The problem with the magazine industry isn’t that print is dead, according to Igor Ramírez García-Peralta and Michaela Dosamantes, the Millennial pair behind Solar, a new biannual Spanish language lifestyle magazine. The problem is that publishers refuse to “change their formula,” explained Solar fashion director Dosamantes. “You have to innovate. Dinosaurs die.”
Along with creative director Alex Wiederin, of design agency Buero, the duo is poised to launch Solar, a 300-page issue with original photography shot in Chile, Peru, Mexico, the U.S., the U.K., Spain, France and Germany. Set to hit newsstands on Monday, Solar targets the Spanish-speaking world, which, while vast, is an “underserved” market, according to García-Peralta, founder and editor in chief.
“The social and political importance of Spanish [language], is not represented in Spanish…Spanish is not treated as it should be,” he said. “What we want to achieve is what you have in any English speaking magazine.”
The importance of the Spanish language is reflected in the magazine’s title.
“The empire where the sun never sets, it’s from the Spanish empire even though the British claimed it,” García-Peralta noted, acknowledging, too that the magazine is meant to have the feeling of an “endless summer.”
The first issue, which retails for 15 euros, or $20, features a cover story with Spanish actor Quim Gutiérrez and Colombian singer Kali Uchis, photographed by Luis Sanchis in a set created by German artist Julius von Bismarck. There is also an article that pays homage to Federico García Lorca, a fashion shoot styled by London designer Alessandra Rich and an interview of photographer Todd Eberle by Sven Schumann.
Roughly 20,000 copies of the first issue will be distributed in newsstands and hotels in U.S. cities with a large Spanish-speaking audience, such as Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Abroad, the issue will be circulated in Mexico and Spain as well, with plans to sell it in parts of Latin America, Australia and in Korea and Japan. The second issue is set to appear in September. Solar can be purchased at solarmag.es.
García-Peralta noted that non-Spanish speaking countries would like the visual content — after all, two-thirds of the magazine is devoted to fashion, design and travel. He added that each magazine would feature select translations in English of the magazine’s larger features. By including some translated texts, the editors acknowledged they’d not only be able to speak to an even larger audience but would also be able to reach second-generation Hispanic-Americans whose first language is English.
“We want to reach a readership that’s not being reached,” Dosamantes offered. “Our [advertising] partners know there’s affluence in that market. Our magazine is not about being everywhere with people who speak Spanish…it’s about being with the right taste-makers…it’s about being able to be part of this global world.”
The first issue carries a host of high-end advertisers, including Faena, Bulgari, Missoni, Louis Vuitton and Loewe.
Garcia-Peralta served as editor at Harper’s Bazaar Art en Español, and is currently art editor at large for Nowness, while Dosamantes started at Vogue Paris and worked as a senior fashion editor at CR Fashion Book, among other jobs.
In order to bankroll Solar, the editors still juggle industry jobs, while also selling contemporary artworks that come with the purchase of the magazine. For $300, readers can buy the issue along with a limited-edition work commissioned by an artist. For the first issue, readers will receive a ceramic tile with designs by Mexican artist Jose Dávila.
Dosamantes and García-Peralta said they have more collaborations and events in the pipeline, which will not only drum up revenue but also keep interest alive for the biannual glossy.
“I think we’re part of a new guard in publishing,” said Dosamantes, who recognized the challenges of carving out a niche in the overcrowded magazine industry. “We need to create a space for ourselves where there is no space.”