The Best Alternative Magazines For Style Lovers

Fear not print fiends, the world of actual paper publishing isn't going away — yet. There's still plenty of diehard magazine fans out there to keep it alive. And, with as many diverse, impeccably photographed, penned, and printed culture magazines floating around, maintaining the presence of physical publications is that much easier.
There's more to glossies than the Vogues, i-Ds, and Harper's Bazaars. There are niche publications that are just, if not more, pleasing on the eyes as they are to the mind. And, tacking on a queer angle puts them into a whole other league of their own — one that's floating just beneath the mainstream surface, quietly influencing what we see in the bigwig glossies. They push the boundaries of sexuality in print, challenge what it means to be pornographic, and work to elevate the subculture to high. They're often regulated to biannual or quarterly issues, which, for some reason, makes them perfect coffee table companions to whatever art books you may have thoughtfully stacked along the surface. They might not be "fashion" magazines per se, but fashion, by definition, stands for making something, to assemble a form.
The following five publications deal with forming and making sense of our world as we see it today through sex, art, music, culture, and, yes, fashion.
1 of 5
Photo: Courtesy of Adult.
Launched this year, this quarterly beautifully captures erotica in a way that's not snuff-like or straight-up pornographic. It's soft-core through an artist's lens. Plus, the essays on art, culture, and sex help humanize the subjects.
2 of 5
Photo: Courtesy of Candy.
With cover stars like Tilda Swinton, Lady Gaga, James Franco, and Jared Leto all donning drag, you know this is one progressive publication. While it specifically deals with trans issues, the content is well-written and worth tearing through each and every word — if you can get past the insanely delicious imagery, that is.
3 of 5
Photo: Courtesy of hello mr.
hello mr.
Just launched this year, this biannual zine seeks to shed a different light on queer culture. Though it's tailored to gay men, the articles are important reads because they work to show a different side of the often stereotyped "fabulous" gay world sitcoms and campy comedies have made popular. Not all gays are created alike, and hello mr. wants to make that clear.
4 of 5
Photo: Courtesy of Richardson.
Not to be mistaken for Terry Richardson, this anti-porn nudie magazine elevates the erotic image into realms of artistic integrity. Photo shoots of models in typically arousing positions and beauty looks stimulate the mind rather than the body. The goal of the publication is to re-contextualize the sex magazine (think more asexual than hetero or homo). A definite coffee table must — though you might want to place it underneath a thoughtful spray of other art mags.
5 of 5
Photo: Courtesy of Polari Magazine.
Polari Magazine
Polari exists strictly online, but that doesn't stop its editors from treating it like a true-to-form art magazine. Though it's marketed as a queer culture zine, it enlists writers from every community and background that make it accessible to anyone. Its goal is to create a new, more welcoming community; one with less pretension and more humility.

More from Politics


R29 Original Series