Silky Way Issue 1 and how it all began

I think there's no better way to start this new blog venture of mine than posting about the whole thought process behind the idea of Silky Way. Are you guys all ready for this? Because I certainly am! Let the journey begin!

Silky Way's first baby steps

For those who are unfamiliar with what Silky Way is - it's a magazine that allows the reader to understand the vibe of the place and encourages to experience, not just see it (you're more than welcome to read more about it here).

The magazine started off as a Final Major Project idea for my degree in Graphic Communication. The decision to make the very first issue about Tokyo was not only dictated by my big passion for Japanese pop-culture and love for the city itself though. I knew it's bound to happen when one of my friends, for probably around the millionth time, asked me to give her tips for her upcoming trip to Japan's capital. At that point, I have just returned from my 4th visit to this brilliant city and the urge to summarise everything I have experienced was stronger than ever.

As someone who speaks Japanese and can read and write enough of it to actually get by on their own, I understand why many of my friends come to me for such advice. Also, speaking from my own experience, there are many things I wouldn’t have tried or seen in Tokyo if I didn’t know any of the language. That's simply because I wouldn’t know it’s actually available or wouldn’t have enough of cultural knowledge to be aware of how popular some activities in Japan are.

When I first discovered how amazing traditional Japanese sweets shops are, 2015

I’ve always wanted to encourage people to take the risk and try immersing themselves in Tokyo’s vibe. There are no limits to what Japan's capital can offer and I personally find the city very rewarding. The main concept behind Silky Way started to take shape once I've realised that everyone deserves to at least have the chance to get creative with their traveling. I wanted to show how to enjoy the atmosphere and provide with opportunities to explore!

Initial research and East Asian magazines

Once I have written myself a little 'Silky Way Manifesto' I immediately dived right into the research stage (oh man, I absolutely love a good research). After looking at some ‘cool’ and unusual travel guides, my findings were that when looking for something less 'tourist-experience-focused' it’s often either a ‘hipster guide’ or a ‘cheapo guide’ (eg. Tokyo Cheapo, which is very good by the way). All the guides, even the more quirky ones, still concentrated on giving directions to places, rather than offering means to discover them. I felt like they only covered, but not communicated, what I wanted to talk about in my publication.

I knew I wanted Silky Way to be a magazine straight away, that was never a question. I wanted to make its visuals similar to those of a fashion magazine. Not VOGUE style, more like NYLON. Something stylish but not luxurious. The goal was to visually set my publication apart from a typical travel guide format. But on top of all that, I just love quirky fashion magazines' aesthetics. My main inspirations at that stage were NYLON JP and other Asian magazines, such as Korean High Cut and Chinese YOHO!Girl. I was also really into the visuals of a Polish quirky fashion & lifestyle magazine called K-Mag.

Me in the NYLON Japan bus at one of their pop-up spaces in Tokyo, 2015

And this is how all the gears were working in my head last year when I first started working on this project of mine. It took me a while to finally be able to put Silky Way's essence into the right words and I have to say that talking to strangers actually helped a lot with textualising it. The idea had to be somehow tangible in order for it to work! I hope that this little write up has shed some light on my work and how it all began. Soon I'll be posting more about the design process of the 1st issue!

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