Driven by imagination, collaboration and diversity, Little Red Book – the University of Georgia’s premier fashion magazine – is brimming with professional-quality photography and well-produced fashion journalism. The magazine, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, is full of beauty and style advice.
The publication was founded in August 2007 by three students from UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, but it only published its first issue in 2008. Since then, the magazine has grown, shrunk and changed hands several times, consistently conforming to match the visions of the current board.
At the head of the organization today is Vanessa Vassileva, a 19-year-old second-year student and newly appointed editor-in-chief. Vassileva got the job at the end of her first year, making her the youngest member of the board.
Although initially unsure of the position, Vassileva worked hard to make the position her own. Under his leadership, she said the magazine has become more organized and cohesive, establishing a tighter brand identity. She said even the smallest things, such as consistent use of the same fonts in every issue of the magazine, can help create a brand identity for consumers.
“When I was first given the job, I wasn’t really sure what it meant,” Vassileva said. “I realized very quickly that I couldn’t do everything on my own. For lack of a better word, I am the project manager. Honestly, I put my hands in everything.
The magazine, although published by UGA students, is not intended to be adapted to the student fashion scene, Vassileva said. Expanding beyond Athens is a goal of the board, but Vassileva was quick to recognize the role the Athens community plays in the production of the magazine.
Members of the management team have a symbiotic relationship with local retailers: in exchange for Little Red Book being able to borrow clothing for its editorial shoots, the final publication assigns all items to the respective retailers, acting as a A marketing tool in the most recent issue, the Team borrowed coins from Community, Cheeky Peach, and fab’rik, all shops in downtown Athens.
“The Little Red Book would be nothing without Athens,” Vassileva said. “If it weren’t for the clothing stores that let us borrow their products, we wouldn’t have content. Without the local print shop, we wouldn’t have a magazine at all.
Coordinating with retailers is a job Vassileva leaves to her other board members, especially her fashion editor, Madeleine Howell.
Howell, a 20-year-old fashion merchandising major, said her position puts her in charge of the fashion team. Her job is to come up with the theme for each issue of the magazine, pull clothing from the boutiques and wardrobes of other club members for photo shoots, and coordinate editorial photoshoots.
Finding a theme is not easy. Howell said the process can be lengthy since all members have the opportunity to submit ideas. The best are debated by the members of the executive committee, who decide on the winner.
The theme for the 10th anniversary is “Generation X”, and it features bright colors and bold clothing combinations. The themes are fluid and the clothing used in the issue was based on the trends of the time, rather than using all the vintage pieces.
“One of the things we really wanted to tackle with this issue was to inspire people to be more individual with their style.”
– Madeleine Howell, fashion editor
On the mood boards there were glitter, glitter, saturated colors and primary colors. The theme isn’t straight out of ’80s glamor, but rather pieces from the decade combined for a new look, Howell said.
“It wasn’t like stepping out of a time capsule or anything; it’s just a sum of the parts, all of these different aspects coming together in styling and makeup, ”Howell said.
19-year-old model Ashlee Bock is featured in the latest issue of Little Red Book. Bock is featured on the cover with fellow model Hawa Camara, both posed on the floor of the Athens Skate Inn.
“I didn’t realize this magazine was a thing, and now that I’ve seen it I think it’s so amazing,” Bock said. “Seeing [the club members] working together and how big this project was and then seeing the final product was such a great experience. Their passion really shows.
The passion for fashion of all kinds drives the members of the club, who each have their own style. With that in mind, Howell said diversity is at the top of leaders’ goals this year.
“Diversity, when it comes to people’s interests, is a big deal for us,” Howell said. “One of the things we really wanted to tackle with this issue was to inspire people to be more individual with their style.”
Howell mentioned that the board plans to diversify the publication further by including menswear and male models in upcoming issues of Little Red Book. at 30 under the leadership of Vassileva, and they do not plan to stop there.
As the magazine continues to grow, Little Red Book executives look to the future. Vassileva said the club plans to grow by revamping its blog to include additional content and archive PDF versions of the magazine. The hope is to have an online version to help them reach readers outside of Athens.
For Vassileva, Little Red Book is a family and collective project of which she is happy to be a part. In terms of involvement, she doesn’t think about what that will look like on a CV.
“This club has pushed my limits to be the best it can be because this post doesn’t just reflect me; it reflects our team, our magazine, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and the University of Georgia, ”Vassileva said. “I think if you’re doing something you should always do it to the max.”