Telum Talks To... Cherry Lai, Deputy Editor, ECHELON

Telum Talks To... Cherry Lai, Deputy Editor, ECHELON

Sustainability is a hot topic in fashion right now. Telum recently caught up with Cherry Lai, Deputy Editor at ECHELON, to hear her views on sustainable fashion.

First of all, BIG congratulations on the official launch of ECHELON in October! Please tell us more about the new high-end lifestyle magazine. 
Thanks very much! It’s very exciting to see the inaugural issue of ECHELON finally out on newsstands and bookstores and we hope that readers will enjoy what we’ve created. Our company background is in private equity and real estate, and it’s long been our CEO's vision to build a cohesive community among our investors and Asia’s ultra high net-worth (UHNW) individuals at large – the upper echelon, essentially. That’s why we decided to launch ECHELON, a title that directly refers to and is inspired by our clientele. We wanted to fill a gap in the market with a publication that, beyond reporting on the hottest and latest, dives deep into various industries and realms of luxury lifestyle through an unconventional perspective. Currently, we distribute across Hong Kong as well as parts of Asia, such as Singapore and Australia. We hope that our content – long-form features, in-depth interviews, photo essays and more, spanning wellness, sustainability, automobile, gastronomy, and investment – would speak directly to business and lifestyle leaders we are inspired by and create the magazine for.  

Launching the magazine in October – amid a global pandemic – was interesting to say the least! We pushed ahead and in fact, found it to be an opportune timing; with great turbulence in the job market, we know of many people who decided to finally pursue their passions and set up businesses under their own names. We hope that the influential lifestyle leaders featured in our pages will provide motivation and with whom entrepreneurs could engage to spark new synergy.

What is your day like as the Deputy Editor? Could you share some top tips for success based on your experience?
As many editors could probably tell you, every day is vastly different. Much of the past few months have been spent laying the groundwork and fine-tuning things like the tonality, look and feel of the magazine – and we’re still constantly improving. Now, an average day consists of everything from writing and editing pieces to commissioning freelancers and interviewing fascinating people from all walks of life. 

I started my career in fashion copywriting and dipped my toes into marketing before returning to writing about lifestyle for Tatler Hong Kong and Home Journal, covering beauty, gastronomy, design and more. Each opportunity has led me to very talented people and given me a perspective on how some magazines stand the test of time. It’s thrilling to now be part of a magazine that is starting from the ground up – I’m learning a lot every day.

We're seeing that media is a constant influx of online publications. Why has ECHELON also decide to have a print copy?
That’s a great question. There’s no denying that online media has dominated the landscape over the past few years, and it’s a priority for us to expand our digital presence in the next phase of our publication. However, our team are firm believers in a print product. There is a beautiful tactility to it that’s irreplaceable. We feel that there will always be a place for print, especially in the luxury lifestyle sphere where brands are looking to tell visually impactful, well-thought-out stories crafted with more time and detail. We also hope to cut through the noise in media today to provide a discerning voice on high-living that is first-hand and inspirational, and we feel that the best way to do that, for the time being, is via print.

Sustainability has been one of the hottest topics and it continues to be a hit with readers across the entire business spectrum. Is luxury compatible with sustainability? What's your take?
In some ways, sustainability is the new luxury – they’re definitely not mutually exclusive anymore. True affluence has transcended just consumerism, and customers, especially younger millennials these days are increasingly looking to support brands and products that resonate with them. Even those who like to splurge, we observe, want to do so more mindfully, perhaps by offsetting their carbon footprints with sustainable fashion or veganism. In our magazine, we hope to offer readers a holistic look into living luxuriously yet conscientiously. Environmental advocate Sean Lee-Davies gave some great insights in our inaugural issue about the small steps everyone can take towards a greener world, and we dedicate the Sustainability and Wellness sections every issue to highlight disruptors making a difference. It’s encouraging to see many top brands embracing the movement and adopting a more ethical ethos as well, from Burberry’s pledge to use 100% sustainable cotton to LVMH’s Initiatives For the Environment. We’re heading towards the right direction.

Tips - How can PR work with you efficiently? 
As a new magazine, we’re excited to connect with PRs, industry leaders and brands that align with our core categories and to bridge long-term relationships and partnerships. Relevant, concise pitches and releases with strong, high-res imagery are always helpful, which can be sent to editorial@echelon.com.hk or cherry.lai@infinitymedia.com.hk. We would love to put faces to names, so we’re open to grabbing coffee, too.

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