Austere Magazine: Changing the Future of Print, If Finals Don't Get in the Way

Creative collaboration comes naturally to

Austere Magazine

's co-owners Natasha Stoked and Nikki Crouse. Friends since childhood, the pair knew early on that they wanted to convey ideas as a profession. So while others piddled away their formative years, the future business partners spent theirs experimenting with Photoshop and developing a multimedia skill set.

Now, both are enrolled full-time in UNT's advertising program, but they're not letting that coursework cock-block them from getting started. In fact, they're on track to overthrow existing print bastions -- as long as finals don't get in the way.

After commandeering the talents of students/friends Vicky Andres and Gabriella Losada, the quad identified a weakness in available print and online media. They noticed that nobody was covering the area's underground fashion and music scene the way they'd like, so they filled the gap with their own, glossy remedy.

The finished product is an ambitiously designed, beautiful piece of work: A landscape-oriented rectangular magazine filled with wide-eyed narrative. Visually, Austere's anchor lies in its avant-garde photography, even the magazine's website is an attractive blend of stylized data.

This Friday night, Dallas gets a closer look at the thing when Austere's Third Issue Release Party detonates at an unassuming Park Lane soap shop.

Rooted in the same DIY ethos as zine culture, Austere takes the presentation further: It's polished, and accompanied by online video interviews which gives the self-published bimonthly a remarkably professional appeal.

To achieve the aesthetic they wanted, the women decided it must appear different than other available rags, so they shaped their issue accordingly. When they found that print shops had no model to base their elongated rectangular design off of, Austere's staff was not deterred. Instead, they got to work, hand-binding hundreds and hundreds of issues. Their calluses paid off: this read is uniquely its own.

One of the most enticing things about their take on the project is its ability to speak to its respective market. Austere's online video interviews are designed to spoonfeed print material to an audience of increasingly picky visual eaters. "People get intimidated by text-heavy things and don't necessarily want to read it," says Nikki Crouse. "Then they see a video interview and get a glimpse of someone's personality -- they want to learn more."

The issue being released on Friday is fashion-rich and laced with information about live shows spanning the next two months. The bash honoring it is a black-and-white themed affair, going down at Soap Hope, a local retailer that gives 100% of its excess revenue to non-profits benefiting women in poverty.

The night also features photography by Nicollette Mollet, Kalan Briggs, Danny Motta, Cameron Phan, Jessie Kuruc, and Deanna Renee, and clothing by labels Haus of Shay, Everyday Noble Clothing and Lafleur Depuissance. Live music by Dustin Cavazos, The Hi-Yahs, Ella Minnow, Mary Walker and DJ Zack Knight will rattle your drums while live art by Melodi McCauley, Zarina Kay and printers Triple Threat Press add the ocular MSG. It runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. but you must RSVP on Austere's event page if you want to get in the door. The staff extends the same quality of management to their guest list as they do their publication.

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