorship terms? Is censorship something SKYN seeks to create conversation about?
Eames: Not necessarily. Censorship, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But unnecessary censorship that takes away from any art form is something that should be discussed and questioned in an open forum.
Ashley: What we set out to do with SKYN wasn’t so much to create a dialogue around censorship per say, but spark an interest in sensual creative art and provide the platform for it to be displayed.
J: When it comes to building your imagery, how does the process play out? Do you work in response to a stimulus, or do you just “do you, Boo” and create the work you want to put out into the world?
Eames: Ha, definitely the second.
Ashley: There’s no real method to our madness, we just know what we like, and are lucky enough to have a decent amount of followers and contributors who share the same vision.
J: What are your aspirations for SKYN? Are there any exclusives you can share with me about the projection of your work? The words, “coffee table book” would make my heart soar, I swear!
Ashley: Now that’s an idea! Now that you mention it….
Eames: Yeah maybe a coffee table book… and maybe a couple other big things. It’s kinda becoming it’s own thing now. It’s own culture, it’s own community. It’s growing and we’d love to see that growth take SKYN to new global heights. But as for what those heights might be, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.
J: If you could say one thing to anyone hoping to, one day, create for the publication game, what would that be? If you could tell your younger selves one thing you know now, from experience, what would you say?
Ashley: That’s a tough one. For me, probably, it’d be something along the lines of, never underestimate what you are capable of. A year ago, we would have never imagined we’d be where we are today. Neither of us have a background in anything even sort of related to publishing. So it’s a bit wild to consider we’re doing what we are now. But with a solid vision and a bit of time, anything can be made possible.
Eames: Exactly. Take a risk and trust your gut.
J: Eames and Ashley, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time; I wish SKYN nothing but growth and prosperity.