Not long after stylist Erin Walsh and her fashion photographer husband Christian Högstedt had a child, they decided that they wanted to create something else together.
The result is Sbjct, a new online journal that features interviews with designers, celebrities, photographers and other personalities. The accompanying spreads look, not surprisingly, very professional. Walsh, who got her start in the fashion department of Vogue, is best known for her work with celebrity clients such as Kerry Washington and Sarah Jessica Parker. Högstedt, a Swedish fashion photographer, studied under Mario Testino and has an impressive portfolio.
For Sbjct’s inaugural subject, the site turned to Parker, who gives her thoughts on topics like success, politics, media and ballet. The accompanying photos and video show her driving a vintage station wagon, reading “Hag-Seed” by Margaret Atwood and gazing thoughtfully at the ocean.
“We have access to all these wonderful kinds of creative minds and creative people,” Walsh said. She enlisted the editorial help of Phoebe de Croisset, a former special events coordinator at Vogue. The pair knew each other from their days as 22-year-old assistants at the magazine. “We were so cute,” de Croisset said with a laugh.
De Croisset, who has the title of editorial director and founding partner, conducts the interviews. Högstedt has the role of design director and the photo credits. Walsh is the creative director. And founding partner and managing director Laura Kim brought her background in digital marketing to the venture. Walsh credits NR2154, the husband-and-wife design firm responsible for the site’s branding and design, with encouraging her to take her time to figure out the identity of the site. Over the next six months, she said, they will start discussing advertising strategy for the self-funded site.
“We approached it as a passion project and weren’t sure what shape it was going to take,” she said. “We started, as most people do, with our networks and approaching people who had been inspirations to us along the way.”
Parker, as Walsh explained in an editorial note, is responsible for the name of the project, and the idea of leaving the vowels out, one evening in Lima.
The idea behind Sbjct is to give all those creative people a platform to talk about the subjects that interest them, in a straight Q&A format. “Anybody we feature, say it happens to be Sarah Jessica, we are not trying to give a synopsis of her as a person. She’s not the subject, her passion is,” Walsh said. “It’s a place for her voice, we aren’t trying to sum up who she is in an interview.”
But, according to Walsh and de Croisset, Sbjct is more than just a platform to publish interviews with fashionable personalities.
“I tend to sound lofty with this, because I want it to be big enough to change the world,” Walsh said. “On the night of the election, I told my husband that maybe this would be even more substantial than I realized because everybody is an activist now. Everybody wants their voice to be heard.”
“Frankly, I think we are all waking up a bit, just given the events of the past few months,” elaborated de Croisset. “I think we are tapping into that inner passion, whether it’s to create art or to fight for female reproductive rights, whatever it is, just giving that passion a platform.”