grab an exclusive sneak peek at the new issue of ‘ladies of leisure’

Head inside the LOL empire – a world built on good times, best mates and very little sleep.

by Wendy Syfret
17 March 2017, 3:07am

When Savannah Anand-Sobti and Sally Tabart launched their zine Ladies of Leisure a few years ago, they had no idea it would spin out to be the beloved staple it is today. What began as a small project between the two Melbourne based creatives, and a way to celebrate the women they loved, has since gone on to expanded our expectations of what an independent publication can be and achieve.

While they still maintain a focus on young women, connections, relationships and community, they've moved well beyond their skinny — but beloved — first issue. Today the LOL paper empire also includes a cult digital presence, several runs of professional and personal development workshops and some of the freshest merch going.

But most importantly, over (almost) three issues the sunny besties have created one of the most inclusive, supportive and active networks in Melbourne. Across the next couple of weeks they'll be putting issue three online and launching the physical copy — but before they do, they were kind enough to give i-D a special sneak glimpse at what they've been working on.

Guys, congratulations on issue three! Tell us, what feels fresh about this one?
Sally Tabart: Almost everything! We have so many new contributors from all over the world, and I think the content of this edition really shows an evolution from small scale zine to a publication that is more established and sure of itself. It's a completely new look and feel for us - particularly with this edition LOL is really textural. Our visual content goes from scanned risograph prints to full bleed images to illustrations - it's kind all over the place but in a good way, as it reflects the diversity of content.

It does feel like this issue marks a new era for LOL, what were you wanting to bring to it this time around?
The most important part of bringing edition three together was to include a much broader range of different voices than we have in the past. We have so many ongoing and evolving conversations about what we can do to improve, and we knew we had to really step it up this time. Although LOL is an intensely personal project for us, I want everyone to be able to relate, connect, and see themselves reflected in it. That has really been the driving force for this edition.

From your point of view, how do you feel LOL has changed?
Initially LOL was started as a way to profile and showcase works and words of the young, creative women we were surrounded by. I think while at our core we've remained the same, our understanding of what that means and how to communicate it has certainly evolved.

To be honest it was a pretty naive undertaking, and neither of us expected that we would even make more than one publication let alone see LOL grow into what it is today. We were both pretty young at the beginning and no one had heard of us, so it was very much just asking the women we knew around us if they would please, please, please make something for us.

We've always wanted to bring together a community that celebrates the strength, weakness, success and process of women. For me, terms of the written content, now it's less about a focus on the practice of creative women and more about an opportunity to creatively express many different feelings, voices and stories of female identifying people.

You almost released this last year then decided to take more time, why?
We just didn't feel we were quite there yet with the diversity of content. I was living in New York at the time and was constantly coming across so many different people I was dying to work with, and the process of forming relationships with writers/artists and together figuring out the story they want to tell takes time. Making a publication is a constant balancing act of many different moving parts. LOL is still very much a love project and something we squeeze in the sides of work that pays the bills, so if something goes wrong at any stage of the process it can be difficult to manage time and emotions.

I have some regrets about how long we took to get edition three out in the world, but I'm trying to forgive myself for that. I know that ultimately we needed the time to make something our contributors would be proud to be a part of. I'm really excited and nervous to see how people feel about the written content. Our writers were so generous with themselves and I think the combination makes for a killer read.

What are you personally most proud of in this edition?
Actually finishing it! I'm proud of everyone who shared their stories with us, and I'm proud of our commitment to quality. We faced a lot of setbacks in creating this edition, and although it can be hard to find the motivation to work on your one day off, at 11pm on a Sunday night or to completely reevaluate if someone has to pull out at the last minute, I'm mostly just proud that we actually bloody did it.

You're really working with your own heroes at this stage, who was the biggest or most exciting get?

To be honest it's big and exciting when anyone ever replies to our emails! I think we were the most excited when Nayuka Gorrie agreed to write for us - we're both huge fans of her work. We were stoked when Elliott Lauren was down to shoot a portrait of her to accompany her essay, I think the piece is one of our strongest.

What's your dream for LOL?
Ultimately we'd love to hold regular workshops and head more in the direction of supporting our greater community - we love to working with other women to help encourage and inspire their dreams in a hands-on way. It would be the dream to work with younger women, because that was an age I really could have used someone a bit older to tell me what's up!

What's your favourite quote from the zine?
"New York is impersonal, in ways that makes you feel like a person." Imogen Dewey, Hello New York. That whole piece is yowza.

What do you want everyone to know about this issue?
That we're listening.

What are you excited for right now?
We've got some funky new merch that we're selling at the NGV book fair this weekend! I'm stoked to put my stuff in our new black totes because I cannot keep the white ones clean. The next season of Fargo is also pretty high on my list.

If you're in Melbourne this weekend, head over to the NGV Book Fair to pick up one of their previous editions, say hi and absorb their eternally good vibes. And keep an eye on their Instagram for updates on how you can get your own copy of issue three.



Text Wendy Syfret

ladies of leisure
sally tabart
savannah anand-sobti