UNC sophomore Alexandra Hehlen has always had a passion for writing about fashion. When she was in high school, she started writing a fashion column for the teen page of her local newspaper in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Although her column was written for teens, it appealed to people of many ages.
“I hadn’t realized it, but something I was doing with my writing was making fashion accessible to everybody,” Hehlen said. By the time she graduated, Hehlen had written almost 70 fashion columns.
Now, as the editor-in-chief of Coulture, Hehlen is creating a new standard for fashion magazines.
The first issue of Coulture, a fashion and lifestyle magazine that aims to make fashion accessible to everyone, will be released today.
The magazine’s mission statement states that the publication aims to push back against traditional beauty standards, rather than aligning with today's typical beauty expectations.
Hehlen said she assumed that fashion would remain a large part of her life when she came to college, but she was disappointed by the lack of fashion publications or clubs.
“I very quickly realized that without having my fashion column and without doing something fashion related, I felt creatively stifled,” Hehlen said. “I felt that there was a void on campus that needed to be filled.”
Hehlen worked with Remington Remmel, who later became the magazine’s Deputy Editor in Chief, to plan the magazine. In May, she announced the magazine and opened up applications for staff positions. By the end of the summer, she received 60 responses.
Remmel, a UNC sophomore majoring in business, said the magazine would not have been possible without Hehlen’s hard work.
“She’s very driven and passionate,” Remmel said. “This would not have happened if Alex didn’t really want it to happen.”
Hehlen said fashion can be a way to empower women. Over the summer, she worked at Dress for Success, a nonprofit that provides professional interview clothes to women who can’t afford them. Hehlen said that as soon as the women she dressed put on the interview clothes, they changed.
“They walk with confidence, they have a spring in their step, they feel like they can rule the world, and I think that’s amazing,” Hehlen said. “Clothing can have such a big impact.”
Hehlen said that Coulture is different from other fashion magazines because it challenges beauty standards. Readers should expect global and empowering content in the magazine’s first issue.
“College students are being bombarded by unrealistic beauty standards through social media and magazines,” Hehlen said. “When you’re exposed to stuff like that all day, it can become so unhealthy for body image.”
UNC student Sarah Gora said that the magazine’s use of UNC students as models appeals to her.
“I like that they made it relatable,” Gora said.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.