‘RVA Look Book’ gives U.S. a look at Richmond

From Richmond to cities cross the country, all eyes are on RVA.

People can now hold Richmond, all 3.14 lbs. of it, in their hands with the RVA Look Book, a 228-page hardbound reflection of the city’s people, places, and personality. Produced by i.e.*, an offshoot of the Greater Richmond Chamber, the book is likely the first RVA-branded book. In addition to showcasing the city for Richmonders, the book will also introduce RVA to people across the country.

“There are probably a lot of local people here in Richmond” that appreciate and “get” the city’s eclectic scenes, said Chrystal Neal, Director of Creativity and Innovation at the Richmond Chamber and the book’s executive editor. “But there are a lot of other people who live here who vaguely know that Richmond is cool and…[who] don’t know how to tap into the more avant-garde art and types of things we have going on.” She said the RVA Look Book can introduce them to the city’s many creative people, businesses, and stories.

Neal said she hopes the book also promotes Richmond beyond its city limits through an official public relations campaign by which the Chamber will “send the books with handwritten notes…to editors of various publications and magazines across the country,” she said. “If we achieve piquing their curiosity, perhaps they’ll assign reporters to come visit and explore our city.”

RVA Look Book may be the first publication to incorporate the RVA moniker, but the Richmond Chamber embraced the initialism several year ago. “We’ve been using it from the beginning when the concept and website were first launched,” Neal said. “I think it just embraces a sort of view point that we find to be reflective of the new Richmond, that we are inclusive and progressive and RVA can be anything you want it to be.”

Neal said the RVA Look Book was locally produced by area writers, editors, photographers, and art directors. Additionally, B&B in Chesterfield printed the book, and it’s carried only by local retailers (see sidebar).

A digital version of the book is in the works. “We are working with The Martin Agency to develop a downloadable book that will be available from iTunes,” Neal said. “Our plan is to update it annually with new chapters and new things.”

She said the Richmond Chamber will produce a new chapter ahead of the 2015 UCI Road World Championship with a full schedule, race routes, and parking information. “We’re planning to promote it up and down the East Coast and in Europe as the go-to downloadable book for those planning to make a trip to Richmond for the races,” Neal said.

RVA Look Book is priced at $49.95 and available at local retailers.

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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