Founded in 1999 at the University of Michigan, SHEI started out as an Asian pop culture magazine with the first few issues consisting of mostly article-based material and little photography. Since then, it has evolved and become more fashion focused. In 2013, SHEI was inducted into the University’s Student Publications Department as the first new student publication in more than 25 years and was named one of StyleCaster’s top 15 college fashion publications. DG3 spoke with Anna Fuller, the current Editor in Chief of SHEI Magazine, to see what all the fuss is about.
Let’s start with the five Ws:
College-aged students, young professionals interested in fashion and popular culture, people of all ages who appreciate artfully done photography and well-written journalism.
Each issue has a theme. For example, the most recent was "The Movement Issue." The shoots/articles were on topics such as fabric movement, day to night looks, music movements, up and coming designers/brands, physical movement, etc. In general, our magazine covers current fashion trends, articles on local and national topics including music, social trends and popular culture movements.
We sell our magazine locally, at SHEI-sponsored events and at our office on campus. We started selling the magazine online, but we are currently working on revamping the website. Our goal for the coming months is to get five businesses or retailers near campus to sell the magazine in-store.
We produce two issues per academic year—the first comes out in December, the second in May.
People read SHEI Magazine because the University of Michigan does not have any fashion-based programs, therefore there is a large gap in resources available for students to access high-fashion content. Our staff consists of almost 150 students. Readers in the Ann Arbor community are stunned to find out that our publication is 100% student run. The quality and content of each magazine is timelessly beautiful.
DG3: Tell us about SHEI and your role with the magazine.
Anna Fuller: We have nine departments, each consisting of between 10-30 members: photo, fashion, literature, graphic design, finance, sales, marketing, public relations and web. Creative, branding and business are executive positions, along with EIC.
Most board positions are one-year terms. My term is from May 2014-May 2015. Prior to EIC I held two executive positions, Fashion Editor (Sophomore year) and Brand Development Director (junior year). My freshman year I was a fashion team member and I had the opportunity to be the head fashion assistant for SHEIfest, our end of year fashion show.
From the departments I listed above (9 teams), any student is welcome to join any team they want, no experience necessary, though we do have an application. I loved being on the fashion team and being Fashion Editor because I love being on set for shoots, styling models and working with the creative team.
People are mislead when they hear "fashion magazine". Students think they don't have anything to contribute if they are not "fashionable" but that is not the case. Because we are completely student run we need people with all different skills, from photography and graphic design, to sales and finance. I like to say "there is a place for everyone at SHEI!"
DG3: Can people outside the university setting get the magazine?
AF: The magazine will be available online in 2015. As a new student publication, all our finance must be done through the University, so we are working on getting all the kinks out on the business end.
DG3: What does a typical issue look like?
AF: Each issue usually has six photo shoots (6-12 page spreads) and six feature articles (500-1,000 words). We work with many of the local retailers and salons to outfit models and provide hair/makeup. We've also worked with regional/national businesses, including Shinola, CAT Footwear, Hush Puppies, The Vintage Twin, and we have plans for expanding our network to more high-end retailers. Our website does more local features—street style, store highlights, best-dressed students, restaurant reviews, etc.
DG3: What are you trying to provide to your audience with the magazine?
AF: As mentioned, the University of Michigan does not have a fashion program and Ann Arbor has less of that big-city feel where new styles flourish, like New York or even Chicago. SHEI provides the community with an outlet for fashion, innovation, creativity and self-expression.
DG3: You mentioned that StyleCaster named SHEI one of the top 15 college fashion publications. Congratulations! Tell me a little about that and how it's helped SHEI.
AF: I'm not sure how StyleCaster made their selection of magazines, we weren't even notified until someone saw it online. The recognition has been great for SHEI—our online presence is expanding every day—we have more web viewers than ever before! I've also done interviews with Her Campus and College Fashionista that has given SHEI a lot of additional press coverage.
DG3: Does SHEI's website have a blog and if so, how has that helped the magazine?
AF: We are in the process of relaunching our website and transferring from a blog-formatted layout to one that is more user friendly and organized based on content and subject. Our marketing and PR teams this year have been rock stars on our social media outlets—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Tumblr. We have built a strong team of writers, photographers and stylists to add new content to the website everyday. I'm really impressed by how much our online presence has grown in the past year.
DG3: Can you tell me anything else about SHEI that I might have missed?
AF: Only current U of M students are on the SHEI Magazine Staff (including our models) – that's what makes us so unique! In addition to two magazines per academic year, SHEI hosts a number of events, such as The State Street Fashion Show—in partnership with the State Street Association of Ann Arbor, Launch Parties for each new issue, SHEIFest (fashion show), Our Annual Charity event, and the Lily Grace Cosmetics Fall Fashion Preview.