The representation of women in our culture is changing and images which don’t foster cliché are the ones which resonate with viewers today.

Riposte is a new magazine that offers intelligent content and inspirational women represented in a fresh and authentic way.

Senior Art Director Gemma Fletcher speaks with Daneille Pender, editor in chief of new magazine Riposte to find out more.

As a magazine junkie, I can honestly say that magazines on offer to women are limited, both in their scope of content as well as visual and editorial style. Riposte magazine fills that void celebrating women in a smart and honest way. Making bold decisions like an image free cover and an anti-photoshop aesthetic on all their imagery, Riposte is making waves by representing women in a real and authentic way.
I caught up with Daneille Pender, Editor in Chief of Riposte to find out what motivated her launch a new magazine which such a distinctive point of view on women.

Tell me about what motivated you to start Riposte magazine?
I was reading a lot of more male orientated titles that covered a broad range of topics and disciplines or daily newspapers. I really felt there was a gap in the market for a smart magazine for women that featured more than the usual fashion, beauty, celebrity and relationships and that was beautifully designed and produced.

What is the concept of Riposte?
A new magazine for women that is honest, smart, celebratory and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Why did you feel the way women were being represented in the media needed to evolve?
More often than not when you read about a woman in the media, regardless of the angle of the piece, you are given her age, a description of what she’s wearing, the state of her wrinkles, her marital status and her childcare arrangements. Unless the article or interview is directly related to some of these details, I’m really not interested. It feels like the way we talk to and about women needs to change. The current representation of women in the media is often clichéd and plays up to lazy stereotypes.

How do you go about selecting women you would like to feature?
We look for interesting women who have achieved great things or who challenge expectations and open doors for others. They are all different in their own ways and outlook, but they all share a boldness and fearlessness to ask questions and look for new ways of being.


What is the format of the magazine?
Five ideas, four meetings, three features, two essays, one icon – all from a range of different disciplines.

How will the design and art direction of Riposte reflect its editorial concerns?
The design is free of stylistic gimmicks and distractions, letting the content speak for itself. Our photography is unphotoshopped and doesn’t patronise the women we feature.

What influences went into the magazine, both design and tone in order to create a magazine with a fresh point of view?
Shaz Madani, our Creative Director looked back to old copies of Nova and National Geographic for design inspiration but was very keen not to recreate or rely on accepted editorial design cues. She has worked on designing a new visual language in relation to how women are represented. This is just as much about what she has left out than what she has created.

In terms of the tone we speak to the women we feature in a way that is respectful and celebratory of what they have achieved and what they have to say.


The copy focused cover was a bold decision, how did this idea come about?
We played around with a lot of different cover options; multi-image covers, one main image, different colours etc but we felt we’d seen it all before. Shaz then came up with the text based idea which focussed on who the women were, rather than what they looked like. This was very exciting but also scary and risky as there is the accepted stand point that images sell. However it was this risk and focus on what the women had to say that we found exciting and it soon became the obvious choice.

Your approach to Photography for the magazine is really exciting and refreshing. Taking a stance against the heavily retouched images we are used to seeing in the media, can you tell me how you decided to define the Riposte Photographic Style?
I think you can take a really beautiful photograph of an older woman without trying to make her look 20 years younger or patronising her. I’m bored of looking at the same type of woman, shot in the same way, wearing the same trend and styles – regardless of her age. Women are amazing and complex and diverse and we want our photography to reflect each personality without asserting an “accepted” version of womanhood.

Why do you think it is so important to avoid post production on the imagery you feature?
It feels fake and it becomes a skewed version of reality – the woman becomes the vision

You have a strong line up of female photographers which I was really excited to see, as Photography is such a male dominated industry. Was this intentional or was it more about the aesthetics of these photographers?
We try to work with women as much as possible but if a person’s style works for the feature then we’re more than happy to work with male creative’s and photographers. We worked with Nick Ballon [insert link to nick ballon on GI] and Antony Crook on our first issue who produced startling images. We’re not gender exclusive but I’m excited about providing a platform for talented female photographers and their work.

What are your hopes for the magazine going forward?
We have large ambitions for Riposte. We want to appear on global newsstands, publish books, programme events, gigs, conferences and workshops, perhaps a TV show but everything takes time, money and patience!

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