Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Interview with Kaylene Peoples -- Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Agenda Magazine

She is a publisher. A documentary filmmaker. A jazz singer. Founder of a youth-based foundation. A network queen. And my editor!

Kaylene Peoples offered me the opportunity to be her first fashion columnist for Agenda Magazine ( in late 2004, for her second issue (which eventually turned into a staff writing position as well). I remember the day like yesterday -- just out of college and working at Nordstrom. I knew that I wanted to pursue my ideal writing career, but I never knew how to get started. So after contacting the woman I interviewed when I was an intern (really just to say thank you for being so great!), I was blessed with this question: "Do you want to be a fashion columnist for Agenda Magazine, a new online publication I'm starting?"

My life felt worthy after I said yes. Kaylene gave me the chance to set my soul free through personal talk of shopping, designers, materialism, and fashion shows. My column "Talking Chic" was born with her support and encouragement.

So, with great pleasure, I present to you a long-awaited interview with my fabulous editor and friend:

I have known you for almost 4 years now, Kaylene! You asked me to come on board as a fashion columnist, and I have been in love with Agenda Magazine ever since. So tell me how it started...

Agenda Magazine has been percolating in my mind since I was in high school. I used to read all the fashion mags from cover to back and really was just addicted. There was one thing that I found to be missing though, and it was the fact that the articles only went just so deep. I always put them down wanting to read more or learn more. I wanted to create a publication that would pull the reader in even deeper – answer all the questions. Lastly, since I am involved in filmmaking and music, I wanted something that could incorporate multi-media. And it seems that really fills that niche.

So I know that you attended NY Fashion Week this year (so jealous, which you know already). Which shows were unbelievable?

Zac Posen was incredible. Monique L’Huillier and Joanna Mastroianni stood out in regards to luxury. Jayson Brunsden really exemplified the playful side of a woman. But all the shows were really impressive. The styling, along with the pieces were perfection in their presentation – a lot if wearable garments. And the colors that popped on the runway were interesting. Banana yellow, deep purples and the smoky eyes from the 20’s and 30’s was a big hit. A lot of designers had a taste of old Hollywood in their collection. That was exciting. Of course the veterans like Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta, made a huge impression as usual.

How does LA Fashion Week compare to NY?

I have been asked this question so many times, and have really tried to be fair in my comparison, however New York is primed for high fashion and LA is more suited for “Hollywood.” And it seems like that is where the trend is going on the West Coast for fashion. Since I have been attending for over 4 years (I only missed one season a couple of years ago), there have been some talented designers: Sue Wong, Custo Barcelona, Rami Kashou, Kevan Hall, etc… The list is endless. However, within the last 3 or 4 seasons, it seems like LA has been more interested in the celebrity side of things. For example, one season Metro 7 showed. Fashion House cast took up ¼ of the front row and they even showed clips from select episodes. Metro 7 is an in-house line from Wal-Mart. I can’t imagine seeing something like that in Paris, London, or New York. LA designers have a tendency to design their shows with surprise celebrity models: Bai Ling and Paris Hilton were featured in shows.

But in the same breath, you have designers like Christian Audigier, Louis Verdad, Elsie Katz Couture, St. John, Lords, and Lloyd Klein who have graced Smashbox’s catwalk with their exquisite collections. There is no denying that there is phenomenal talent in LA. But what ends up on the runway during Fashion Week doesn’t always reflect that. The lineup for Fall/Winter 2008 is filled with unknowns and the big ticket names are scarce. It will be interesting to see what Jenna Jameson’s “PETA” and the Robin Antin’s “Pussy Cat Dolls” have to offer the fashion world.

How does Agenda Magazine stand out among the various online publications that also deliver couture fashion coverage?

I really feel that we have tried to spotlight not only couture, but ready-to-wear, eco-friendly designs, and emerging designers. In the past we have shown complete collections of the Fashion Weeks from LA, San Francisco, and New York. I’d like to incorporate international designers too. The format of the webzine is evolving daily, so as we fine tune, you will be seeing even more diversity in fashion. But regarding couture, I feel that we have been successful in showing those collections as well. But the world is diverse and I’d like Agenda to be able to reach out to the luxury side of our readers of all income levels. So those who cannot afford an atelier can still reap the benefits of their version of couture with some of the newer designers we feature.

Our first meeting was when I was still in college in '03, and I actually interviewed you when I was interning at Hollywood Scriptwriter. And over the fabulous breakfast you made me, we discussed the indie film you were producing. How did you jump from filmmaking to a fashion magazine in such a short period of time?

Once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur, but I saw the need. And I had the resources available to make it happen. It was floating around in my head for quite some time as I mentioned before. If I could incorporate fashion, film, and music in a magazine I’d find a way. And because of the Internet, I was off and running! It provided the audience, and that was all I really needed.

You are one of the busiest, most incredibly talented women I know, tell me about some of your other current projects you're working on...

Well, Agenda Magazine has founded Agenda Foundation. It is an opportunity for foster care youth to be able to learn filmmaking. We are planning our first fundraiser sometime this year. I am producing a couple of film projects, one of them is a documentary and you will be seeing corresponding interviews in the mag once we are ready to release the documentary. Also, you mentioned about my jazz music, which is my passion; I am cultivating my music daily. There are some exciting things in the works, but it’s too soon to mention yet.

Thank you Kaylene! I look forward to growing with If there are writers out there who want to contact you for an internship or for a contributor position, what should they do? Are you currently looking for people?

Thank you Elana, you are a huge asset to Agenda and have been a big part of our developing webzine. Currently we just added a fitness columnist, Anthony Heredia, and we will be incorporating Beth Shaw of YogaFit in that fitness section on a regular basis. At this moment, we aren’t really looking for writers, but that will probably change mid-year, as there are going to be some major changes. We always welcome interns. To intern with us, please send resumes to However, if somebody would like to contribute, please feel free to contact us, because you just never know and we are always happy to hear from talented journalists.

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Kaylene Peoples (That's her in each pic. Last one also features designer Tracy Reese.)


Anonymous said...

Very nice article. Kaylene is certainly very multi talented not to mention brilliant as well! Goooo Agenda Mag!


Anonymous said...

How wonderful to learn of all the things you have going beside and your music, both of which are powerful. I have a couple of your CD's and follow some of the columns in the webzine, and continue to be impressed with your talent and your growth. I must admit that I am so very proud of you for starting Agenda Foundation. Helping others, especially the youngsters, is quite admirable, and I wish you well. I will be looking forward to that fundraiser later this year. In the meantime, much continued success and God's great fortune.