This past summer we sat down with writer, photographer, and creative entrepreneur Sofia Nebiolo to talk printed matter in a digital world, living as an expat in Paris, and the independent publication she co-founded, The Skirt Chronicles.
Give us a quick bio – a little introduction to you and your background.
Born in Manhattan, I am 28 years old and have been living in Paris for the last ten years. I have a background in journalism, having worked for publications such as WWD and Conde Nast Traveler and various independent magazines. I spent two years at Givenchy recreating their archive department and then moved on the create my own fashion consulting firm which helps to bridge different cultures and markets in the industry. I continue to contribute to independent publications and often write about my love for traveling and discovery.
Tell us a bit about how The Skirt Chronicles came to be and its mission.
The Skirt Chronicles is a project built out of passion and friendship. It was started to encourage reading, learning and sharing. Myself and two other beautiful women, Sarah de Mavaleix and Haydée Touitou had an idea to make a publication that one could read and continue to enjoy as time passed.
What’s behind the name?
The name was inspired by a vintage publication that Sarah had found called Skirt. To me it represents the fact that it is a publication founded by three women however the conversation is open to all and everyone.
The Skirt Chronicles is a very distinct publication and stands out for its focus on the written word, but also the way it combines fashion and the arts. We really love the variety within the content – how do you come up with the stories and ideas? Do you personally have a process?
It is really a collaborative process and we work as a team to suggest, curate and decide on the topics for each issue. We often like to work from inspiration of colors or places to help us ground each issue. However, we do not necessarily communicate a theme to contributors or readers. It is always fun to see a few surprises or hear when a reader finds the thread.
Is there a piece you’ve worked on that really stands out as your favorite? Or a subject matter that you find yourself coming back to again and again?
There are two pieces that I think I feel closest too. The first piece I wrote about nun’s making beauty products. I am really inspired by traditions of beauty and wellness and how different cultures interpret these practices. I also recently published in our latest issue an excerpt of a piece I had written about my experience at Givenchy. I hope to continue this into a full-length piece and a book one day!
Within the news-in-140-characters-or-less, Instagram scrolling, twitter-attention-span world we live in now, where do you think print fits in?
The Skirt Chronicles is an opportunity to slow down and step back from all this. It may take a few turns to get through the entire publication and that is just fine, that is our intention. We are inspired by artisans and tradition and want to communicate this through our approach to consumption.
Why do you think the voices of small, independent publications are important in this kind of media landscape?
It is important to hear a different conversation and a different agenda. Today’s media is influenced by their financial support and this can cause great censorship. Independent publications have the opportunity to speak freely and openly about topics they choose.
Are there things that are important to you, specifically as a female owned company?
What is important to me is equality and respect, whether we are a female owned company or not.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge of producing a printed, independent publication?
For me it was learning and understanding the publishing side. I had come from a journalism background, however, working with our wonderful printer Deux-Ponts, a company existing since 1935, has opened my eyes to the world of printing, its importance and sometimes its challenges. We are also so happy to be able to count on our stockists and readers for their support but there is also a concern for support from traditional avenues such as brands who seem to find more importance in digital advertising rather than printed medias.
When you’re not working on The Skirt Chronicles, what are you up to?
I am traveling! I love to explore and discover new countries and cultures. It is important for me to keep learning. This year I traveled to Brazil for the first time and it was a wonderful introduction to a beautiful people full of creativity and light.
You’re a born and bred New Yorker, but have moved to Paris – has this affected your work or your worldview?
I have a very broad and open view of the world. I do not feel tied to one place or that I have one national identity. I think we are all people of the world and with that vision I hope to continue to have engaging and open interactions with those I encounter.
As chronic collectors, we’re always interested in people’s cherished belongings, personal talismans, and collections – do you have any special possessions?
The older I grew the less things I collected however there are still some things that I could never part with. I love to have pieces of my friend’s art at home. It is a reminder of the community that I have around me, near or far. I also have quite an extensive library as books are a big part of my life. There are some collectable items such as my COMME des GARÇONS Six magazines or signed books from Hubert de Givenchy that I will keep forever.
Our requisite fluffy beauty question to wrap things up – do you have any unusual beauty or skincare secrets you’re willing to share?
I am in LA right now soaking up all the new beauty regimens but there are some things that I will always stick by. I am a firm believer that what you eat affects how you feel. I have cut a lot of dairy from my palate and I think that this has had a major effect on my skin and overall being. I also started washing my face with lime infused olive oil but I will have to let you know how that goes!