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Digital lifestyle magazine ‘Urbane Sophisticate’ gives future leaders a voice

Posted by Alex Pearlman  January 6, 2012 08:51 AM

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urbane sophisticate innovation issue.jpgBy Lina Roque

Housed in Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, a new digital lifestyle magazine, Urbane Sophisticate, aims to “[give] tomorrow’s future a voice today,” said founder and editor-in-chief Luis Navia.

Pulling stories from 20-somethings around the world, the monthly magazine, which launched its first issue (“Innovation”) on Jan. 1, will showcase phenomenal people with extraordinary talents. Its publishing platform, meanwhile, includes new technology that the magazine’s founders hope will revolutionize the digital advertising industry.

The Story and the Team

In November 2010, Navia, a Harvard undergrad, created a Tumblr account. He began by posting miscellaneous photos and quotes that inspired him to be a better human being, but upon realizing that his global network of friends was doing great things yet receiving no recognition, Navia decided to use his blog to highlight their talents.

He abandoned the blog in February 2011, deciding instead to concentrate on classes and pursuing a prestigious career path. But after a five-month hiatus, Navia signed in and found about 250 inquiries into the project. “That was my signal, my enlightenment,” he said, and he quickly created a logo, registered the company, and started creating buzz.

A passionate, multi-functional, and talented team located in Cambridge, New York City, and Miami quickly coalesced. John Floyd, a classmate and friend who Navia described as “a man of many hats, super-intelligent, [and] with the ability to follow through [to] the most incredible results” became executive vice president, while Hunter Gaylor assumed the director of operations position, and Daniela Delfino joined the team as director of public relations. In September, Navia enlisted Tucked Style’s Justin Bridges to be the magazine’s fashion editor.

The Digital Magazine

Urbane’s goal is to feature thought-provoking, passionate, and interesting people from around the world who are innovative, have taken risks, and, in due time, will change the way the world works. The magazine hopes to act as a showcase for individual talent -- a publication that will help slingshot an individual’s career forward. No topic is off limits; stories will cover arts and culture, finance, lifestyle, philanthropy, politics, and academia, in addition to monthly columns.

urbane sophisticate logo.jpg“It’s difficult to be choosy because you want to feature everyone,” said Navia, “but we want to feature people whose passion has triumphed everything.” January's issue features, among others, a story on the MiamiRebels, an essay on social media and politics, and a profile of journalist Alex Pena.

The magazine also hopes to revolutionize digital advertising technology. Navia wanted to keep the details mostly under wraps, as they haven't fully rolled out the platform yet, but he described it as “frictionless.”

“You have to find new ways to use technology to make advertising more effective and useful for your actual customers, who are your advertisers,” added Floyd, who recognizes the importance of bringing advertising into the digital age. “A media company that’s able to combine a unique experience for its readers with a compelling value proposition for its advertisers has a good shot at success, and that’s what we're striving to achieve.”

Their goals may sound lofty, but the Urbane team -- specifically Navia, whose eloquence and devotion to excellence is both contagious and inspiring -- has the drive to reach them.

“I firmly believe that there are no entitlements in life. In reality, it’s self-determination and self-reliance as the fundamental truths at the base of individual achievement,” Navia writes in the first issue. “We are at the pinnacle of the youth movement, and Urbane Sophisticate is creating the path for others to prosper.

“Seek excellence, inspire, and innovate. To live is not enough, but to create is the ultimate gift.”

About Lina -- My life could be described as a cross between Eliza Thornberry's (hello '90s!) and 'Mean Girls,' having been home-schooled in the Amazon in my junior high years, then moving to Small Town, USA, and attending real high school. I attended and graduated business school with a hippie-meets-corporate-girl mentality and a passion for doing good and keeping it real. Now, I'm a hands-on media girl, tech-savvy, and have a desire to communicate news and trends from a multicultural perspective.

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