Georgianna James poses for MODA Magazine's newly released and notably reimagined online edition.

How UChicago’s Premier Vogue Journal Is Reinventing Itself within the On-line World

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Within the age of Zoom style, when outfits actually solely matter from the chest up, buying and selling in sweats and slippers for some sneakers and a pleasant pair of pants seems a giant deal. But the scholars behind UChicago’s MODA Journal haven’t let the constraints of COVID-19 cease them from diving headfirst into the style world of their newly launched and notably reimagined on-line journal and podcast

MODA Journal was based in 2003 as the primary of the three MODA branches, which additionally embrace the MODA Vogue Present and MODA Weblog. Since its inception, MODA Journal has printed greater than 50 points and has been acknowledged by Teen Vogue as top-of-the-line faculty style magazines within the nation. The coed-run journal goals to supply a chance for UChicago college students to use their skills to the world of style. 

Having beforehand printed one print subject per quarter, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges for MODA Journal: Their final print subject was printed on February 28, 2020. Since then, the publication has labored towards present process a large transformation, sensing an opportunity to alter and develop as {a magazine}. In his “Letter from the Editor” positioned in MODA’s latest subject, editor-in-chief Louis Levin writes that there’s one sentence that he has informed his workforce all quarter lengthy: “Let’s view these obstacles as alternatives.” 

It appears as if MODA Journal has carried out precisely that. With a brand-new web site coded by UChicago college students Rachel Gagnon and Livia Miller, an up-and-coming podcast, and a workforce of 61 editors, photographers, stylists, designers, and writers that greater than doubles the journal’s former employees, MODA Journal has actually grown when it comes to measurement. 

But this isn’t the one manner the journal has expanded its horizons this quarter. Whereas earlier journal points have been about 50 pages lengthy and contained round eight to 10 articles, MODA’s most up-to-date on-line subject clocked in at a whopping 84 pages and contained 25 articles written on a a lot wider and extra various vary of topics than these coated in earlier points. Some articles resembled poetry and artistic writing, each of that are new kinds for MODA. Others coated topics starting from consuming problems to gender norms to Hyde Park enterprise homeowners to the distinctive fashion-related tales and views of the MODA employees themselves. Even the images featured within the new subject signified a change for MODA: This yr, photographers have been inspired to be as artistic and experimental as they wished when it comes to their model. The tip end result? A refreshing and visually gorgeous on-line subject not like any beforehand printed by MODA Journal. 

In reflecting on all that MODA has completed this quarter, Levin expressed how a lot this quarter’s subject meant to him. 

“I hadn’t actually had an opportunity to completely learn our subject till really it was put up on our web site,” Levin said. “However then I sat down two days in the past, and I used to be crying as I learn by way of it. I say that in a non-boastful manner as a result of I didn’t write these articles, however a few of them are actually, actually sensible.” 

Levin attributed these adjustments in content material to the reflecting and rethinking the journal’s workforce did all through the quarter. 

“After I take into consideration the place we have been and the place we’re going, the most important shift has been a spotlight inwards moderately than outwards,” Levin informed The Maroon. “A few of that shift in focus has been fairly robust, it’s been asking difficult questions of ourselves and each other about what we discover interesting within the style business within the first place and the way we [can] be inside an business and criticize that business on the identical time.” 

Prior to now, Levin explains, MODA Journal centered on making an attempt to emulate probably the most outstanding publications within the style business. Nonetheless, this yr, the MODA workforce got here to phrases with the truth that, contemplating the problematic nature of the business, this will not have been the perfect method. 

“The style business is [known to be] stuffed with points on the subject of discrimination, exclusivity, and inequity, and I believe for lots of people, the style business—particularly excessive style—is type of symbolic of a variety of the issues on the planet proper now,” Levin continued. 

In keeping with Levin, MODA hadn’t been doing sufficient to deal with these points prior to now. 

“We have been type of aspiring to be a school model of Vogue,” he stated. “I believe this yr, a variety of our pondering, and my pondering, has been that the style business shouldn’t be someplace we must always look to for steerage and inspiration proper now, and that truly, we have to actively take into consideration how we are able to problem and reconstruct it.” 

So how has the journal gone about difficult and reconstructing business norms? For MODA, the reply lies in shifting their focus towards their position inside UChicago as an RSO but additionally towards their position within the surrounding South Facet group and the bigger style business. 

For Levin, that meant a complete reset of MODA’s mission and what the journal is making an attempt to be in addition to contemplating all of this within the context of the assorted communities that encompass MODA. 

“We’ve been taking up extra various views and pondering extra thoughtfully about our place in our group. That group is the 61 of us, after which it’s UChicago and the South Facet, it’s pondering actually straight about what style means to us and main by instance moderately than making an attempt to observe business leaders that exist proper now.” 

A big a part of the journal’s effort to assume extra critically about their position in varied communities will happen within the new MODA podcast. Hosted by second-years Grace Feeley and Arjun Kilaru in addition to first-years Nicole Mateo and Stefan Aleksic, the podcast will sort out points comparable to aware thrifting, media illustration, international style, and cultural appropriation in a manner that’s extra conversational and fewer formal than the articles in print. 

“The podcast is a good way to present MODA Journal one other strategy to discuss style and adjoining matters with out the formalities of {a magazine},” stated Feeley. “We’ve a variety of expertise on this mission and lots of people with attention-grabbing concepts and stuff to speak about. I’m excited to see the place this may take us.” 

Whereas Levin and your entire journal workforce are happy with all of the work MODA has carried out to face the challenges introduced by COVID-19 and of the strides they’ve made in reexamining their position of their communities and the bigger style business, Levin acknowledges that there’s nonetheless room to develop. 

“After we discuss style, and artwork, we’ve got a manner of speaking about it in a manner that makes it extremely inaccessible and likewise in some ways problematic, and I’m actually making an attempt not to do this with MODA,” Levin informed The Maroon. “I would like MODA to be a enjoyable, inclusive house, and I believe we’re on the trail to getting there, and I’ve actual religion that we are going to get there, so I’m actually enthusiastic about the way forward for MODA.” 

Take a look at MODA’s new on-line journal and podcast at