This month we sat down with Camay Villanueva, Otis Alumna Fashion Design ’11, who is the editor-in-chief of REFLEKT Magazine. REFLEKT Magazine is a style/fashion magazine focusing on personal style and style tribes all over the world. We wanted to get to know what inspires her and find out how Otis prepared her to start REFLEKT.
If you had to describe REFLEKT in one sentence, what would it be?
Reflekt is a style/fashion magazine of kookyness, eccentric individuals sharing their life experiences, style tricks and a deeper thinking into what fashion and style really is.
Where did the idea for REFLEKT Magazine come from?
It came from lots of ideas, most of those ideas were born at Otis actually! I read style anthropologist Ted Polhemus’ book “Street Style” that I found at the Otis fashion library that taught me that everything connects to fashion-politics, science, and pop culture; my senior paper I wrote on the correlation between fashion and faith for a capstone class (fashionable muslims, hasidic jews and catholic iconography in fashion), and a few people I met throughout my life including at Otis who really inspired me with their personal style. Most of those people have already been featured in the magazine. I realized that all the fashion magazines out there had no life to them. I wanted to create a publication that focused more on the people because that’s what makes fashion so fun. Also, from reading Ted Polhemus’ books and my Capstone paper, I wanted to expose another side of fashion and style showcasing different style tribes and fashion subcultures from all over the world, as well as useful articles for readers to discover their personal style and to be comfortable being their wonderfully weird self. Kind of like Psychology Today with a fashion twist.
What makes REFLEKT stand out compared to other fashion blogs and publications?
The first thing is that REFLEKT is not a trend based magazine, so you can keep re-reading old issues and never get bored. We promote inspiration through interesting people more than clothes, whereas other typical fashion magazine’s end goals are to advertise expensive clothes and promote celebrities. Reflekt brings a sense of fun and also deeper thinking into style without sounding too text-booky or pretentious.
Are there any particular individuals that are inspiring you now?
Right now the latest muses starring in Issue º8: Simon Sotelo, Erika Bijeljic and Franz Szony. They are all distinct in their respective creative fields (illustrator/cofounder of LA Zine Fest, artist. photographer) and I love that they are by no means ‘trendy’. Their style is completely their own and amazing. Also Diana Vreeland, the outlandish former editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She always inspires me.
Do you feel a connection to L.A.?
To be honest, when I first moved here no, not really. It was really a love/hate thing with L.A. But from meeting and working with people in the city I discovered this whole different aspect of L.A. away from the hollywood cliche, and I’ve grown to love the city a little more than before. I don’t feel the connection within the city, but when I’m traveling to different places, that’s when it hits me.
How does L.A. play into producing each new REFLEKT issue?
It’s always different depending on the issue. Sometimes it’s a location we shoot a story at, a new fashion scene discovered at an illegal L.A. party, or the ridiculously talented people I get to work with. I think because L.A. is so diverse ethnically, financially, and stylistically that it’s easy to find new content and inspiration for each issue. I like that there are so many different scenes happening all at once in the city far away from the hollywood stereotype, so it’s exciting!
If there is one thing you want new readers of REFLEKT to walk away with, what would it be?
To learn something. I want you to be inspired by the visuals, but mostly to learn that fashion and style are more than pretty pictures and expensive clothes, it’s a way of life, and in order to be stylish you must live life and discover new experiences in order to figure out who you are.
What amazing editorials can we look forward to in 2014?
For this issue we’re featuring a lot of diversity in models and a lot of up and coming talent. In Issue º8 we took some really great photos for the cover starring our latest Muses Simon, Erika, and Franz at Civic Center Studios, a story we did in Chinatown at night with newcomer plus-size model Frenchy in amazing clothes from independent L.A. designers, a gorgeous story we shot in San Francisco with transgender model Dillan Love, and an editorial based on the amazing personal style of history’s most controversial political figures! So it’s gonna be a great issue and I am so excited to show everyone!
Camay and her talented editorial staff are always working on some amazing projects. Make sure to check out REFLEKT Magazine at www.reflektmag.com and you can pick up your own copy of issue º8 at reflektmade.storenvy.com