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Sneaking a Peek at High Gloss, the Newest Digital Design Mag

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In January, the world will welcome High Gloss Magazine, a bimonthly digital interiors/lifestyle publication that, much like Lonny and Rue, features clickable, photo-heavy PDF-powered pages crafted soup to nuts by a gorgeous gaggle of eight staffers and their merry band of contributors and photographers. The magazine, headquartered in Houson, Texas, has already garnered nearly 850 Twitter followers, even though the 150-page debut issue has yet to come out. We sat down with founder and editor in chief Paloma Contreras, who also runs La Dolce Vita blog, for an exclusive chat about what, exactly, this High Gloss hullabaloo is all about.

Curbed National: What inspired you to embark on this project? Was it a single-moment epiphany, a flash of inspiration, or a more drawn-out process?

Paloma Contreras: It was a combination of those things. I’ve loved writing, design, and magazines for as long as I can remember. I’d always dreamed about being a magazine editor. When Lonny came on the scene, it really made me think that this might be feasible after all. Starting High Gloss seemed like a natural progression from my blog, as well. I’ve been writing La Dolce Vita for three and a half years now and plan to continue writing it, but the idea of creating a publication from scratch, coming up with the creative direction, and working on photoshoots is a whole new challenge that I am completely loving.
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CN: Many people will say that magazines, particularly in the shelter industry, are a dying form of media. What value do you think magazines bring readers that, say, blogs and newspapers do not?

PC: There is a sense of visual inspiration in magazines that I can never seem to find in newspapers. So I’d say magazines are the perfect combination of what newspapers and blogs have to offer. They are informative, inspiring, and filled with stunning images. The difference between magazines and blogs—and I say this as a blogger first—is the fact that the content is original, whereas on a blog, that isn’t always the case.

CN: What value is there to launching an online magazine?

PC: Online magazines are always accessible; they're blogger friendly since they don’t require you to scan images, they don’t collect dust on a shelf, and there is a sense of immediacy that you don’t always get with print magazines. But don’t get me wrong, I love print magazines and High Gloss will most likely offer a print option in the future.

CN: How do you imagine people will be reading High Gloss?

PC: I think the way that the magazine is read is really dependent upon the viewer. Personally, when I read a new issue of say, Lonny, I’ll go through the entire issue cover to cover fairly quickly to see what they have in store. Then, I’ll go back and read it more slowly, focusing on the features that appeal to me most. If there is something that really resonates with me, I might go back to look at it multiple times. I know people who set aside a block of time to go through the digital magazines, while others divide it into smaller pieces.

CN: What limitations would you say online magazines have?

PC: Well, in terms of offering print options, we don’t have the ability at this point to offer print copies for the standard newsstand price of $4.99. Other than that, I think we actually have fewer limitations. Sure, we don’t have the deep pockets that Condé Nast and Hearst [publications companies] have, but we don’t have page limitations, we create our own content and feature what we want in each issue, and with a little creativity, I think we’ve been able to pull off something pretty spectacular.

?CN: Let's talk a little about content. What will the breakdown be in a typical issue of High Gloss? How largely will you focus on interior design/entertaining/decor?

PC: High Gloss is ultimately rooted in style and design. The foundation for the magazine is interior design. I’d say about 40 percent of the magazine will be devoted to that. We are dedicating about 20 percent to fashion, 10 percent to entertaining, and 10 percent to travel. Our goal is to make High Gloss “a guide to a well-lived life”.

?CN: Can you give us a sense of any major design names you're working with editorially?

PC: We don’t want to give too much away, but we worked on a very exciting interior design spread with Los Angeles designer Tia Zoldan and renowned photographer Grey Crawford at the end of September (photo above). Earlier this month, we shot another spread with Houston designer Sally Wheat, and we also have some exciting stories featuring Atlanta design mainstay Lee Kleinhelter, fashion writer and stylist Louise Roe, and a pretty major celebrity, but our lips are sealed for now.

CN: Are you concerned that Lonny and Rue have garnered so much press, both good and bad, that gaining respect in the industry will be difficult?

PC: I did, a little before we made our announcement to the public at the beginning of November, but everyone has been so amazing and supportive. I was worried that we may not be as well received because we are not the first ones out of the gate. However, I think that the readers who are already familiar with the members of the High Gloss team know what they can expect from us and they’re excited to see the first issue.

?CN: So how will your magazine be different from Lonny and Rue?

PC: Lonny and Rue have both done an excellent job with their magazines. They each do their own thing so well that there isn’t a need for someone else to come in and try to replicate what they have already done. I think we each have our own defined aesthetics and that will be clear once our first issue premieres.

CN: What is the High Gloss aesthetic, then?

PC: High Gloss veers toward the feminine, though we love masculine touches in a room. It’s all about achieving an ideal balance. Our aesthetic is glamorous, polished, sophisticated, and fun. We love color and pattern, and we do everything with the volume turned up.

?CN: What shelter magazines and blogs do you read and most admire?

PC: House Beautiful is my favorite American shelter magazine. I also love Elle Decor and am curious to see the direction it goes in now that Margaret Russell—love her!—is gone. My favorite foreign shelter magazines are AD España, Nuevo Estilo, and UK House and Garden. As for blogs, I love Elements of Style, Urban Grace, Sketch 42, Pink Wallpaper, I Suwanee, SoHaute, Material Girls, Knight Moves, and CocoCozy.

· High Gloss Magazine [official site]
· La Dolce Vita [official site]
· @HighGlossMag [Twitter]