lotion magazine

Soon-to-launch magazine is reshaping Toronto's nightlife and culture

Lotion Magazine is an up-and-coming publication aimed in capturing Toronto's culture, with a particular emphasis showcasing queer and BIPOC nightlife. 

What began as a YouTube channel by Toronto-based artists Dent, Forever and past member Adam Vitums, Lotion Magazine has evolved into a creative hub for young artists the thrive and history to be recorded.

I spoke with the team of creative directors behind the magazine. Editor-in-Chief Dent, lead stylist Biba and strategist Forever spoke on how Lotion Magazine is elivating Toronto's nightlife. 

toronto nightlife magazine

Lotion Magazine is breaking the status quo through their artistic vision, already becoming a household name in the underground scene. Forever (left), Biba (center) and Dent (right)

"We're trying to find people that are perhaps putting on different sides of the queer [BIPOC] community and try to give them the platform as best as we can," said Forever.

Over the past years, Lotion has become a household name in Toronto's underground nightlife scene. This, in many ways, can be attributed to the parties they have hosted over the past two years.

From their Dusk Chroma series, 'What's the 411' and their Pride event Circus, alongisde Money is Tight and Yes Yes Y'all, Pep Rally and Kirk Lisaj.

Lotion has made an impact on nightlife as they raised funds for the production of their first issue. These events kept the underground rave scene thriving, with over 2500 participants attending.

However, to mark Lotion as only a group that throws parties would diminish their artistic expressions and the ways they've been challenging the discourse of Toronto's nightlife scene through their editorial work.

"We found ourselves gathered with similar frustrations surrounding the dynamics and realities of our like-minded communities [those who] are marginalized, racialized [etc]," Biba, who joined the team in 2020, told blogTO. "We shifted our mindset to the role of the curator and [in turn] thought ‘how can we present ourselves in a voice which is critical, analytical, and therefore able to push the parameters of said institution?"

Dent said for the team its about challenging the status quo and fighting the hierarchy that exists within nightlife and arts. "It's all radical, it's all methodical...we're creating and documenting peoples youth and these are the stories that their going to tell in the next generation."

They do this by focusing their editorials on full teams Black, Queer and Afrocentric individuals, publishing written pieces by up-and-coming writers, platforming their work and voices. 

lotion magazine

Lotion Magazines photoshoots have been experimental and avante garde since the start, focusing heavily on the represention young Black/LGBTQIA2S+ folks. Photo by Dent.

Lotion Magazine is putting young Black/LGBTQIA2S+ folks on a pedestal within the public sphere unlike other publications in the city.

The team at Lotion has been working with local and international photographers, writers, artists and stylists to put together editorial shoots, alongside other unique and compelling content surrounding the disruption of print media.

Their mandate is to showcase new up-and-coming talent.

When you take a glimpse at Lotion's Instagram page, it gives you a taste of what the team is doing. There's a huge sense of nostalgia with their stylistic choices, yet at the same time there are nods to current fashion and styles. 

Their connected projects SAVING FACE and AFTER HOURS, photoshoot puts a spotlight on Toronto's queer BIPOC subcultures. Biba says that everyone they work with inspires their artistic vision.

"I [think we] take a very Utopian [approach] to working, where we’re building this environment or space for an imagined existence, using the intersections of our lived experience to ground the insertion of our otherwise “invisible” selves into the present," Biba explains. "We imagine our shoots as being a world building [experience], or this queer Utopia that is untouchable."

toronto nightlife magazine

SAVING FACE (left) and AFTER HOURS (right) is a connected project showcasing indentity and youth in flourish throw the many faces of Toronto's new art generation. Photos by Vân-nhi Nguyễn (left) and Dent (right)

Forever said that the first issue is about being raw and experimental, from the writing to the photos they'll include. But most importantly, it's about documenting that historically has been relatively undocumented in Toronto.

Toronto has an issue with archiving its nightlife specifically in comparison to New York or LA. Outside of the work of Denise Benson's Then & Now and The Flyer Vault, there's not a lot available that really goes deep into the history of the city's nightlife scene.

"This is a family, united by our experiences and held together by mutual respect, " Dent tells me, explaining how the founders of the magazine view themselves. "It's not about tearing anyone down, it's about how we can do better."

Lotion Magazine's first issue is set to be released this summer.

Lead photo by

Photo by Dent

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