Teen Vogue turned 16 last month and the New York based magazine traveled all the way to Texas on June 18 to celebrate with Lightbox Jewelry, local influencers and loyal readers at the Line Hotel in downtown Austin.
Story by Jacqueline Briddell
All Photos by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Teen Vogue
More than 200 guests attended the event, including local bloggers and influencers, Austin beauty and fashion connoisseur’s and most importantly, avid Teen Vogue readers. Also in attendance, 2017 Teen Vogue "21 Under 21" honoree Saanya Bhargava, singer and actress in the upcoming “Dora and The Lost City of Gold,” Isabela Moner, CMO of Lightbox Jewelry, Sally Morrison, and of course, Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner.
“Teen Vogue was my first magazine internship and it was my first job out of school, so I’ve been deep in the archives and spent a lot of time looking through past issues,” Peoples Wagner said. “I actually knew that it was our sweet sixteen before I started this job [as editor-in-chief] and I was just really excited to do something different. Austin is fun and beautiful and has a really great fashion scene. I wanted to meet people that have supported the brand and that have something to say in the fashion and beauty space.”
Austinites lucky enough to score an exclusive invite to the party anxiously started to queue up at the venue minutes before the doors opened. Just a short ride up a private elevator on the east side of the hotel led guests and their lucky plus-ones to the P6 rooftop overlooking Town Lake.
Off the elevator, they were greeted by poster-sized prints of the most recent Teen Vogue cover stars, including Storm Reid, Lil Nas X, Camila Mendes, Maggie Rogers, and more. Then, a short walk down the pink carpet served as a good introduction to the rest of the party: all pink everything, everywhere — a birthday bash that looked like it jumped right out of MTV’s longtime reality TV series, “My Super Sweet Sixteen.”
“When I walked in, I was very surprised. Everything was very well put together. I mean, it’s as pink as it gets,” said Austin lifestyle blogger Laolu Onabanjo.
Pink balloon arrangements by The Balloon Bar hung neatly organized in almost every corner of the venue and pink pillows were effortlessly placed on the lounge chairs and couches. Guests were treated to pink mocktails, a pink-themed photo booth by Oh Happy Day, a neatly organized pink candy bar and hand spun cotton candy by Fancy Fluff, a three tier pink birthday cake and sparkly cupcakes by Honeysuckle Teatime, and music by DJ Cass&ndra. Not to mention, Lightbox Jewelry displayed its laboratory-grown diamond jewelry collection for all guests to try on and take selfies with.
Teen Vogue’s celebration certainly fulfilled every 16-year-old’s birthday party fantasies while simultaneously fulfilling the glamorous standards of a big city fashion event, which left some guests wondering, of all places, why Texas?
“I’m from the Midwest and so it was really important for me to do something in a smaller city,” Peoples Wagner said. “When I was growing up, my parents never let me go anywhere past Chicago and so it was really important for me to do events in different places [than New York] and come to our readers instead of expecting our readers to only be in big cities.”
While Austin has certainly risen the ranks with its emerging fashion scene, it doesn’t seem to place near the top of the list of places that a hotshot media company like Condé Nast would ever bat an eye for.
But local blogger Oyin Edogi thinks this is just the start. She anticipates that Teen Vogue, as well as similar publications and brands, will make more connections to Austin in the future.
“The scene of media is definitely changing,” she said. “I think [Teen Vogue] is going to be coming to Austin to this digital space. They came here for their birthday party but I think they’re also going to continue their work here.”
Condé Nast announced the end of Teen Vogue’s print run in late 2017, an almost inevitable fate affecting publications across the board. It’s a transition not all magazines can survive, but Teen Vogue seems to be thriving in the digital space. According to Similar Web, teenvogue.com has almost five million website views in May of this year, and the brand has garnered nearly 12 million followers on its social media platforms combined.
“Teen Vogue has been very active in making changes,” Onabanje said. “They’re being very cognizant of the content that they’re putting out and the power millennials have. Now, it’s not just about fun, flirty things for teenagers but it’s all about how you can positively change peoples lives.”
Since being named the head of the magazine last fall, Peoples Wagner has overseen Teen Vogue’s “relaunch” initiatives including numerous digital covers. Most recently, Euphoria and When They See Us actress Storm Reid and most recently, “Old Time Road” rising internet millennial and country music prince Lil Nas X were photographed for the front page.
Peoples Wagner said Teen Vogue is planning to announce more big changes in the coming months, and she is excited to continue to execute the third annual Teen Vogue summit later this year.