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all photos: Shauna Alexander

Sunday evening, Nicole Aguirre, editor and creative director of Worn Magazine, invited us into her home for a chat and peek inside the first issue of D.C.’s newest print magazine.

The inimitable Adrian Parsons graces the striking and candid “Never Out of Season” cover of the current spring/summer edition; Here he is, in the streets of our city, barefoot, shirtless and having a drag, in the midst of that unforgettable snow apocalypse.

Picture 106

[Courtesy of Worn Magazine, photograph by Joshua Yospyn]

The fashion and photography heavy publication, supported in part by a 2010 Young Artist Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, launched this month, and as of yesterday, it’s available for purchase at Treasury, 1843 14th St. NW, Redeem, 1734 14th St. NW and Durkl, 443 I St. NW. If you live outside the D.C. metro area, you can buy the magazine through Paypal. Visit the daily Worn Magazine blog for “features, photographs that didn’t make the print edition, teaser articles” and more.

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BYT: When did you first have the idea for Worn Magazine?

Nicole Aguirre: Basically, I remember talking about this when I was in New York City last summer. I was interning at Vanity Fair. I was talking about wanting to do something here in the city. It occurred to me that there was this big gap for something like this.

It also happened to be a bad time in the economy, but a good time for me, because not being able to get a job forced me to create my own. So, if there was a space for something like this, I figured, why not try it. It’s a time when you’re young that you can do those things. You loose a few $1,000, and it’s like, so what. I decided to take a risk.

BYT: Do you think it helps that you’re catering to a niche audience in D.C.? The industry is changing. Publications are getting more local…

NA: Sure…I mean, I don’t necessarily consider it a niche, because I think there are a lot of people in D.C. that are interested in fashion. There just isn’t a medium for it at all. I see it growing more and more. I don’t think D.C. needs to be the style capital of the world for it to be stylish and for people to enjoy that in the city.

So, I think the purpose of the magazine is not only to show what we have available in terms of style, boutiques, fashion and art that a lot of people are not familiar with, but also to encourage that to grow, to help people realize that it’s OK to take a little more risks.

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BYT: Could you talk about the concept of the magazine…

NA: Basically, the layouts exist to highlight the photography. Everything is very clean and simple. Most of the pictures in the magazine bleed, just so they can be as big as possible. Our color scheme is basically black, white and red. I told my designer at the beginning that I wanted minimal accessorizing.

The big format was something that I wanted from the beginning. I had heard of these mini magazines coming out and that being the trend. I wanted it to be bigger.

BYT: The size is great.

NA: Thank you.

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BYT: Is Josh [Yospyn] the only photographer? How did you two meet?

NA: Him and I shot everything. We met at an art opening at Civilian Art Projects. I was shooting it for BYT, actually! It was last spring, and I took his picture.  We didn’t really talk then. I actually thought that he didn’t like me and didn’t want me to take his picture. But a month later I got a call from him when I was in New York City, and he asked me to model for him. He’s a portrait photographer. He works with models all the time. I said yes, and ever since then we’ve been totally inseparable.  We just have amazing creative energy. We’ve known each other for a year, but it feels like 10 years. I think we were meant to meet.

BYT: You’re partners…

NA: Yeah! We work really well together. I started a fashion blog last year called Good Nicole, and we would shoot fashion for it together all the time.

He shot the cover with Adrian [Parsons] on it. I was shooting this spread, which included Adrian, in a studio in Georgetown during the snow apocalypse.  They all got tired and wanted to go outside for a smoke break, and he just walked outside with no shoes, no shirts, nothing. Josh was like, “shit, is he going out just like that? Oh my God, I’ll be right back.” He grabbed his camera and followed him outside. That’s what happens! Spontaneously, you get a great picture. And it became the cover.

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BYT: So, where will people be able to grab a copy?

NA: Our plan is to have one store in every neighborhood in the city to carry it, but starting [April 14], it will be at Redeem, Treasury, the Durkl store.  And then we’re trying to expand to include the GW Bookstore or Tryst is a big one.

BYT: How much will each cost?

NA: They’re going to be $7. Except if you buy them at an event, then it’s $5.

BYT: Will you have subscriptions available?

NA: Absolutely. You’ll also be able to get it online on our Web site. If you live in the District, we encourage you to buy it at a store. But if you don’t live in D.C., we’ll mail it to you.

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BYT: You knew Josh [Yospyn] before the project came along. Was [Worn Magazine] your idea?

NA: It was my idea at first. I always knew I wanted Josh involved. It was just a matter of convincing Josh that he wanted to do it too. It worked out in the end!

We had some bumps in the road in terms of finding the right people to bring on the team. But, toward the end of the year, it seemed like we had the right group of people. We’re five people. I’m the editor, and Josh is the main photographer. We have Dutch Derringer, who does all the writing and copy editing. He has a style column on the back page. Alina Alvarez does all the design work and Laura Masterson does interviews for us.

BYT: Will you continue to have feature articles, these street styles…

NA: I really like the street style aspect of it a lot. We’re going to keep featuring local artists. That’s really important to me. Right now, we have a man’s fashion spread and a woman’s fashion spread, so that can only expand.  The writing is also a big aspect. You’ll see if you take it home and read some of the articles.  I feel like it’s a little bit more sophisticated than you would find in a fashion magazine. That’s what we’re going for. If we have the opportunity to do anything we can, we’re going to do it right. We’re going to do it our way.

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BYT: What inspires you?

NA: What inspires me is the situation in the city where some of the people who look the best, can’t necessarily afford to. I think it’s a really interesting aspect of the city. I grew up in L.A., and I’m used to being around fashion. It’s something that I think is an artistic aspect of me and of the city.

BYT: Do you read fashion magazines?

NA: I do. It depends. I don’t necessary like all the mainstream ones. I really love LOVE magazine, which only comes out twice a year I think.

BYT: Yes, it’s biannual.

NA: I also like Purple magazine. I really like The New Yorker. I really love Vanity Fair.

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BYT: Who inspires you in terms of style?

NA: I’m really into Scandinavian and Swedish fashion. There’s one style blog that I like by a Swedish editor named Caroline Feber. I also really like Korean fashion. I used to live in Seoul and that really inspires my sense of style. All the things I had living in Seoul two years ago I’m just starting to wear here now, because they’re just starting to be in style. It rocks.

BYT: Cool. So you grew up in L.A.? When did you move to D.C.?

NA: I did one year of college in L.A. and then I moved to D.C. when I was 19 years old. I transferred to GW my sophomore year.

BYT: What has kept you here?

NA: Opportunities. I feeling like I am more of an East Coast girl. I’ve made my life here. I don’t want to move back.

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BYT: Where do you see the magazine going?

NA: I’m really open to what’s going to happen with Worn [Magazine]. I’d like it to be something that needs to grow, something to document this really important creative period in the city, something that people are excited to look at.

BTY: Where did the word “worn” come from?

NA: The name is actually Worn Magazine. Together. It came from the sense that fashion isn’t necessarily something new that you buy or some trend. For me, I will spend an hour looking for that old black t-shirt that I cut into a tank top. It’s stuffed in the back of my closet, and I can’t live without it. That to me is style. You know, just wearing something that you’ve had for five years.

I like the idea of rolling up the magazine and taking it everywhere you go. And it being like crumpled up, but you still really like it so you pull it out and read it 10 times.  That, to me, is what the word “worn” describes. That’s what I want the magazine to be called.

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BYT: I’m curious, what’s your view on technologies, like the iPad, that are changing part of the industry and the way people will read magazines?

NA: Do you think the iPad will change the way people read magazines?

BYT: I think it will.

NA: You think people will read magazines on the iPad, like you will press a button and it will change the page?

BYT: That’s what they’re hoping.

NA: Right. I think it depends what kind of magazine you’re talking about. I think there will be a place for fashion and art magazines in the future. Of course, things are moving along, and we have to look to the future. We have to move ahead with the technologies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning things that worked well in the past.

I feel like there are some things that are worth saving. We are trying to create something that promotes that value. Something that you like to touch.

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