February 19, 2016

Dripping in sass, the new edition of Sister Magazine is raw, ingenious and hilarious. Flaunting a heady brew of brash fashion photography and a bucket-load of girl power, the new edition is all about sister swag: knowing who you are and what you’re about. We caught up with founder and editor, Beccy Hill at the launch party to find out more.

UO: How do you think Sister has evolved since its first issue?

Well, the first issue was a final third year project – all the content was written by me. So in the sense that other people now contribute and help me run the magazine, it’s becoming the publication that I always envisioned it being.

UO: How would you summarise Sister’s ethos in three words?

Good question. Fierce, femme, fun!

UO: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced whilst running Sister Magazine?

There’s been many. The initial hurdle was receiving the lowest mark for this project than any other project I’d done at university. That was more of an emotional hurdle as I felt so attached to it. I really felt that Sister was a reflection of who I was and what I wanted to achieve; to have someone tell me that it didn’t resonate with them and that it wouldn’t resonate with the target audience either, was really upsetting.

After that, the first proper issue had many teething problems because I didn’t save any content from university. We had to start completely from scratch in terms of layout, typefaces, designing a logo etc. Then there’s always the financial side of things – I love print, but it’s painfully expensive. Trying to make the money back is a hustle – approaching stockists, making sure they aren’t taking too much of a cut etc. I’d love to start making a profit at some point.

Oh, and for our last issue, our Art Director’s hard drive broke so we lost two days of work, which we had to put back together in one evening to meet our print deadline for the launch party. So yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s ever been easy…but I guess that makes it worth it when you achieve something massive.

UO: How did you decide on the theme SWAG for this issue?

The themes always come about really naturally; I never sit around thinking of one. Swag is a word which has been used consistently by my friends for the past couple of years – initially in an ironic way, but with time the irony has faded and it’s just become integrated into everyday chat. It’s a tongue in cheek yet wholly positive way of summing up who and what we think is amazing at the moment. It also made for great photo shoots!

UO: What are some of your favourite feminist zines to read?

There’s so many girls out there absolutely killing it in the self-publishing arena at the moment. Polyester is just incredible; they’ve achieved so much in a short space of time and are going to go on to do even bigger and better things. Achey Breaky Heart is a newcomer, but the first issue is an amazing exploration of heartbreak and we’re collaborating on something special for their next issue. I’m also really excited to see what Brighton based mag, Typical Girls will be doing next.

UO: What does swag mean for the team at Sister?

Self-love, self-care and self-worth. You can’t quite put your finger on what swag is in my opinion – it’s either something you have or you don’t. The Sister team all do, naturally…

UO: Who’s your ultimate Swag icon?

Oh my god, what a great question. I could go on for hours…at the moment I’m really obsessed with Tsai Ing-wen, the newly elected president of Taiwan. She seems like a bad bitch.

UO: Where do you want to take Sister over the next few years?

Global! I’d like to see us stocked worldwide, with a wider readership and a much higher print run. I’d also like to be making enough money to quit my day job, employ some staff and get an office. We’re also working on some merch which I think could be really cool – to turn Sister into a brand feels like the next step. I’d also love to help other girls who want to publish their own zines/publications; we ran a workshop at the feminist library last summer, so we’ll definitely be doing more events like that this year.

UO: And finally, where can we get our hands on Sister?

Urban Outfitters, of course! On top of that the Tate Modern, the ICA, a plethora of newsagents and other destinations country wide. You can also buy online through our Big Cartel store – we ship worldwide.

Images by Tean Roberts