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All that glitters is Golden Mag

There’s a new fashion publication in town, and it goes by the name of Golden Magazine.
Image by Parker Johson
From left to right, Stella Forteir, Ava Eckman, Audrey Eckman, and Lauren Armani pose for portraits outside Northrop Auditorium on Saturday, April 17. They are the creators of the lifestyle magazine Golden Magazine.

Before spring break, Golden Magazine posted a TikTok spotlighting some University of Minnesota students’ outfits during a pop-up event. Some were sporting House of Sunny pistachio cardigans, and others were stunting a classic Doc Marten shoe. Plaid pants, bucket hats, violet corsets, oh my!

Golden Mag’s comment section blew up. “I live here why do I never see people like this WHERE ARE YOU HIDING,” one user commented. Another user said, “this is not the same umn…”

But the thing is, it is. The eclectic and hip fashion scene is what Golden Mag is trying to show its University of Minnesota audience; the Twin Cities fashion scene is burgeoning, and all it needed was a proper platform.

With an up and running blog, haute social channels and the first publication coming out in May, Golden gives a platform to fashion, pop culture and lifestyle magazine lovers.

“When I was 13, I was flipping through Teen Vogue just living vicariously through the pages in my bedroom,” Audrey Ekman said. Now she’s the co-editor in chief with her cousin Ava Ekman, directing and designing the pages of Golden Magazine herself.

The duo spent their summer quarantining together, sifting through the pages of fashion magazines and scouting out different university fashion and lifestyle publications across the country — FIT’s Blush, Iowa State’s Trend and FSU’s Strike, to name a few.

“Why doesn’t this exist at the U?” Audrey asked herself. Immediately Audrey and Ava rallied their closest friends to create a fashion, lifestyle and beauty publication themselves to fill the gap.

“[Ava] randomly texted me one night and was like, ‘Hey do you want to start a magazine?’ and I was like, ‘What the hell is this girl talking about?’ but sure,” Lauren Armani, administrative director for Golden Mag, said.

The magazine offers students in and out of the journalism school an opportunity to get involved in a creative publication. Many of the magazine’s student leaders aren’t even pursuing a degree in journalism themselves. Ava, who is a communications major, felt stuck with her options for professional experience at the University.

“I was having a crisis … like I had to turn my life around or something — the mid-COVID crisis, kind of — and we just felt like we wanted to do something like a creative career path, and I at least kind of felt stuck with the options here at the U for how I could gain experience or join a community that could benefit me,” she said.

Golden’s first issue is slated to come out May 7 on with a debut theme of “community.” The team intends to publish one issue each semester. In the community issue, you will be able to read about the Femme Fatale skate community, dating during a pandemic and finding common ground between the societal push toward minimalism and capitalistic material maximalism.

“It takes a village to produce this magazine,” Audrey said. “In a time of everyone feeling really disconnected because of the pandemic and remote classes, a lot of people were just searching for this kind of creative outlet and community of like-minded students.”

Unlike other publications at the University, Golden focuses heavily on image-based content. The team has brought on a league of photographers, stylists and creative directors to make the photography and media strategy pop. The digital media strategy takes notes from the likes of Vogue and other national publications, Audrey said. “It’s like a media channel in its own right,” she said.

Golden Mag’s head stylist Jorgie Rassi said that the experience she’s gained with Golden is similar to her time freelancing for Vogue Magazine. According to Rassi, Golden offers students an opportunity to dive deeper into their interests in fashion, beauty and pop culture and gain real-life experience while doing so.

“A lot of people, I think, don’t consider the U as a big creative capital or like a destination for fashion. But we’ve got amazing students — super talented — and really good programs too,” Audrey said. “It’s not something that has to be so inaccessible.”

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