Pilot is a global collective of contributors who explore, catalogue and deliberate creative experimentation across a vast array of cultural mediums. With a playful and curious approach, they cover anything and all from literature to fashion, music to art, modern trends to traditional narratives, encouraging one another to reshape assumptions and discover their own personal interpretation of the world around them. This is presented across a digital realm and with innovative and unconventional print editions that challenge established formats.

"A big part of growing and sustaining a community today is, not necessarily making it to fit a certain gap in the market but for us, it's always just been about producing content that interests us and being collaborative in a way that interests us. In that way, we inherently have been something of interest and something useful to people in the creative community. By being ourselves and staying true to our values is the way that we fill a role in the creative community”.



A conversation between Dagny, Founding Editor-in-Chief and Alana, Head of Literature and Jasmine Roberts, Group Research and Insights Director and Louise Millar, Seed Strategy Director*

Community has, in many ways, become an overused term, but what does it mean to you?

Alana: I think it's an interesting word for me—I feel like it's a word that exists in bold. You grow up and you're always looking for a sense of community, especially in the modern age. I feel like we were born into a world that was like, well, what's your community? But it's one of those things where you don't know you have it until you do. I think I really feel that way about Pilot.

What would you say the difference between culture and community is to you guys?

Alana: I think for me, I think culture is something you're born into, but then it's up to you to foster how you relate to it, how you identify with it, how you can add to it. I think they're both equally important. But community relies on culture too, right? It can start with culture and then you build a community, but it's also kind of embedded in who you are.

In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the number of youth collectives. Why do you think that is and how do you think it reflects the attitudes of your generation?

Alana: Obviously, the pandemic was very isolating. All of a sudden, we forgot how to relate to each other, and now I think its effect is this deep sense of yearning—trying to find a way back to each other. Because of that, because the desire to connect is bigger, I think our potential is greater, if that makes sense.

Dagny: I think tech has played such an important role. I feel like there's always been a strong sense of subculture in tons of different cities all over the world. But I think that internet culture right now has just changed the game for so many people of our generation.

The magazine covers a range of topics. How do you create content that speaks to such a broad audience while maintaining a cohesive and distinctive voice for Pilot magazine?

Dagny: I think for us, it's always just been about producing content that interests us and being collaborative in a way that interests us. And I think, in that way, we inherently have been of interest to people and something useful to people in the creative community.

Alana: I think Pilot really does authenticity well because it's not selling themselves as authentic. It's just like, well, here's what we have, and here's what people are exploring.

Dagny: Magazines can collect so much energy and spirit, and it's usually sort of like a multi-dimensional appreciation that people have for a magazine, which I think is really beautiful.

You've been quite experimental with formats. Why is that, and how does it reflect the ethos of Pilot?

Dagny: I feel like the ethos of Pilot, which both of us have touched on, is keeping this creative playground and fostering that experimental spirit where you feel like you can just tap into one another and tap into the world that we've created just to do something new.

Alana: Pilot has a boldness to just accept that things are going to change. And we might not like certain choices we make now, but we can adapt well. I think adaptability within community leads us to these new ways because we're open to it.

Looking into the future, how do you want to be remembered? What kind of impact do you aspire to have in the long term?

Dagny: It's little things, like someone sending us like some long email that they clearly worked really hard on, asking to work with us and their material might not be a good fit, but working with them to become a sort of a mentor. I like to think that we've done that pretty consistently.

Alana: I want our legacy to be that we always stuck with who we are. Whether that means not branching out, or doing this, or doing a small brand partnership, or whatever—so other magazines and people trying to do this can see that there are ways that you don't have to change and do what you think you have to versus what you want to.

What role does social media play in your community?

Alana: I think it’s a big role. With the Spotify playlists, I think we do a good job of finding that balance between when we engage with our community and we're posting and all that but it's not constant to the point where you lose who we are, because I think that can happen a lot on social media with zines.

Dagny: I agree. I think it's interesting how there's something really shameful about saying that you're dependent on social media, especially as a small collective or brand? I don't know why that is, but I don't know what we would do without social media. It's everything.

How do you collaborate with other youth groups and organisations that share similar values and goals, and what's the actual benefit to working together?

Dagny: I think it's not as common as I'd like it to be to find collaborators that are on the same page as you, value-wise. But we've had great, great, great collaborations. One was with a ceramicist who did a workshop for us in London that was super successful, and she just shared this inclusive and kind vision and was just so kind to all of the people who were in this workshop. And she was just really into our values and what we're interested in.

What brand partnerships have worked well for you so far, and what kind of brands do you essentially aspire to work with?

Dagny: It'd be cool to collaborate with a local museum or gallery, I think. Having the opportunity to help curate and work with an entity like that would be super interesting. I also think, in the same vein, any organisations that are curating music—so it'd be cool to work with a festival.

Alana: Music’s really cool and I think it works for Pilot because it’s one of those things where anyone can jump in.

Dagny: We love a lot of those archive pages that are going round like @welcome.jpeg. They’re not afraid of tapping into tons of different subgenres and they have a super diverse portfolio.

What can brands do to support your collective goals and values, and what do you consider an essential element of a successful brand collaboration?

Dagny: I think, in the brand space, there has been a really big transition from brands kind of just co-opting and kind of channelling different communities in an unproductive way. Now it's like passing the mic, and you get information from the source, and they’re putting money into different communities, which I think is really great. But I think it's important to have a balance, in the sense that I feel like communities can use instruction from brands and can also use their contacts—I think that brands should find that balance.

*This conversation has been condensed and edited but has strived to remain as close to the original word for word version as possible.

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