Last week, a group of NYU bluestockings (and a solitary gent) climbed into the Nylon brain for a sassy and straightforward Q&A with some of the magazine’s editors and directors. Surrounded by several of America’s most notable faces in print (and by some of the most creative in person), the group of us squished into a tiny conference room, awaiting the secrets hidden behind those pristine white walls.
Nylon’s ability to mix an even cocktail of smart, underground, and culturally relevant content to a youth audience makes the magazine a stand-out among competitors, and its willingness to shape shift in small ways (without jeopardizing the brand) leaves room for the unexpected while giving readers the information they’re dying to know. Nylon is all about a lot of things, but it’s not about the sex. You know, it’s just about cool people doing cool things, which is great.
Nylon doesn’t simply garner content from other media. The real secret is getting out there, going to music festivals, exploring street and runway trends, and doing it yourself. Recycling information that someone else has already covered isn’t going to make an innovative magazine, and when you find that new band or trend, you could be the one to have it first. Less safe, more fun. The idea behind Nylon is to be “aspirational but not untouchable,” as the magazine features what you know, what you don’t know, and what you should know.
So what did the creative chemists behind the Nylon girl (and guy) have to say about breaking into the publishing industry and preserving your voice while creating editorial pieces? Deputy Editor Ellen Carpenter recommends trying to write in different voices for fun, noting especially to “always read what you write out loud – it should have a melody to it.” Executive Editor Luke Crisell quickly added “That’s your arsenal, your words. When you’re reading, write down five words you didn’t know.” To a writer developing his or her lexicon, this advice is crucial, and while there’s definitely a common thread in the Nylon voice, the collage of different writing styles, visual structure, and content truly makes this magazine a relevant staple to savor or devour.
Thanks again to Nylon for giving us the grand tour!