Sunday, 12 June 2011

FOX magazine

Yes, I am still alive. Things have been rather quiet on here recently as for the last few months I have been somewhat distracted by my third term's project at the London College of Fashion.

Term 3 at LCF has been by far the hardest, but also the most rewarding. At the beginning of the term we were split into groups and given the task of creating a magazine and a 30 minute documentary about an area of London. We were assigned Kentish Town, and I was the Editor in Chief of our project.

Over the last few months my laptop and I have become like young lovers: rarely apart and unable to keep our hands off each other. Sleepless nights have been spent creating layouts for the magazine or editing articles and images. At one stage I was seriously considering bringing my sleeping bag with me to the edit suite where I had spent another 12 hour day editing our documentary.

But somehow, remarkably, after a term of stress, disagreements and lots and lots of hard work, it is all over and my project has been handed in. I have finished my first year at LCF.

A few pages from our magazine...

Let's go to (Kentish) Town
I must admit that when our group was assigned Kentish Town as our area to write about, I had never been there before in my life. I wasn't even sure where it was.
Unusually for me, I wasn't jumping off my chair trying to be the leader of this project. In my first year at LCF I have been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented people whom I have learnt a lot from. When it came to our first group project I wanted the best person to do the job, so if that meant stepping down and sitting this one out, for what was probably the first time in my life, that was fine by me. I was more than a little surprised, therefore, when the group came to a unanimous decision: they wanted me to be the Editor in Chief. Maybe I was just destined for writing lists, creating timetables of deadlines and yaberring away in front of a room of people about our ideas after all...
FOX Magazine
To best explain the concept of our magazine, I am copying the first paragraph of my editor's letter (the writing of which was a surreal and inspiring experience. The first of many I hope...):

"Walking through Kentish Town feels like crossing back and forth between a country village and an urban metropolis. We foxes are at home both stalking the street at night or eyeing up the foxes on a country farm. In our first issue of FOX magazine we bring you a varied representation of these contrasting sides to Kentish Town."

FOX became not just our name, but a concept that shapes the whole magazine. When we visited Kentish Town one of the things that really struck us was the mix of urban and rural: Kentish Town City Farm is a rural haven and many streets here look like postcards from a country village, yet you are still in the heart of the city. From this idea, 'FOX' was born: our magazine would be a mix of urban and rural in the same way that you get country and city foxes.

Just like foxes wander the streets we aimed to sniff out the best of the best in Kentish Town in order to create a reinvention of the community magazine. Why shouldn't the community have a trendy, fun magazine serving the same purposes as a traditional magazine or paper?

When we picked up our magazine from the printers they told us that they had all been looking through our magazine and loved it. One of their drivers, they said, had lived in Kentish Town all his life, yet he said he found out things he never knew about the area from reading our magazine. That is something I am proud of and have enjoyed this term: meeting new people, discovering new things and feeling like a proper journalist.

I am really proud of what we have produced, with a little help from the artists and photographers we commissioned. I loved being Editor in Chief and have learnt so much from the process. Of course I have learnt technical skills: I designed the layouts for the magazine using Photoshop and Indesign and although I had never picked up a film camera before in my life before starting LCF, together with one of my coursemates I filmed and edited a 30 minute documentary. But I have also learnt a lot about myself.

When people hear that I have a whole drawer dedicated to baking supplies and a room decorated with bunting, they often jump to the conclusion that I'm as soft as the pink cushions scattered across my bed and not up to a career in one of the most vicious of industries.

At the end of this project one of my group mates went around the group asking everyone what I had been like as an editor.

One response in particular made me laugh: "you could ask Libby to do anything and she would get it done. She is to the point and straight in what she wants. When she asks you to do something you know you have to do it, because if not, you're in for a ride."

These past few months have been full of stress and have left me exhausted. I have had to deal with the problems and inevitable setbacks that come from editing a magazine as well as working with a group of strong-minded people. I have had to defend my ideas and fight the corner for our group when faced with difficult questions about our magazine from our peers and lecturers. But despite all the stress it has definitely been worth it. I have a copy of FOX magazine sitting proudly on my shelf, and have proven to myself that you can be and Editor in Chief and still bake cupcakes and love pink.


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