By Julia James
Big city fashion will meet small town style in the new Square Magazine, out this fall.
Square Magazine launched its new website on Oct. 7, as a part of its efforts to rebrand and expand this digital publication.
Founded in 2019, Square Magazine, formerly known as Velvet, seeks to give Ole Miss students experience working in fashion and lifestyle publishing. The founder, Alexi Alonso, wanted to create a space for students who are interested in fashion and lifestyle content to be able to gain practical experience and work with a team.
Currently, Square Magazine has just over 1,200 followers on Instagram and a staff of 48 students. The staff is primarily made up of journalism and IMC majors, but also includes students from accountancy, art, international studies, and other programs. The staff is divided into five teams: editorial, creative, digital, business, and social media.
The staff at Square decided to change their name to represent both the Oxford Square downtown and to juxtapose themselves with the traditional meaning of square as something boring or uninteresting.
“The word square, when used as an adjective, is usually descriptive of something boring, plain simple, or unoriginal, and we are trying to flip that on its head and show that in the same way that the South can sometimes be viewed as “square”, we as students at Ole Miss are creative, unique, and have the potential to change things in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle space,” said Rachel Long, co-editor of Square Magazine.
“I think a lot of times Ole Miss journalism is equated to either political journalism or sports journalism, and there’s a whole segment of students on campus and alumni…who are interested in [fashion] but don’t really have a platform to create content that could actually benefit them down the road,” said Long.
The magazine produces a variety of content, including local trends in Oxford, having a more sustainable closet, the best restaurants around town, trends from New York fashion week, and alumni highlights. The alumni series, titled “Where Are They Now?” works to connect current undergraduates with possible mentors in the fashion and PR industries. Square’s content, including graphics, photography, articles, social media design, etc, is created entirely by students.
“The magazine’s content spans across a lot of things but focuses mainly on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, but from a college student’s perspective. It’s things that we find interesting and think our peers will find interesting,” said Long.
According to Haley Clift, the editorial director for Square, the magazine is currently working on projects relating to fall trends, throwbacks to the styles of different celebrities over time, highlighting different designers, and spotlighting fashion-conscious students.
“A lot of times the South gets a bad reputation for having its own idea of fashion…Oxford is a great place though to see trends from some of the bigger cities come to life in a smaller setting,” said Long.
Long went on to describe multiple trends that have made their way down south, including Marla Aaron necklaces. Aaron, a jewelry designer in New York City, is best known for her lock necklaces, which can range from just over 100 dollars to several thousand.
“We also have a lot of stores in Oxford specifically that are trendsetting – not only are they bringing trends down south, but they’re starting them. Stores like Village Tailor and Cicada see trends when the bigger cities start seeing them and try to implement them here.”
Long and Clift both emphasized that the magazine is in the process of building a comprehensive internal framework, a strong presence on campus and relationships with stores on the square.
Lauren Chandler, assistant manager at Jane, feels that Oxford has a unique fashion scene particularly because of its population of college students that bring in trends a small town might not otherwise see.
“[Oxford’s fashion] is always changing. Every football season always brings a new wave of fashion to Oxford,” Chandler said.
Chandler said she is excited about the social media presence Square Magazine is bringing to Oxford. “I follow them on Instagram and I really love seeing what they like.”
Clift said that she sees a big opportunity for Square to grow in the Oxford fashion scene since the interest is already there. She is focused on building readership and engagement this year. The magazine also hopes to create an annual print publication with longer feature articles and full photoshoots.
“I’m really excited to see what the editorial team, and the whole magazine really, does by working together. Though we all have our own interests and our own teams, everyone does a really great job of communicating together and working together. I think that’s really what being a part of a creative team is all about,” said Clift.