The first ‘Monday’ in May would seem as auspicious a day as any to meet the team behind Astrophe Magazine. As founder Simone Taylor and her co-publishers, Valentina Saldouzi and Alex Officer, leaf through old issues in front of the Met Gala livestream, their devotion to their craft and pop culture takes full flight. A lightning fast ability to identify references and celebrities – even those hidden underneath embellishments – is evidence of a finely attuned flair for stargazing.
“The three of us grew up surrounded by music, film and pop culture, which really helped form a love of storytelling from a young age,” explains Saldouzi. That lifelong passion is evident in the pages of Astrophe, which Taylor co-founded in 2016 – initially as a zine, before solidifying the title as a magazine and digital offering in 2019 – to remedy the lack of diversity and representation typical of print and digital media.
“We couldn’t see any avenues for people like us to contribute our work”, Taylor says. How then to encapsulate that mission in a title that expresses that considerable ambition?
“’Astrophe’ means ‘to turn to the stars’ and ‘the feeling of being stuck on Earth’, which we really felt suited a magazine that includes people who don't always feel as though they belong."
The answer is a publication that’s almost entirely submission-based with the intent to platform its contributors regardless of their background and creative status. A clear point of pride is that "99% [of contributors] are women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+”, says Officer. They also cite the making of their fifth and most recent issue as their most significant, owing to the ability to collaborate together for the first time in person.
“It really felt like we were finally able to do things we hadn’t previously been able to do”, says Saldouzi. “The first few issues felt a lot like experiments - really trying to find our niche and what worked.”
That desire to continuously evolve their proposition between annual print drops meant Astrophe required a digital platform that allowed them to easily and frequently update their readership while also responding to their ongoing need to elevate their approach.
“We first chose Squarespace because of its features”, Saldouzi says, reflecting on why the team chose the website building and ecommerce platform to bring their print offering to life in a digital space. “We really needed something that was dynamic and functional on both mobile and desktop […] Squarespace allows us to easily upload the products for pre-sale, we then print, pack and ship the orders seamlessly.”
The Astrophe team will be participating in the Art & Design Fair, powered by Squarespace. Squarespace will also host a workshop, titled Cultivating Your Creative Flow State, as part of the Semi Permanent Festival of Creativity & Design. The one-hour session will demonstrate how Squarespace’s suite of products helps professional designers operate in their flow state to create more immersive brand experiences.
The team also credit the Squarespace platform with legitimising their brand, enabling them to “grow from a small brand in Australia to having a legitimate online presence internationally. One of the most important things that their Squarespace website has brought to their business is a connection to international audiences, says Officer. All three express astonishment that their labour of love is now available in Paris, New York, London and Berlin, amongst other cities.
As Astrophe looks to the future, the team agree that their strong desire to parlay their passion into a full-time occupation is tempered in part by the patient, easy-going attitude that has guided them to success thus far.
“Astrophe is a celebration of beauty, talent, and creativity in every shape, colour, gender, and sexuality”, says Officer. “We believe in the beauty of diversity and want our featured artists, work, stories and images to empower and inspire you."
Visit squarespace.com/semipermanent and enter promocode SEMIPERMANENT at checkout by 11.59PM AEST on June 30 2023 to receive 20% off your purchase of a new subscription plan for a Squarespace website. Discount applies to the first payment of an annual or monthly website plan, but does not apply to future recurring payments. Discount may not be applied to previous purchases, subscription upgrades, combined with any other offer or applied after June 30 2023 to purchases made before expiration of this offer. Use of Squarespace is subject to the Squarespace Terms of Service posted at https://www.squarespace.com/terms-of-service.