Written by Michele Truty, Managing Editor of Driftwood Magazine.
You know when you realize something’s missing in the world and it’s your job to make it? This is what happened to Holly Feral. A artist, photographer, and journalist, Holly wanted to start a travel magazine, one that explored the vegan world and its cultures, but she needed help.
This is where I come in, thanks to a post on a Portland vegan Facebook group. Through the fights over honey and second-hand leather, roommate searches, and “vegan cheese on sale” alerts, somehow I managed to find Holly’s post.
As an underemployed vegan in Portland with a deep publishing background, how could I not meet with her? A few hours—chatting over coffee and tacos—later, I was Managing Editor for Driftwood magazine. Holly’s photography and aesthetic in general was something I wanted to see in print, she liked my writing, and we were looking for the same thing in a next-level vegan magazine. One without recipes. One that didn’t judge or focus on selling veganism, but rather made veganism the default, as an obvious and accessible way to live, no matter who you are or what and where you want to be.
And it had to be crafted. We wanted thick paper that felt good in your hands and made the images pop. Driftwood magazine would not be disposable. It would be something you held onto, a coffee-table magazine, one that went beyond seasons and trends. We didn’t have any funding yet, but this idea was too good to not go for it. We were making a magazine!
Our first project, with the launch of the website, was Vegan Faces, our global portrait collection. We’re huge fans of Humans of New York, and we know vegans are just as varied—we wanted to share these snapshots of one another, to bring us together as a community and to show the world, in a thoughtful way, that we’re more than just vegan. Since it’s an open contribution (we have a few standards), it’s been so cool seeing the portraits coming in from all over.
Setting the tone for Issue One was a challenge, of course, but we were lucky to find our cast of talented contributors who were not only willing to work for hugs, but also willing to try something new. We were knocked out by everyone’s enthusiasm and capacity to rethink what a vegan magazine could be. Yes, we want to know where we can eat when we’re in a new city, but what about the rest of it? What’s the culture, the atmosphere, like? What do I need to do and what can I skip? Where do I splurge or skimp?
The arts and culture angle is crazy fun for us, bringing artists together for interviews, searching out vegan painters and illustrators and published authors—so many amazing talents out there who happen to be vegan! So many stories to share with our readers.
What drew me to Driftwood magazine—and it seems to be what is exciting others—is that it is a celebration. It’s our vegan party. We put the same care, the attention to detail, as we would if we were hosting a party. We invite our best and most interesting friends to share their stories, mixing up backgrounds and interests. And of course, we welcome omnivore readers—I mean, we all have omnivore friends—but when they come to our party, they’re going to be immersing themselves in our vegan world…and it’s a pretty great one. We don’t put out propaganda. We don’t judge. Again, it’s the vegan assumption. We’re sharing stories of an exciting, fulfilling world where you don’t have to ask, “Is this vegan?”
The reception so far has been amazing. We’ve received such fantastic feedback and have been embraced by the community. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still a baby magazine. We don’t have an office or salaries yet—hey, vegan advertisers!—but now that we’ve wrapped up Issue One of Driftwood magazine, we can focus on getting into more newsstands and reaching more readers…and of course putting the polishing touches on an Issue Two worthy of this early support.
We’ve set the bar pretty high for ourselves, but when your goal is a bigger, better celebration, man, bring it.