Sofa, Dani Coyle, Jude Gardner-Rolfe, “Visual Voices”Courtesy of Sofa

Sofa is the magazine harnessing the weirdness of the internet

TikTok politique, slime, identity flexing, and Gen Z sex tips: Sofa magazine explores the niche spaces of the digital realm

“Our motto is: ‘Life is a chatroom’,” says Caia Hagel, co-founder of Sofa, the magazine exploring the live issue of digital communication – how we express ourselves online, how our digital presence is reflected back at us, and the myriad ways in which our appropriation of tech has influenced our interactions. From TikTok politique, identity flexing, and “intimate dispatches from Generation Z”, Sofa shines a light on the idiosyncrasies of the digital realm and how these ever-evolving phenomenons manifest IRL. 

Together with fellow Sofa-founder, Ricarda Messner, these two “digital BFFs” have created a print mag that harnesses the fluid, incorporeal presence of the internet. “It’s so fun to run a magazine this way where we’re more about connecting and inspiring dialogue and change through feels, than about ‘producing content’,” Hagel tells Dazed. “Sofa is for everyone who’s interested in a novel POV on current affairs and the future.” 

The first issue of the groundbreaking magazine was an exposé on Generation Z, guest-edited by an unknown 16-year-old girl they discovered on Instagram. “She shared her worldview with us,” Caia explains, “and how she and her friendship groups felt the world was viewing their demographic as contemporary teens.” Featuring articles on identity flexing, diversity, political relationships, and tween style, the project ran into unforeseen difficulties when their guest editor was unexpectedly placed under temporary house arrest. “It got a little wild when she was grounded and her parents took her phone,” Caia laughs. “We lost some of the content we were planning to publish.”

Now, five years since that inaugural issue, the print mag that feels like the internet has transitioned into the digital realm. “We’ve taken our time to move onto the digital Sofa not just because the www is already drowning in TMI but also because we wanted to have a clear vision for what we would be adding,” Hagel explains. “It was important to us that it felt like you’d be entering an alt space of its own where you’d like to hang out and get cosy.” 

“We put culture in a headlock and wrestle playfully with childlikeness, games, new ideas, political strategies, brattiness, TikTok politique, slime, nostalgia, dark fantasies, and paths to joy” – Caia Hagel

While they’ll continue to run the print magazine, the first online edition of Sofa is on the theme of confessions and includes features on “the art of cumming, a fashion futurism column that’s like an interactive tarot card spread, a 3D deathbed confession, a DIY fashion feature dispatched from bedrooms, an observatory that contemplates contemporary love, and an exposé from the Pornhub headquarters where some of the dark secrets of this sexy space are reckoned with.”

Appearing in the newsagents at the upcoming Dazed Live event, their latest print issue confronts the concept: “It’s playtime”. Hael elaborates on the theme: “In a historical moment where adulting feels more urgent and frightening than ever, we put culture in a headlock and wrestle playfully with childlikeness, games, new ideas, political strategies, brattiness, TikTok politique, slime, nostalgia, dark fantasies, and paths to joy in order to offer up fun as a soothsayer.” She adds, intriguingly, “Its three covers have gorgeous cover stars including a watermelon, a digitally-mastered tarot girl, and a psychedelic persona.”

Sofa magazine will be available to purchase from the newsagents in Dazed Live on October 9 and 10. Sign up for tickets here

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