There is no perfect way to look back over 35 years of Style Weekly's history without publishing almost as many volumes as it took to get here, right to this moment. There are the stories, of course, and countless other stories behind the stories.
What we offer here are snapshots of moments that now appear either timeless or very dated, broad and universal or personal and almost unnoticed, and beautiful and elegant or gritty and slapped together. From a monthly publication, to a biweekly and then weekly paper, we've emerged and evolved. We have followed the trends, the news, the culture and we have been a part of it. And it all continues still.
Bear in mind that we began as "A News Magazine for the West End" in November 1982 and very soon were recast as "A Cultural Guide to Richmond." On this issue's Back Page column, Style's founder, Lorna Wyckoff, shares her experience of the early years and the experience of publishing a paper practically by the seat of the pants. "Thirty-five years ago, a free paper with the added benefit of quality content, not just advertising, was preposterous," she writes. "We were merely a garage band with big aspirations and scant training," she says later.
These days, it takes more than scant training to earn a seat at Style, but it may still be true that we are a garage band with big aspirations. The pages that follow tell some of the story of how we and Richmond have grown and changed alongside each other. We submit to you a selection — a small, imperfect sampling — of our covers. And along the way, we take a moment to reflect on some of the work behind the front pages. We hope it brings back memories for some of you, and offers hope for the future. —The Staff
"Coming on Strong!" November 1982
At its inception, Style was a bit more Western-leaning, as the flag says at the top of the very first front page. The story of the city dweller would come to the fore later, but not much later. Our inaugural fitness-focused cover story, "Coming on Strong!" — and the whole issue, really — was put together on the kitchen table of Style's founder, Lorna Wyckoff. Our cover model, Julie Henley, struck an aerobic pose and the rest is history. Fifteen years ago, when we celebrated our 20th anniversary, managing editor Jason Roop noted that Wyckoff had 20,000 copies printed. And perhaps the only issue still intact is the digital copy we now keep on a storage drive no bigger than Julie Henley's thumb.