The Issue Magazine

The Issue Magazine is an excellent digital fashion magazine that publishes articles about the fashion industry in Edmonton. 

Donnalee Riley, the creative director and the editor-in-chief of The Issue Magazine, shared her inspirations, hopes, experiences, and advice concerning the magazine. 

“What originally inspired me to start the magazine was my love and pursuit of fashion growing up,” says Riley. “Although I’m happily working in the marketing world, I still love and believe that fashion can become a stable profession in Alberta.” 

Another reason why Riley started the magazine is that many people in Edmonton are interested in knowing more about fashion, but they have no idea where to begin. Many of Riley’s friends and family had no clue that there are fashion events and local designers based in Edmonton.  Riley realized that there was a massive gap in getting information about fashion around the city. Therefore, The Issue Magazine was born. 

Though Riley is at the helm of the fashion magazine, she is hugely inspired by her team to work hard. 

“Lately, what has been inspiring me to strive and work hard as editor-in-chief and creative director has been my team,” Riley said. “We recently hired 17 new team members over the last two months, and seeing their creativity and passion has been such an inspiration.”

Riley also added that her next biggest inspiration is her partner in crime, Trinh Dong, the chief of the community, collaboration, and communications of the magazine. Riley said that she has spent countless late nights planning and editing the magazine with Dong. 

“She’s constantly thinking of how we can grow and continues to push us outside of our comfort zones to try new things,” says Riley. “I can honestly say she’s a huge inspiration to me every day and keeps me excited to continue on.”

Every member of the magazine works very hard. “We love implementing any ideas they might think of, and we pride ourselves on letting the magazine be a creative outlet for them to try new things, and learn through doing,” Riley added. “Every day, we are so incredibly grateful and honoured that each member of this stellar team chose us.”

Speaking of Riley’s inspiration in starting The Issue Magazine and working with the members, she shared one of her most favourite journeys working on the magazine. 

“My favourite experience so far was a photoshoot we had last September for More Than A Fad, with Kirsten Britta Photography,” Riley said. “The way the whole process unravelled was just magical to me.”

Riley stated that she spent the entire evening with Britta pulling looks and props for the shoots in the thrift store. Riley and Britta held the photoshoot at a barn and wheatfield outside the city, where they shot in the dusk while eating granola bars, playing dress-up, and blasting music. 

“I don’t know if it was being in nature or with like-minded people, but this is a memory that can still undoubtedly put a smile on my face,” Riley added. “This was definitely the point where I knew that I loved what I was doing and that I wanted to share this special feeling with everyone around me.”

One of the magazine’s missions is to put Alberta on the map as far as fashion goes.

“My biggest hope for the magazine is to hopefully champion a more prominent fashion industry in Alberta,” said Riley. She noted an absence in a variety of fashion jobs in Edmonton, which she hopes to change with the magazine. “I hope that one day The Issue Magazine can be an office for long-term employment, and encourage other designers, retailers and members in the fashion industry to open up their headquarters in places like Edmonton; and give those with an interest in fashion a shot in their own city.”

Riley stated that the magazine was founded to elevate Edmonton brands and share different success stories of the locally owned brands around Canada. 

Still, fashion seems to be a departed industry in Alberta, unless you know where to look for it. However, Riley, who previously pursued a degree in fashion and marketing, offers the following pieces of advice for people who want to pursue fashion in Alberta. 

“My greatest piece of advice to fashion pursuant(s) would be to volunteer and network; volunteer work, shadowing, and interning are a great way to get hands-on experience that textbooks might not tell you,” Riley said.

It is no surprise that fashion is a competitive industry. With that in mind, Riley offers the following piece of advice: “The world is a small place, and it pays to be kind, always be goodhearted, and stay out of gossip and feuds, especially because fashion can be a particularly competitive industry.”Anyone is welcome to send a resume if they are interested in becoming a member of the magazine. There is also more information and articles about fashion-related topics on The Issue Magazine’s website.

Image courtesy of rawpixel.

Review: Snow Warrior

I never knew bike couriers exist in Edmonton, especially in winter. I mean, how can anyone ride a bike in the middle of coldness and survive it? In most cases, I have never had a glimpse of a bike courier in my entire life in Canada. However, the short film Snow Warrior gave me an insight about the bike couriers’ job in Edmonton. 

Snow Warrior is a 2018 Canadian short documentary film directed by Frederick Kroetsch and Kurt Spenrath. On March 18, the National Film Board decided to release the movie on their website. 

The short documentary is about a local bicycle courier named Mariah. The film starts with how Mariah prepares for her job early in the morning and rides her bike in Edmonton’s cold weather. Mariah then meets her fellow bicycle couriers in a coffee shop, who also delivered packages during the cold winter. Mariah chats with Gerry, one of her fellow cyclists, who is almost 50 years old but still does this kind of job. Gerry states that when he went to the elevator earlier in the morning, a woman judged him by stating all bike couriers are disgusting and despicable. In this scene, we can see how several people stigmatize the job that they have. 

As a female courier, Mariah also talks about some of her unique experiences. When Mariah had long hair, drivers gave her space, and her friends in the job treated her as valuable. But when Mariah decided to wear baggy winter clothes and cut her hair short, she noticed that she was treated differently when she looked more like a man.

The title Snow Warrior was chosen because it is about the bicycle couriers’ struggles and how they endure the cold winter weather in Edmonton, where the temperature sometimes exceeds -40 C. The short film showed how simply riding a bike during the winter is a difficult task. The bicycle couriers sometimes struggle just to pedal their bikes, and a lot of the time, they do slip. Directors Kroetsch and Spenrath also showcased that many people tend to judge and hate bicyclists simply because they are always using roads and sidewalks. The short film portrays how cars often pass too close to bicycle couriers, not knowing how vulnerable they are. At the end of the film, Mariah asks, “Why do we do it?” 

With an eight-minute and 30 second runtime, the film successfully illustrates the bike couriers’ struggles. The couriers could slip, freeze,or even get into an accident. This short film encourages people to look at what bike couriers do and to not stigmatize their job. This career takes a lot of courage and determination, so the bike couriers are all very admirable. Snow Warrior seems to show how the career of bike couriers are efficient and eco-friendly.

On the other side, directors Kroetsch and Spenrath could have elaborated more on some of the different experiences of other bike couriers, and not only the ones that Mariah has. Such as, what pushed the other bike couriers to pick this job? Or how do they even manage to keep doing it? When speaking of the camera techniques, I feel that the directors could have lessened the slow shots of different places in Edmonton. Instead, they could have shown the other bike couriers. 

Overall, this short film is outstanding. It is an excellent short film if you want to learn something about the bike couriers’ struggles in a city with a long winter.  I will definitely recommend this to people, specifically those who are unfamiliar with the careers of bike couriers like me. Those who are interested can watch Snow Warrior on the National Film Board website.

★★★★☆ 

Cutting the post-secondary budget during the pandemic

On Feb. 25, the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance, Travis Toews announced the details of the 2021 provincial budget. The new budget includes a reduction in funding to post-secondary institutions. The budget towards post-secondary education is in line with the 2021-24 Fiscal Plan of Alberta’s Treasury Board and Finance, in which the government aims to reduce the funds for post-secondary education and universities in years of  2021-24. The provincial budget for post-secondary funding in the 2019-20 school year was 5.47 million dollars. However, the 2020-21 school year’s budget was reduced to only 5.12 million dollars. The funding for post-secondary education is significantly lower in the incoming budget, with the funding lowered to 5.05 million in 2021-22. The 2021-24 Fiscal Plan also indicated how the government plans to raise the funding back again to $5.09 million in 2022-23 and $5.11 million in 2023-24.

“The government wants schools to cover 52 per cent of their own revenues by 2023-24 up from 47 per cent in 2020-21, “ Drew Anderson from CBC News wrote in an article dated Feb. 25. 

These decreased amounts of funding present a challenge for both post-secondary institutions and students, especially during the pandemic. The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) released a statement dated March 1 regarding the budget 2021 for post-secondary education. SAMU stated in the news release that MacEwan University students’ tuition fees have inflated by an average of seven per cent across all programs for two years in a row already. The news release also included statements from president and vice president external of SAMU. 

“From certificates, to diplomas, to degrees, a university education has empowered Albertans entering and re-entering the workforce for decades, and that kind of economic stimulus is needed now,” said Sean Waddingham, the president of SAMU, in the news release. “More than ever, that investment needs to come through targeted funding for the post-secondary system.”

“We hear about the desire to make our universities into drivers of economic growth, but when it comes to making that a reality, we’re not seeing the needed support from the Government,” Ruan Bouwer, the vice president external of SAMU, said in the release. 

Just before the school year of fall 2020 started, MacEwan also sent an email to all students announcing that tuition fees would not be reduced for online classes, but the services that are not available for the students are not charged. Based on the tuition and terms fees indicated at MacEwan’s registry website, the tuition for each credit taken by Canadian students in different programs ranges from $150 to $230. If those prices are multiplied by 18 credits, the maximum credits that can be enrolled in each semester, then the overall tuition by credits would range from $2,700 to $4,140. Even if some of the services aren’t charged towards the students, the tuition fee itself is still high. The tuition for international students is significantly higher still. Since the provincial funding is reduced for post-secondary, the tuition fee is likely to  continue to increase each year for the students. 

“I think that cutting off the support for the institution is a huge problem because education is important,” Jewel Atun, a first-year psychology student at MacEwan, stated. “Without the support, many programs could be cancelled, and it’s devastating to see how limited our programs are in our province. Education needs to be supported.” 

Atun also added that it would be much more challenging to finance the students’ education while still fulfilling basic needs due to the pandemic and the lack of jobs.  

“It was already difficult to find the right program for me, so if the government cuts off the support for university, we will have less opportunity to experience different programs that could eventually suit us,” said Atun. 

Like Atun, there are many students out there who face similar difficulties due to decreased funds from the government towards universities and the massive amount of tuition fees. Having the budget cut could potentially decline opportunities for students, as well as raise tuition costs, which could lead to higher stress for current and prospective students.

Image courtesy of rawpixel.