ONBOARD MISSION: Three years in the making and a mere three months in production, Mission, the first digitally interactive philanthropic fashion magazine, is all systems go.
Officially known as Mission (For Fashion, For Beauty, For Good), the biannual pub focuses on a different charity and cause each time. True to the first edition’s Women’s Empowerment theme, founder Karina Givargisoff built the 439-page inaugural issue and media brand from the ground up. Mission, a nonprofit, will donate $1 from each purchase of the $6 magazine to a designated charity approved by Mission’s board. First up is the Lower East Side Girls Club.
A London-born stylist and creative director who once worked at WWD, Givargisoff lined up Tina Brown for the cover and Anne Slowey penned the “She Said, She Said” story. Alicia Keyes, Christy Turlington Burns, Jane Fonda, Makers founder Dyllan McGee and an assortment of other celebrities are spotlighted for their respective causes, but there is also a Youth Series featuring Navy Seal-in-training Caroline Jenkins, 16-year-old rock climber Ashima Shiraishi and “Astronaut Abby” Harrison. Having reached out to scores of photographers, ceo’s and influencers, Givargisoff said, “It’s never about putting a celebrity in because they have a new movie or new single out. For me, it’s about them having a greater calling.”
Pretty much all content with a myriad of images interspersed, the ad-free Mission also has 10 embedded videos including a Diane von Furstenberg interview, clips of Sesame Street’s first autistic character “Julia,” a sampling of video artist Dara Birnbaum’s interpretation of Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman.” Playing a video fashion shoot with New York City skateboarders, Givargisoff said, “What a great way to show fashion brands…they’re not models, they’re girls we found on the street who are part of a skateboard team. It’s got to be upbeat. There is so much doom and gloom in the world that I don’t ever want it be negative.”
Gender sociologist Cecile Nørgaard’s interview is followed by a six-page gender diversity coloring book. Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of the Scottish band Texas, has served up her newest video. Striking photographs from Max Vadukul, Mary McCartney and Patrick Demarchelier’s son Victor are in the mix. Dancer and movement creative director Stephen Galloway directed a video with the dance troupe Pretty Big Movement. And Brigitte Lacombe provided her shots of Summer Olympians from Qatar. “Her saying yes is the testament of this whole idea for Mission. I’ve never met Brigitte before,” Givargisoff said. “The support from everyone has been shocking in a great, great way. We have an open door policy. If you want to be part of this, please be part of this and help us raise awareness.”
Dogged as she was in starting the nonprofit and executing the concept, Givargisoff said for the next environment-focused issue she will be chasing technology companies to engage readers and aims to start a TED-type talk series this fall with online video seminars and podcasts, too. “There is a lot of written content — much more than there is fashion. To me, a fashion magazine isn’t just about clothes, it’s lifestyle, interactive, technology — there are so many components to it.…so we’ve covered art, music, we have a STEM section, sustainability.”
In addition to several pieces by Slowey, there are stories by Marion Hume, Nancy Macdonell and others. Fully coded from scratch, the magazine was hatched by a crew of Parsons Gen Zers from Givargisoff’s Lower East Side apartment. “I went to all the big ad agencies to have them help design it, code it, back-end development and SEO search engines, and that didn’t turn out so I just thought, ‘My team can do it….It’s been so much fun, I have to say. There have been a lot of ups and downs but it’s fun at the same time.”
Watch: Videos from Mission’s Debut Issue: