What if your life doesn’t fit in with the media? Magazine for Young Girls is an escape through print
Founded by Wei Ting Wong and Ji Soo Eom, this new publication is a space for those who never felt there was something catered to them growing up.
- Jyni Ong
- 3 August 2020
Magazine for Young Girls is a new, and very different kind of magazine. Not only for girls who feel young at heart in the broadest of senses, this new publication presents the possibilities of what a “young girl” can be. Regardless of physical age, gender, ethnicity or race, the magazine – founded by Wei Ting Wong and Ji Soo Eom – offers a space for young creatives who may feel overlooked by mainstream discourses. Through a lens of fashion, beauty and pop culture, Magazine for Young Girls shares stories from diasporic communities around the world, in turn; sharing skills, knowledge and guidance amidst a global community intent on uplifting others.
It all started on a road trip to Arizona where Wei was provided with much-anticipated space to think. Having worked in London as a stylist for the past few years, her frustrations with the industry finally crystallised into something that could be expressed in a new kind of magazine. Fashion magazines are predominantly aimed at young women, but don’t always consider a global perspective beyond Western ideals. The cultural context of many publications, Wei explains, is often “flattened and packaged into this really shiny, easy answer which I thought was a little patronising”.
As a young 15-year-old, the founder remembers looking to magazines to discover what those in their mid-20s were doing. She discerned that magazines, therefore, set examples for the future generations and act as a kind of precursor for what is to come. “The ubiquity of consuming Western media when you’re originally from another culture adds another layer of complexity that you have to grapple with too,” she adds. “The impact is there whether we like it or not and I’d rather accept and acknowledge that.”
With this in mind, Magazine for Young Girls slowly started to come together. Creating a largely female environment as the backdrop to the magazine, she kicked off the process by thinking about the TV shows and public figures that inspired her as a youngster. The likes of Faye Wong, Mia Thermpolis from The Princess Diaries, Zhang Ziyi, Claymore, Maggie Cheung and Card Captor Sakura, came to mind. Individually disparate but “gutsy in their own way,” such cross-cultural references poured into the spreads, making Magazine for Young Girls a multi-dimensional expression of conversations.
As for the design, Ji Soo explains, “I wanted to create a visual language that I couldn’t find anywhere else that was also relatable to people in my generation.” Over on their Instagram for instance, the creative team released photoshopped memorabilia featuring the likes of the LG lollipop flip phone, a diary complete with lock and key and a Baby G watch” joyful moments of nostalgia that anyone tuned into Asian culture can relate to. The creative process in making the inaugural issue of the mag thus became a way for creatives from a myriad of different backgrounds to creatively express themselves under one issue.
Magazine for Young Girls quickly became a space for those who never felt there was a magazine catered to them in their youth. “When I was growing up,” Wei says on the matter, “I felt that my experiences didn’t feel legitimate and I was unsure all my teenage angst was normal. I want the magazine to feel like a bit of an escape for young girls – and also to show that your life doesn’t have to fit into what the media, Instagram or your friends or family tell you it should be – wherever you are from.” That being said, though the title of the magazine says otherwise, this is in fact a magazine for everyone – young or old, female or not.
The first issue, focusing on feminine tropes, unpacks such ideas. While it’s taken until adulthood for Ji Soo and Wei to embrace and respect their own cultures, ultimately, “this publication can be a space for other girls to feel comfortable being themselves.” Ji Soo, on the other hand, grew up thinking “Western music was better” and “K-pop uncool” even though she loved the music. There was a gap in what she consumed versus what was celebrated around her; and Magazine for Young Girls acknowledges this in its diversity of content.
Charmaine Poh asks different women to reflect on their childhood growing up in Singapore in a photo essay two years in the making. Alysha Lee interviews A Sai Ta, Marie Yat and Carolyn Yim; investigating a variety of design pathways. Florence Omotoyo takes full control of the music features in this first issue, grouping the artists Arlo Parks, LCYTN, Carla, Rachel Chinouriri and Chantal Adams in an unexpected but honest segment. Elsewhere in the mag, Choi Min Seok satirises South Korean beauty standards in another feature while Mary Kang questions the concept of the family through the format of family portraits.
Pulling contributors from locations and disciplines far and wide, Wei comments on the diversity of featured artists: “I didn’t want it to be the same combinations of people we keep seeing, we wanted to be able to draw connections between people we don’t usually think of.” Bringing this range of stories together under a unified graphic identity created by Ji Soo, all in all, the resulting product is a global harmony of accessible yet innovative graphic design. “I wanted to have this constant play of backgrounds,” Ji Soo finally goes on to say, “using drops and shadows for our idea of a multi-layered ‘girl’ protagonist who can be portrayed from many different angles. It’s kinda literal,” she says on the pared-back, highly considered design, “but there we have it.”
GalleryMagazine for Young Girls
Creative Direction by Min Seok Choi, Photography by Sung Min Kim, Hair and Makeup by Minseok Choi, modeled by Jiyo
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.