Editor’s Letter.......................................................................... 2 Contributor’s Page.................................................................. 3-4 A life in Love........................................................................... 5-8 Into the Daze-Jefferson Hack.................................................. 9-12 The Indie Insight...................................................................... 13-14 A Speed Q and A Date with our latest crush Olivia Rubin ....... 15-18 Helen Jennings from ARISE ................................................... 19-20 Nylon’s Independent Spirit....................................................... 21-24 Interview with Shereen Al Mulla, CEO & Farah Shanti, Managing Editor of Skin magazine.......................................... 25-28 Sunshowers............................................................................ 29-30 Lost in Shells.......................................................................... 31-34 Interview with Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com...................... 35-40 Sketchbook STUDIO In KINGLY COURT................................. 41-42 Interview With ArtReview Magazine Editor, Mark Roppolt........ 43-46 Make me a Superhero............................................................. 47-50 Girl of my Dreams................................................................... 51-56 Erdem..................................................................................... 57-58 The Colour Purple................................................................... 59-60 Jake 4 Leanne........................................................................ 61-68 Let them eat cake................................................................... 69-72 T Post..................................................................................... 73-78 SHOOT BY LUCY KEBBELL................................................... 79-84 Steve Doyle............................................................................. 85-88 Audacious Ways..................................................................... 89-92 Interview with the multi-tasker Ondine Azoulay........................ 93-94 Interview with Editor of ALEF magazine, Paul de Zwart........... 95-98
Note from the editor This is going to be a tough one to write. How am I supposed to sum up the last, most exciting 4 months of Sketchbook in 500 words without boring everyone? I won’t take you way back folks and I promise to keep this short and to the point. The point is Sketchbook has been working hard! Since March, Sketchbook has launched two pop-up shops, re-created Carnaby Street at the Clothes Show London in Earl’s Court, supported the Live Issue at the Future Gallery by live blogging/tweeting/live-illustrating and my personal favourite project was when Sketchbook supported Imran Amed by covering his fashion pioneers interview with Natalie Massenet of Net-A-Porter. There are no words to describe the moment I got to meet the woman behind the biggest online retail store. I simply was envisioning myself as her, reciting a mantra in my head in the hopes of morphing into her ‘copy paste Wafa, copy paste’. I still can’t believe that Project Managers Rachel Menashy, Cleide Carina and myself managed to pull off the first pop-up shop in Newburgh Quarter. Illustrating the walls of the space in 48 hours, organizing 192 events in 64 days without a day off, 3 gallery openings, and 9 bands playing. It was an extraordinary feat with London Time Out dedicating a whole page to promote our space and events. I’m writing this from the 3rd floor of our 400 sq meter warehouse space in Kingly Court about to wrap up our second pop up shop. Consisting of three floors, we dedicated this space to 25 in-house artists who are producing artwork for Sketchbook, and 17 photo shoots/conceptual look books took place. With this pop up, we went industrial, we went Warhol creating a space of activity and energy where anyone can walk in and interact with photographers, artists etc. It’s the opposite attitude of general places where you are not allowed to touch, photograph or interrupt people at work. Our 3rd issue would not have been possible without Laura Sam, our new content editor who had to sift through 1000 or so emails to collect illustrations and features. She did a superb job of harassing me to write this note. Thank you Laura for making Issue 3 happen. I want to thank Rachel Menashy, my project manager for our first pop up for putting Sketchbook on the map and kick starting our relationship with Carnaby Street. Rachel you have been one of the highlights of my year. Cleide Carina, chatty and tall with a model figure, is the sub-editor of Sketchbook, who has been with me for 9 months. I am forever grateful for you, for your energy and you’re amazing ability to be able to spot a spelling or grammatical error! To Kay from Sister PR: you are the perfect client. You let me do what I do best, you support what I do in the best way, and you allow me space and freedom to do it. Sketchbook will be loyal to your company and to Carnaby forever. Gabriela Mot and Annie Driscoll my chief illustrators, each heading the projects at the Future Gallery and the Clothes show, I am lucky that I get to work with such strong women who can help me put together a project from A to Z. My last dedication of the note goes to Luma Bashmi. Luma bounced back to Bahrain in March right before our first pop up shop. We miss her every day. She is still present in my life and the life of the magazine and will be until our last issue is produced. Once again none of this would have been possible without her as Features Editor. Enjoy our 3rd issue. It’s packed full of interviews with Imran Amed, Natalie Massenet, Dolly Jones of Vogue.com, Becky Smith of Twin and much more. It took us 6 months to pull this issue off. My new venture Obai and Hill, a design agency specialising in illustrations and graphics has launched. Check it out and let me know your thoughts www.obaiandhill.com I must also thank Lauren Mundle, Megan McDowell, Helena, Amy Edgar, Navneet, Komal Verma, and the rest of the 167 members of crew. Love you all.
EDITOR IN CHIEF Wafa Alobaidat SUB EDITOR Cleide Cardoso FEATURES EDITOR Luma Bashmi CONTENT EDITOR Laura Sam SENIOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR Richard Jarrett SKETCHBOOK TV PRODUCER Komal Verma COVER DESIGN Sophie McKay SKETCHBOOK LOGO DESIGNER Charlotte Nicod WEBSITE DESIGNER Tim Holmes MIDDLE EASTERN PR OFFICER Saja Altherban, Noor Kaiksow PRODUCED BY Agency Obai & Hill SKETCHBOOK STAFF Corinne Delaney, Amy Edgar, Navneet Gill, Selina Lalli, Megan McDowell, Sara Qaddoura, Joyce See SKETCHBOOK JOURNALISTS Osman Ahmed, Cleide Cardoso, Sophie Eggleton, Grashina Gabelmann, Ekaete Inyang, Fabian James, Vanessa Lee, Siobhan Leddy, Victoria Loomes, Hannah Morris, Mariana Moyano, Clare Potts, Rachael Tubman, Susan Walsh SKETCHBOOK ILLUSTRATORS Danielle Andrews, Fatima Alaiwat, Artkisniya, Agnieszka Bukowska, Katherine Butler, Paolo Caravello, June Champoomidole, Jade Cummings, Abi Daker, Annie Driscoll, Luke Furniss, Hamza Isa, Kelly Jackson, Sine Jørgensen, Spiros Halaris, Monique Jivram, Corey Lee, Amy Martino, Esther McManus, Rory J Murphy, Natsuki Otani, Ciara Pelan, Rachel Clare Price, Emily Sams, Krister, Selin, Jack Teagle, Jean Paul Thurlowe, Donya Todd, Joanne Young, Suzie Winsor, Anna Weilberg, Angie Wu
SKETCHBOOK PHOTOGRAPHERS Barbara Anastacio, Sandra Bangladesh, James Brown, Teneshia Carr, Jesus Chamorro, Alick Cotterill, Olivia Estebanez, Naomi James, Denise Mangaram, Nedim Nazerali, LeftBrain – Mac Ninjas, Constance Phillips, Elias Wessel SKETCHBOOK STYLISTS Naomi Gray, Auk Homme, Calum Knight, Constance Phillips, Chi-San Wan SKETCHBOOK GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Ula Hudowska, Helena Cowdrey, Lauren Mundle INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDANTS Abu Dhabi: Nadia El-Dasher New York: Johara Alkhalifa Stockholm: Fernando Torres SKETCHBOOK TV CAMERA TEAM Matthieu Ferreira, Sarolta Saci Marton, James Matai, Sasha Denny EDITING Lucia Emanuela Curzi, Sarolta Saci Marton, Komal Verma THANKS TO Imran Ahmed, Tyler Brulé, Amelia Gregory, Leith Clark, Malika Dalamal, Steve Doyle, Marvin Scott Jarrett, Dolly Jones, Tamsin Kingswell, Armelle Leturcq, Peter Lundgren, Natalie Massenet, Jane Morris, Shereen Al Mulla, Rick Poynor, Sister PR, Blow PR, Vicky Richardson, Mark Roppolt, Olivia Rubin, Becky Smith, Kira Stachowitsch, Njide Ugboma, Paul de Zwart ADDRESS/CONTACT DETAILS Sketchbook Magazine HQ Studio 3 86 Kensington Park Road London, W11 2PL ADVERTISING INQUIRIES E: email@example.com T: +44 (0) 7814055399 SKETCHBOOK MAGAZINE LINKS Website: www.sketchbookmagazine.com Blog: www.sketchbookblog.tumblr.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/sketchbookmag Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Sketchbook-Magazine Facebook Group Page: Sketchbook Magazine
Katie Grand – A Life in love
By Mariana Moyano
Uniqueness is an adjective often used in the fashion world: the uniqueness of a character; of a design; of a model’s attitude; of a pattern. It is, ironically, usually applied to embellish the items and icons that will be later largely produce and reproduce for the reach and consumption of the hungry masses, in search of an originality that not longer exists. Is that probably why, when something shines with an originality intended to satisfy a higher purpose than mere commerce, it glows incandescently and reaches the mind to set its mark. Katie Grand’s career is –undoubtedly- a stream of creations, that, exuding coolness had set its footprint indelibly in the path of such light. Katie just wanted to be cool, and that’s been her purpose since her early teens. At the age of 12 while being ill in bed, her father, a research scientist at Birmingham University, brought her a copy of Vogue and The Face and it was a lifetime revelation. Inspired by Dianne, one of her dad’s girlfriends who used to dress Warehouse, when Jeff Banks and Michael Bennet were running the brand, she started visiting London more often in the search of her pieces for her newly acquired chic status. School-wise, although good in most subjects, Katie failed at her 11 plus and wasn’t really good at arts, so in order to follow her artistic ambitions she took night classes at her local college to get her skills tuned. She trained in multiple skills and the effort paid well when she finished her course at Birmingham’s Bournville College as the student of the year. Grand wrote to Liz Tiberis, editor of Vogue when she was 17 years old asking how she could become a magazine editor one day. Tiberis advised her to study at Saint Martins and here she went. It was during those days that she met some of the names that would help her in the future: Stella Mc Cartney and Giles Deacon were two of them. 5
The academic engagement rapidly faded when after a drunken night with John Rankin, he invited her to join him in the magazine he was starting with Jefferson Hack. Katie helped assemble the first Dazed & Confused issue (literally putting pages together) and by issue three she was already oozing her stylist natural talent. She remained at Dazed for 7 years, without a budget or a salary, during which she had a romance with Rankin, which made the already dramatic and things-flying-over-desks working days even worse. She describes those days as “brilliant” and working with Rankin obviously marked her next steps into the magazine world; “He’s very positive and he always had that mentality of do-it-yourself rather than work for someone else. That spirit of “Oh let’s just do it, let’s have an exhibition, let’s start a magazine”.” Her stylist career is though, the one that pays for her extremely large wardrobe, which consists of every piece of clothing, she’s bought since 1986 organised in alphabetical order (A for Alaïa, B for Balenciaga, C for 7
Chanel, etc). Her first endeavour was to turn Bottega Venetta into a cool brand and she conquered the task with flying colours. This brought her to the attention of Mrs Miuccia Prada who simply said “come and do something fun for me” and so Katie met whom she would later describe as her greatest inspiration. But Katie loves magazines. The Face, the publication that first awoke her sense of style lured her from Dazed & Confused to be their fashion director, and Emap (now Bauer) promised her she could eventually start her own magazine. In 2000 she launched Pop, which worked with a low budget for salaries and a large one for quality. Collaborations from photographers and artists flooded under the spelling cast of names that Katie brought into the game. For the first issue she had a bunch of her friends photographed. Those friends were Stella McCartney, Luella Bartley, Liberty Ross and Phoebe Philo. By issue 4, Madonna accepted the invitation right away.
In 2008, Condé Nast won Katie’s attention and conquered a winning team player. In February of 2009, Love Magazine made its first appearance to the world in a green mint toned cover, featuring an angelical Beth Ditto with her vast gorgeously confident body wearing practically her birthday suit. The biannual magazine is not Condé Nast’s first attempt into the edgy stylist magazines category, but this one is certainly their most assertive. The cover of the last issue published in February 2010, features Kate Moss, Lara Stone, Naomi Campbell and other 5 top models, posing naked in the exact same position to show the differences on their bodies and how they represent the ideal of beauty. In case the pictures are not descriptive enough, their measurements are printed next to their names.
of the most powerful stylists in the world”. Her word enough weight to potentially awake a tsunami of vintage shopping if she was to say that next season’s trend will be based on Coronation Street’s Elsie Tanner. Media has defined Katie Grand as the “high priestess of British Fashion”, “the most-wanted name in the business” and “Katie-Grand-a-minute”, but one thing is clear: she loves fashion, and although it can be a betraying lover, is a relationship that well retrieved can last for ever.
Katie Grand has, since the beginning of her career, been a valued, strong and a main contributor of the world of high-class style publications at the same time as developing into, -as The Telegraph named her- “one 8
Into The Daze- Jefferson Hack
Text: GRASHINA GABELMANN Illustrations: KRISTER SELINI
these words may seem they let drop the ambiguous innocence, playfulness and randomness of the magazine. A Vienna based quarterly, INDIE calls itself ‘The Independent Style Magazine’ so its heavy fashion content is a given along with extensive music coverage including album reviews, interviews and band photo shoots. Although the content of each issue is unpredictable, a few elements remain static such as musician and journalist Robert Rotifer’s witty and train-of-thought-like column, an introduction of emerging designers and beautiful collages made up of illustrations and runway pictures. Turning the pages of INDIE is like peering through a kaleidoscope... an erratic jumble of colours and patterns, 13
content mostly incalculable and with every peek into it you are guaranteed to discover something new. Kira founded the magazine together with its publisher Clemens Steinmüller in 2003. “The magazine was originally more of a fanzine with a free distribution via clubs and shops in Austria but quickly developed into a glossy Style Magazine with an English edition and international distribution,” says Kira. INDIE’s spontaneity and youthfulness is easily spelled out when Kira explains how she got into the magazine business: “I guess I never consciously decided on this career. When we started INDIE I was 18 and had only just started to study art history. So whilst passionately working on something that was a “hobby” (an extremely time consuming one) in the beginning, it seems to me, the career chose me and not the other way around.”
“I would like to deny it but the process of putting together an issue is based on the great concept of creative chaos. We hardly ever have a general topic for the whole issue so our writers are free to suggest all kinds of stories they find interesting.” The team of writers is mostly international as only five people actually work in the INDIE headquarters. “This makes it impossible to discuss the issue’s topic plan in meetings,” Kira explains, “so, putting together ideas is a question of writing dozens of emails and making a lot of calls. A typical day also involves an anxious glance at the deadline schedule trying to get everything back on track and a few minutes of serious work time wasted by putting up weird stuff on our blog www.thepetfanclub. com.” So, although Kira is a huge fan of good-old fashioned print publications she has embraced the blogging world by launching The Pet Fan Club, a travel diary more so than a blog of people the INDIE team meets, street style images and their opinions of the one or other fashion trend. Opposed to considering the increasing influence of bloggers as a threat to print, Kira believes it to be some what of a symbiotic relationship: “I think it fuels people’s addiction to discover new things and once they are into it they will need more and other sources. So bless them! We are also working
on getting more content online but only if the content does not suffer from it.” The means in which Kira gathers information for INDIE’s content can be traced back to her days as an art history student; “It might be the wrong way but I’d rather visit an exhibition on impressionism than buy the latest issues of big fashion magazines,” explains Kira. Other sources of inspiration for Kira are people that follow their visions; “People that fit into the category of the more or less insane genius from Nick Cave to Andy Warhol. I don’t envy their urge to express themselves and get out everything going on in their heads as I imagine it to be quite painful at times. In a way I guess I am fortunate to be averagely creative.” Kira and her magazine INDIE, which, by the way, is not her only one (Material Girl came out in 2006) are anything but averagely creative. The magazine is bursting with witticisms and irony... it does not tell you what to buy or how to dress and each issue leaves the reader inspired and wanting more and this reader is not easy to please; “The reader is extremely beautiful, painfully intelligent, creative to a scary amount and undeniably weird. Just like us!”
The impulsiveness that got Kira into the magazine business is still the deciding element, which goes into the issue making process. 14
Text: Sophie Eggleton Illustrations: Olivia Rubin
A Speed Q and A Date with our latest crush Olivia Rubin Sophie Eggleton interviewed Olivia Rubin, and we just fell for her style and illustrations. After meeting and chatting to Olivia Rubin at various events during the manic festival calendar it is hard to imagine she has ever been anything but super stylish, but it seems one of Britain’s most exciting emerging designers hasn’t always had a keen eye for sartorial success. Sophie Eggleton caught up Olivia to find out about her thrilling and manic road from St Martins to dressing some of our most copied young style icons, her views on 15
the support of offer for young designers, and her time working for some of the industry greats. When did you first realize you had a particular interest in fashion? At school I was lucky enough to be introduced to screen printing – this sparked my interest in fashion design. From then on I used to sketch nonstop... Were you a stylish kid/teenager? NO! The opposite – I was rocked the geek chic look! Who were your style icons? I never really had a style icon I was just happy working my nerdy ensembles! I looked up to the designers like John Galliano and other St Martin’s graduates more than anybody else... St Martin’s was like the Emerald City to me at school! Where and what did you study?
I reached my goal of studying BA Fashion Print at St Martin’s and graduated in 2006 What advice would you give to those at the start of their journey? Work hard, always be thinking of new design ideas and never think that any of your goals are out of reach. Do everything it takes and be prepared to work long hours. What do you do when you have some downtime? What do you do to relax? I love running... it’s a great stress relief and it’s probably one of the only times when my mind is work free. Is there a good sense of comoradery between yourself and other young Brit designers? London has such a strong designer force at the moment and I think each designer is doing their own thing and have their own key strength. It’s great to support one another as opposed to recent others. You spent time with McQueen and Galliano, can you tell me how they both influenced you, the way you work and how the experiences compared..... Both were invaluable experiences-especially Galliano, as I lived in Paris and got to soak up all the Parisian culture in between work. It was such an honour to work for two remarkable creators-both motivated me to push myself and stay true to my own design ethic. I knew from working there that I eventually wanted my own label and creative freedom. Do you think enough funding and support is on offer to creatives in 2010?
Not really. The BFC target their support to highend designers and I think that it is a shame that they are less willing to give funding to more commercial contemporary designers like myself. I’m not prepared to compromise on my design aesthetic for funding – I’ve managed to build up my label despite rejection from the BFC. Can you tell me about the jersey range you have designed for Oli. How have you adapted your main line to suit the brief? The new range, ‘Oli Rubi’ is actually part of my own brand that launches for AW10, in July. It is a sister brand to my mainline and focuses on printed jersey pieces, aiming to bring some of my signature prints into your day to day wardrobe. You’ll see the return of the infamous brick print on tees and simple jersey dresses. What other projects have you got going on or planned for the near future? I like to get involved in new projects. I will be launching my second collection for Oli.co.uk for AW10 in September-this will include some printed knitwear which I’d never experimented with before-I’m excited to see the full range. I’ve also got a charity collaboration coming up which will feature a printed wash bag... Lots of celebrities have worn your pieces out on the town at events or during TV appearances, how important is celebrity endorsement to fashion in 2010? Celebrity endorsement is an effective way of getting new brands noticed and I think it is great when high profile celebrities wear up and coming brands as it gives them the opportunity to get noticed by press and buyers. I saw the domino effect of this when Cheryl first wore my SS09 Zebra Ra-Ra dress! 16
How does it work, do they approach you, or do you offer to loan samples? A mixture-Cheryl’s stylist approached me after seeing my collection at LFW, whereas with Fearne I initially sent her a dress that she loved and now she comes to my studio or lets me know what takes her fancy each season. Can you talk me through a normal day in the OR studio.... I wouldn’t possibly know where to start! Each day is just so varied! How do you actually create the prints is it hand drawn or constructed using Photoshop? I start off hand drawing all the elements and then I scan them in and build up more layers and detail on Photoshop. Where do you source your materials and where are they manufactured? All the fabrics are sourced and manufactured in China-they have the most fantastic printing mill and facilities! Do you take any measures to be ethically and environmentally aware with your business? I visit the factory in China that produces my collections twice a year to check that everything is running ethically. They are a very professionally run business-that it important to me. How important is social networking to the fashion industry and your success as a designer? Facebook, twitter and blogs are becoming more and more influential to fashion. The online market is huge in terms of 17
press and shopping-our website and online shop has seen a significant rise in traffic and I’m sure this is due to the amazing support and interest we get from bloggers and websites. From following your twitter account it seems that you have done a fair bit of travelling recently, what have you been doing? Got to love twitter! I just got back from Spain for a friend’s wedding which was a treat! I find it hard to disconnect from work so I try not to go away too much-I went to New York for work a month or so ago and I’m off again to China in a few weeks. Is travel an aspect of the job you enjoy? Yes and no. It’s great going to cities like NYC where I meet lots of new contacts and interesting industry people, whereas it can become quite lonely when I go to China to visit the factory. The fashion industry, despite its glamourous moments, can be extremely stressful, how do you deal with this personally? Most of it is definitely not glamorous – I mean it’s nice to get invited to parties and events but the majority of it is hard work and long hours-people are often misled by this ‘glamorous’ pre conception. However I do thrive on working under pressure and the quick turnover in fashion appeals to me – I’m constantly thinking of new ideas for the next collection. How has the economic downturn affected how you run the business? I try to keep our prices competitive and affordable. The mainline silk pieces do not retail over
£350-I want all women to be able to buy one of my dresses for a special occasion without breaking the bank. The new ‘Oli Rubi’ range also starts from £60-can’t wait to see the reaction to this new range. Painters have influenced your prints in the past, do you ever looked to music, film or other forms of creativity to inform your designs? Yes they all do-I normally ending up listening to the same album on repeat while designing a collection-for AW10 it was Florence and the Machine. I was listening to Pink Floyd non-stop when I designed my debut range and that is partly how the idea behind the brick print came about! Accessories are often used by major labels to attract new customers, (the whole IT bag phenomenon) will you look to add this to your repertoire in the future and how do you envision them looking? I would look into it in the future but at the moment I’m focusing on ready to wear How would you describe an OR wearer? Or who is your muse?? A woman with confidence and individuality...
You showed at Pure last season, any plans to put on a catwalk show during the next LFW? I’m hoping to put on a presentation during LFW but nothing has been finalised yet. PURE is a great way of targeting and meeting new boutiques across the UK. My first show for AW09 was the most exhilarating experience-so I’m eager to put on another event that lives up to that and more! -www.sophieeggleton.withtank.com/ http://www.openmagazine.co.uk/blog/ http://www.myspace.com/whateverittakestv www.stylebible.com www.twitter.com/SophieEggleton www.twitter.com/LDNfashion www.twitter.com/WIT_TV www.flickr.com/photos/34066513@N05/ www.myspace.com/sophieeggletonart
Helen Jennings Illustrations: Jade Cummings
Illustrations by Danielle Andrews Text Marissa Baxter
Nylon’s Independent Spirit Nylon’s Editor in Chief Marvin Scott Jarrett reveals to Marissa Baxter how he’s taking this magazine all the way.
It’s 1999, a young, fresh faced Liv Tyler’s doe eyes and sequin lips stare out expectantly from the cover of an independent fashion and music magazine’s premier issue. Fastforward to over a decade later and Nylon Magazine has exceeded all those expectations and more. Producing international editions Nylon Japan, Korea and Mexico as well as its brother edition Nylon Guys, Nylon has, most strikingly submerged itself into the digital media generation and our cultural subconscious. Editor-in-Chief and co-founder Marvin Scott Jarrett is the beating heart at the centre of the Nylon world, and it’s beating pretty fast. Even if I have caught him on ‘a weird day’, talking to Jarrett it is impossible not to be infected by his passion, enthusiasm and love for the magazine and where he’s taking Nylon, which is no hold barred everywhere. Jarrett’s passion for the magazine and publishing world started young. A self confessed ‘magazine fanatic’ at the age of thirteen, playing in bands in his youth (if he could play in any band today, he would of course start his own). But Jarrett realised he didn’t want to be ‘a starving musician’ and combined his loves of magazines and music (and a pretty big leap of faith) when he and a friend started alternative music magazine Ray Gun out of the dining room of a one bed apartment, and it paid off. Ray Gun became known as much for the music as it did for the magazine’s
design and use of experimental typography brought by graphic designer and Ray Gun’s art director, David Carson. Jarrett confides that in this industry he learned by doing and it seems that it is this mentality that has brought him to where he is. Launching Nylon on his own terms and pushing the boundaries of magazine publishing, Jarrett continues his unique vision of design and photography, bringing emerging talent in music, movies, fashion and art to his readers’ forefront. Part of Jarrett’s nonstop day consists of checking e-mails, shooting his latest cover star and discussing upcoming covers. With sixteen covers a year between Nylon and Nylon Guys there’s a lot to consider. For readers of the magazine the covers have become somewhat collectables with themed issues running throughout the year; June/July brings us the music issue, August is all about denim, September brings all that’s hot from the new television schedules and October is the infamous It girl issue. But it is the collaborations with lifestyle portal MySpace that thrust Nylon from print magazine into the digital world. Says Jarrett, “MySpace re-invented the magazine”, creating an integration between print and digital media that paved the way for the Nylon brand. The first music issue collaboration (now over five years ago) featured the MySpace profiles of featured subjects alongside the articles, with exclusive accompanying video and music content available online and the ability to download and view the entire issue online. Readers were allowed to literally reach inside and, for the first time ever, engage in an interactive magazine experience that blurred digital and print media. Never one to stand still, Jarrett is always moving forward and the second Nylon MySpace music issue in 2007 was “the most ambitious issue I’ve ever been a part of” pushing the boundaries and taking it worldwide. The international issue covered eight of the world’s hottest cities; London (‘I love British music and graphic design’ confesses Jarrett), Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sydney and New York, exploring their diverse music and lifestyle arenas, bringing readers the best of undiscovered and upcoming talent. Having chosen London as one of his go-to cities and with trends born on these city’s streets, I wonder what Jarrett’s thoughts are on our personal style. “London is very stylish, the weather brings layering opportunities. It’s cold in New York but people don’t layer, people look cooler in London,” he says. For Jarrett, this international issue is one of his proudest achievements at Nylon, exploring all eight cities personally alongside his team in a whirlwind
seven weeks and bringing the reader along for the ride with video and audio content from every location. ‘Building a global brand is tricky,’ he says, ‘trying to be in all the places I need to be, it’s impossible to be everywhere so I try to be in the moment.’ When he’s not city-hopping that moment is in a bi-costal life between New York and LA with wife and Nylon publisher Jaclynn Jarrett. While Jaclynn takes on the advertising and business avenues, Marvin takes the creative lead and proudly confesses that Nylon ‘doesn’t just have readers, we have fans.’ It’s his creativity that keeps this devoted fan base, for whom Nylon is their cultural Bible. ‘They’re the most awesome magazine readers in the world, we’re looking to reach them by any media form possible,’ declares Jarrett. In an age when print and digital are constantly colliding and the future of the print magazine is anybody’s guess, it’s this openness that is the key to Jarrett’s success; there are no limits. It’s the content of Nylon that engages us and says Jarrett, ‘You have to be able to do this on whatever distribution platform your audience is using, I want people engaged however and wherever they want, this is the most important thing.’ Nylon has spent the last five years building this digital content. Nylon TV online is the reader’s backstage pass into the magazine, which is now available in pure digital format as well as having been featured in two i-Pod advertisements, and are currently developing a Nylon i-Pad edition. With digital editions and magazine content available in multi-formats, I begin to wonder if Nylon print will ultimately disappear from newsstands. ‘Will there still be print in ten years?’ asks Jarrett, ‘absolutely! Certain magazines will carry on and bring other forms of content to engage in.’ This is refreshing, while I’m open to reading my Nylon through every medium, there’s an affinity to being able to have the print magazine and thumb through the pages ten times over. With a Nylon photo shoot featured on MTV’s The City, partnerships with Urban Outfitters and Jarrett himself name checked on hit series Gossip Girl, Nylon’s place in today’s popular culture is well and truly cemented, and there’s no sign of this brand slowing down. When looking to the future, Jarrett is focusing on a YA book series which he hopes will run to television and with a new home for the Nylon team in a fresh office with its own photo studio, there’s no sign of the magazine slowing down either. Way back in 1999, when her friend Helena Christensen asks Liv Tyler in her Nylon interview if she believes in destiny, Tyler responds ‘I believe that everything happens for a reason’. Talking to Jarrett, I get the feeling he does too.
www.nylonmag.com/ http://www.marvinscottjarrett.com/ 23
Interview with Shereen AlMulla, CEO & Farah Shanti, Managing Editor of Skin magazine
This was the mission Shereen Almulla, CEO and Farah Shanti, Managing Editor of Skin set out to accomplish when they set up this innovative and creative magazine. The whole process was over seen by Eddie Taylor, Editor-in Chief of Near East Media, someone who Farah cites as “an inspiration”, acting as a guide to the girls overlooking the content of Skin. Photography was a central inspiration to the magazine, evidently so as you flip through the pages of Skin which can undeniably be attributed to Shereen’s love of the field, pointing to Terry Richardson and Guy Bourdin as key inspirations to Skin. Skin also looked to other magazines like Dazed and Confused and Vic, brainstorming ideas with staff on how to make such concepts more ‘Middle East-centric’ and strike a balance between most writing coming from the office staff, while most fashion shoots were commissioned. Central to the pioneering attitude of Skin was how it embraced online media. In a time when more and more magazines are 25
Text Susan Walsh Images: Portrait of Farah Shanti, Managing Editor – Farrah’s (Skin) self portrait is by Jackie Oweis Sawiris. Shereen’s (Skin) is by Humzah Azouqa Portrait of Shereen Al Mulla, CEO and Issa Noor, Art Director of Skin Magazine – Illustrations ARTKSINIYA
making the move online, Skin did too, offering readers the option of either print or an online edition where the magazine is still available to read at skin-online. com. However, both Farah and Shereen are adamant that demand for print is far from gone and both hope the increasing influence of independent magazines will move eastwards but concur that online media has become increasing influential. As Farah even notes, “the first websites I visit every morning are blogs” and Shereen acknowledges using online media heavily as it is “a fantastic way to communicate to our readers or even potential readers”. Naturally, Shereen, a self confessed “huge fan” of photography, is most definitely in favour of street-style photographer blogs.
twist of fate led her to Near East Media. Both however, concede that a mixture of a degree and internships are probably the best routes to success. When I asked the girls what their most missed memories from their time at Skin was, Farah’s was the general silliness and fun that ensued in the office while for Shereen it was the finished product, the magazine itself; a testament to all their hard work. Skin was as Shereen and Farah agree a magazine ahead of its time that often clashed with advertisers in a region that wasn’t quite ready to embrace it with open arms just yet. With that into consideration, it will only be a matter of time before you can be sure of Skin’s return. And with sketchbooks filled with coloured inks, quirky quotes and lots of recipes between them who knows where Skin could go next.
While street style is definitely something that can be seen as a necessity for Skin readers, the continuous rise in celebrity culture is still something they’ve acknowledged will be part of the magazine business. As Shereen says, “People are fascinated with celebrities and if there is one on the cover, it is most likely to sell much more [copies].” What Farah is quick to acknowledge though is that that’s not what Skin is about or what their readers - “open minded male or female who is thirsty for new, forward thinking fashion, art and design”- expect from them either. The mission of Skin is to highlight creative talent in a region which is too often overlooked by the industry is something the duo try to maintain in their work for other publications such as Nox, the leading men’s lifestyle magazine in the region. While both share the passion for higlighting talent overlooked in the region, the paths they took to enter the industry were quite different. While Shereen originally studied Economics at UCL, Farah went straight into work after high school and a 27
Fred Butler ‘Sunshowers’
by Elisha Smith Leverock The fashion industry has always been intrinsically linked with moving image, from helping to create the atmosphere of the era through clothing to, more recently, showcasing clothing through the medium of film.
Fred Butler, along with Elisha Smith Leverock, has created a film specifically for ASVOFF in association with Vogue Italia. Entitled ‘Sunshowers’ and inspired by a simple, one word brief of ‘light’ directly from the blackened mouth of Diane Pernet.
Over the past few years, we have seen an enormous surge in the amount of moving image productions within the fashion industry, both online and offline. It has become an integral part of the marketing mix not only for fledgling brands seeking a less costly alternative to runway shoes and extensive advertising campaigns, but also with more mainstream, established brands such as YSL.
Fred Butler and Elisha Smith Leverock have worked together in the past and are no strangers to creating beautiful, dream like videos showcasing both of their personal skills perfectly. Elisha Smith Leverock is behind the majority of Fred Butler’s photography and is a regular contributor to Dazed Digital.
Fashion films have found their place in a wide range of online mediums, from online magazines such as Dazed Digital who create moving image editorials to accompany their magazine content to new, dedicated editorial channels, for example, Test. Diane Pernet is one of the forerunners of presenting fashion film through her dedicated film website and festival; A Shaded View On Fashion Film (ASVOFF). Pernet has a very personal interest in fashion film and also makes her own viral videos, many of which can be seen on her blog. 29
When asked to speak about the minute brief, Fred said “As natural light plays a significant part in my work I instantly knew I wanted to celebrate the sun in some form.” Clearly showing a great interest, excitement and creativity, the film is unlikely to be anything less than beautiful. The beautifully hand shot short, lasts for just one minute and embodies the word ‘light’ perfectly. Focusing on diminishing light ‘Sunshowers’ is set at the end of the day, with the sunset dancing behind the model, often flashing between her constantly moving limbs. A bleak, sun drenched cornfield acts as the backdrop for this film, creating the perfect colour palette to enhance the angular accessories. The reflective gold pieces play with and refract the
Illustartions: Esther Mcmanus
This is due to the fact that these short films, if done well, speak directly to the consumer, allowing them to digitally interact with the product whilst establishing and cementing the brand further.
LOST IN THE SHELLS
PHOTOS by BARBARA ANASTACIO CLOTHES and STYLING by TOKIKO MURAKAMI HAIR by NORIKO TAKAYAMI MAKE UP by JESSICA WILSON 32
Dolly Jones, Editor-in-Chief of one of the world’s most influential fashion websites Vogue.com, sat down for a talk to let us in to the world of working at Vogue. Contrary to the stereotype of what a fashion editor is meant to be like, Dolly Jones is friendly, stylish and very smart. She walked in with a confident smile, wearing Moschino heels and knew all the staff members by their first name. With such a high-status job you’d be forgiven for thinking she would be aloof, cold and of course ridiculously thin, however as she mentioned herself; “It’s a nice myth but not true.” The reality is that she is a hard-working editor who worked her way up at Vogue for over 15 years from intern to assistant to Editor-inChief of Vogue.com and has seen it all. The cliché in the fashion industry is that working at Vogue is desirable, as much as we’d all like a glamorous job there, we found out it’s not as easy and as glam as it looks and if you want to make it and get a job ‘a million girls would die for’ it takes a lot more work than you’d think. The seemingly simple job of being a intern (we all know interning is not easy) may seem like it’s all about coffee runs and sample returns but if you want to last the placement at Vogue, you’re going to have to go that extra mile especially in this day and age. In this four-part interview Dolly Jones runs us through how she got into journalism, her views on digital media and blogs, the art, fashion and design industry and her tips for getting into fashion media and being successful with it. A.How Dolly Jones got into journalism Sketchbook Magazine: Hi Dolly, why don’t we start with how you got into this great career at Vogue.com? Dolly Jones: Well I wanted to be a journalist, or at least I didn’t know what I wanted to do and so my father sent me to do work experience at The Telegraph. I went on to do a journalism course at London College of Printing and after that I applied everywhere for internships. I was lucky enough to get a call back from Vogue offering me a 3-week placement. After that I got the role as editorial assistant for six months and I’ve stayed there ever since. 35
SB: What made you decide on this career and have you always wanted to go into fashion? DJ: I have always been interested in fashion since I was young and the work placements definitely helped and as I said, I applied for a placement everywhere and I got into Vogue. I’d always plastered my walls with Vogue. I wouldn’t have said I was obsessed but I guess having a bedroom with Vogue covers all over must mean that I was! SB: What do you love about VOGUE? DJ: Vogue has got such a great brand profile and all the editors are so talented. It’s not done by half measures, it’s all top-notch quality and material which is what I am really impressed with. SB: How long have you worked for Vogue.com? DJ: I’ve worked for Vogue for 10 years. I love it. It’s great. It’s the quality of the brand that I find so attractive to work for. I love my job and I also work on various consultancies on the side. SB: What is a typical day for you? DJ: It’s a hell of a rush, everyday. It is difficult and as an editor my job is to push traffic to get people on the site so every day is a constant wheel of 1000 emails, appointments and meetings within the team to swap ideas and get the best ideas. SB: Can you take us briefly through the process of putting together one of your issues? DJ: Well Alexandra Shulman is the main guardian of 36
Vogue Magazine not me. However I have the final say of the online content, within the online team we make decisions together and work on different aspects of the site, for example, Jessica Bumpus does the street style pages but I get the final say on the details of the site. The great thing about Vogue is that we have endless editorial space so the amount of many designers we meet and write about is down to how much time we have. SB: Is there a certain formula you follow to put together the Vogue.com site? DJ: Well I have an editorial team which do the writing brilliantly but there is huge pressure to keep the site engaging and up to date. It begins with how the homepage looks, what news is new and what the readers want to read about, I guess that is the formula we go by is to keep the site up-to-date on a regular basis. SB: How would you compare the Vogue print publication with Vogue.com’s content? DJ: You can’t compare the two really, they’re both a part of the same brand, but being in print is what all fashion designers and fashionistas want; being online is a far more constant, a much more developing communication tool so it’s a different thing. Online is immediate. SB: What are the best and worst aspects of working for Vogue.com? DJ: There used to be a fear factor that came with when I first started at Vogue, the worst part was that it used to be hard for me to call up a designer/showroom and say ‘Hi I’m Dolly Jones from Vogue.com…’ but now I’ve grown and I’ve learnt a lot. Working with online content is a constant development so growing and learning is part of the most exciting and nerve wrecking aspects of the job. SB: What aspects of being an editor do you enjoy or dislike the most? DJ: Being an editor allows you to have an overview of a project, which is brilliant. You can constantly aspire to whatever you’re creating and having an idea and seeing it happen means you’re in the thick of it. I love seeing more people come online to read the work we produce. It is definitely never boring as it is always changing and I think the idea of clock watching would depress me immediately. SB: In terms of brand, is there a certain formula that you go by when it comes to making a piece? DJ: Well we want people to want to live the Vogue life but it needs to have that butterfly-feeling inducing aura. Being online is about the reality as it is more real. I do not think there’s a formula, if there is it’s not definable. 37
SB: What are your future plans? DJ: I hope to stay at Vogue. I get small designers coming to me with queries on how they should present themselves online. I love helping people transform their
B. Magazine/Digital Media industry VL: Street style photographers such as The Sartorialist are becoming equally as influential as editors such as yourself, what are your views on this and bloggers in general? DJ: I think they’re amazingly talented people that have created an outlet for and talented editors in their own right. Like Scott, he had a brilliant idea, and it’s the good ideas that count, it’s not all about people throwing up what they think will be great but the genuinely good stuff.
the users want to come to you. We’re not trying to stop them from going to other fashion blogs and sites but we have to give them a reason to come to us, from my point of view we have to give them something they need. It’s the backbone of our traffic. Our readers sign up to our email and once they have done that there is a trust. In any business there is competition that makes you work harder and I don’t think blogs are a threat because we’re unique too, we have our own selling point.
VL: How do you see the relationship between online media and print publications developing in the future such as at Vogue? DJ: We’re working together more, Vogue and Vogue. com, and it sounds biased but the fact is Vogue is VL: Online blogs and independent magazines are heavy and it’s glossy and gorgeous and you want to becoming more popular and influential, is that a huge buy it. If you’re going to buy it you’re going to buy it; we threat to the need for magazines? DJ: Well our job has gotten harder. But when we started won’t recreate it online and even if we did with every 15 years ago we were really the only website which was page it won’t be the same as that feeling of getting the out there, there’s more competition so our job is harder new Vogue. Because of the desirability of the Vogue magazine we’re but the brand Vogue has an authority which we must in a good position as we are not capitalising on how withhold so in a way providing we step up to that mark we’re ok. The Vogue voice is trustworthy to our readers, we represent the Vogue brand online, yet we’re working together. For example, we’re going to be doing more ‘behind the scenes’ work with Vogue magazine. I think in the past we thought the online presence would undermine the idea of Vogue, now there is a need for it. So no, the Vogue brand will become bigger but Vogue. com won’t be a threat and likewise the online media won’t be so much to print publication. VL: The September Issue presents the process of making the September issue at American VOGUE, would you say the atmosphere and process is very similar at Vogue.com? DJ: (laughs) Working at Vogue is very hig- paced; we have a high standard and so we all work really hard to reach it. However we have a laugh and we’re all friends so no, it’s not like The September Issue presents. VL: Introduce us to the team! DJ: We have an editorial team of 5 people and a technical and a design team; all who are shared between the Condé Nast brands.
visions onto the web, I can definitely see myself staying online as I don’t think I could do print. After all Vogue. com is so fast and it’s daily and I like being involved in transforming what the print publication does online. SB: During your time at Vogue what are your favourite memories? DJ: There have been so many but I think a memorable one is meeting Manolo Blahnik. I was wearing vintage Manolos from a shop in Notting Hill and he came up to me and asked ‘Are they real or are they fake?’ and I said ‘No they’re real, do you want me to take them off to show you the label?’ and he said ‘No, I made them in 1972’, it was an amazing moment. It sounds childish but it’s definitely the little things. Sometimes you get the feeling you’re seeing a part of fashion history in the making. Maybe not world history but you know in years to come people will write about these things. Being able to be a part of that is quite inspiring and that’s thanks to my job at Vogue.
C. Fashion/Design/Art Industry
regardless of all the blogs they read, they will still trust Vogue so it’s healthy competition. You have to treat it as competition; you have to make
VL: In relation to fashion this season sees a combination of trends such as clogs and key staples, what are your picks for this season and timeless trends? DJ: People definitely enjoy high boots, they can be worn with flats and jeans or with a heel, after all a heel makes your legs look better! Sequins will do well this season and next too, it’s sexy and brings out the little 38
girl in all of us, as well as small details that don’t necessarily need to be worn dramatically such as shoulder pads. John Lewis ran out of shoulder pads the minute we saw it on the Balmain catwalk but the point is, trends can be worn in a simple form. VL: Are there any designers you’d like to see gain more support? DJ: I am really unoriginal but I think Lanvin is so fun. The dresses are so effortless and there is such a lovely atmosphere at the show. Elbaz doesn’t need dirty tricks and I adore every collection. I am also a huge British talent fan people such as Roksanda, Richard Nicoll etc. They get a huge applause but then it is difficult for them to get funding which is what is so great about the BFC Vogue fund because it helps people of that ilk. Christopher Kane made a huge scene and people used to think London is so inferior compared to the other cities. Now it’s really proving itself as a hotbed of exciting design, which is weird because Galliano and McQueen are all Londoners. Brits get my support of all the time.
vice would you give aspiring journalists? DJ: You don’t necessarily need to have just internships I think it’s a mixture of everything but good references are key. A degree and internships help but they are not vital, we like people with a interest in fashion and proof that they are ambitious. VL: You got into your position through a opening as a intern for Vogue. It is a lot more competitive to get an internship nowadays, what advice would you give? DJ: Keep trying and when you’re interning, do the best you can. It is so important to arrive early and work late; the small things really do count. VL: Who chooses the interns at Vogue and how? DJ: I choose the interns as they work closely to me, ideally someone should call up Vogue House and ask for the correct person who will then pass it on to me.
Talking to someone with such a high status and authority gave us a greater insight into life at Vogue and life for Dolly Jones. Vogue is truly the world’s greatest fashion bible and as the industry interacts further with VL: Would you say the recession has caused designers/ the internet, Vogue.com is at the front line giving us a unique peek into the fashion industry. Dolly Jones artists to ‘play it safe’ this season? DJ: NO, they were more flamboyant in what they want- herself, left us with the impression that even though ed their brands to be seen as, which was more exciting. Vogue holds that mystic status, it’s still made up of a hard working team who work hard at their job and do it VL: Which designers do you think will do well in the next all in style. few years? DJ: Mario Schwab, Richard Nicoll etc. Christopher Kane will definitely stay around; the moment you saw his Central St Martin’s catwalk you knew you were seeText: Vanessa Lee ing something different but done well. Every year I go to Illustrations: Natasha Thompson that show and I see new ideas and repeated ideas for example shirts worn as trousers. It’s great but it’s not new, and yet Kane’s collection was new but exciting because there were references to Versace but so much attention to detail. D. Process of getting into the industry VL: Many would say Vogue is a terrifying place to work at; even Vogue House itself seems daunting. What do you think about that? DJ: I think it is scary to work anywhere; Vogue is full of a lot of women working together, so it can be intimidating at times but ultimately it is full of really creative people. I think I could be construed as scary but I’m actually just really busy so I don’t necessarily ask how your weekend was every day. It’s a myth that’s it’s scary but it’s friendly and we all enjoy being here. VL: Fashion Journalism is highly competitive, what ad39
Sketchbook STUDIO at Kingly Court Two weeks ago Sketchbook STUDIO moved base to an incredible space in Kingly Court, Carnaby, London. From July 19th to July 30th this hub of creativity was split over three floors. We dedicated one of the three floors to a studio space for 20 new and established artists working on their individual projects or collaborations. A huge range of work was created over the two weeks, including illustrations, painting, sculptures, photography and film. There were no boundaries and the space was completely open to the artists’ ideas. 41
Another floor was dedicated to live fashion shoots. The space was given to photographers and stylists from various publications shooting editorial spreads as well as designers looking to photograph their look-books and promotional shoots. Each day was a new adventure, creating a record number of consecutive fashion events outside of fashion week. Among this creative atmosphere Sketchbook hold a live office where writers, illustrators, photographers and designers were compiling the third issue – The Editors
Issue. The open studio gave our readers and the public a chance to meet the team and see how an issue is created. For the final event, Sketchbook STUDIO hold a huge event including a silent auction, live music, drinks and cookies.
Interview with ArtReview Magazine Editor,
More troubling is its editorial turnover: nine editors in total, six of those since 2000. Despite a chaotic decade, ArtReview has now settled into its current form under MARK RAPPOLT, who took the helm four years ago. As I approached ArtReview’s Islington headquarters I was actually a bit nervous: I remember when I started reading ArtReview as an art history student, and was always a bit daunted by its super-slick, advertisement-laden sheen. I was half envisioning Mark to be the same. It turns out he is nothing like I imagined. He’s younger than I expected, and carries a calm cerebral demeanour. He’s also much more radical in his philosophies than his glossy publication suggests: one of his biggest influences is the experimental Situationist painter Constant. “He was very important in shaping the way I saw art and what was possible,” says Mark, “and as Guy Debord’s best friend, he shaped my ideas of what it was possible to do as an editor.” I was also surprised to find out that Mark never intended a career in arts journalism, and spent most of his teenage years avoiding art wherever possible. “When I was still a kid, I hated going to museums. In fact, I only went to the National Gallery for the first time when I was maybe 19. I couldn’t stand galleries! I think it took me a long time actually; it’s not like at 13 or 14 I knew I wanted to be in art, it’s just something that evolved through chance really. Maybe that’s a better way for it to happen.” Mark’s love for art was a slow-grower, and he originally trained as an architect. As a writer for the Architectural Association, an artist asked him to write a feature. Another artist feature followed, then another, until magazine editing became the inevitable path to tread. The fact that he’s now the editor of one of the most widelyread art magazines in the UK is a surprising outcome, not least for Mark himself: “I was talking about this to friends recently, and we were all sitting around talking about the fact that our ambitions are nowhere near what we’re doing now. I started more in academia; writing for art magazines was
Illustrations: Corinne Delaney something you did for money, and it was almost slightly shameful. It wasn’t academic. But actually, I grew to love the idea of something like ArtReview, where you’re working for a general audience as well as a specialist one.” Thankfully, he seems happy in his current fortunes. “I get paid to do something I like doing, and it’s a lot of fun. I work in a really interesting and constantly changing environment. I guess at times it’s almost hard to think of it as a job.” ArtReview has recently celebrated its 60th birthday, and its evolution its one of magazine publishing’s success stories. From a one-room office in Chelsea in 1949, the magazine now has contributors around the globe and is truly collaborative in spirit. “I guess the most important thing is that we’re a group; it’s not just me, and we’re not hierarchical. We all have completely different interests and we occasionally think of each other as complete morons or fools, so there’s an element of debating. We’re always trying to assess how our tastes cohere or don’t cohere. Just because an artist is featured in the magazine, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I like them; but then, the articles don’t all have my name on them.” And it’s not only the writers that make up ArtReview’s character: “We’re very much a magazine that tries to be a close as possible to where art comes from for the artists, so a lot of the time we’re driven by what
they’re doing too.” The December issue looks back at the magazine’s past, and includes cuttings from renowned critics who have contributed to ArtReview’s colourful history. These include ‘Ways of Seeing’ author John Berger and architectural critic Peter Reyner Banham – considered by Mark to be the most important critic ever. “I really love the magazines from the 50s. Some of my biggest heroes were involved…I think there are some great things in those early issues that had it not been our sixtieth birthday we’d have missed.” It seems this opportunity to look back at ArtReview’s history has inspired Mark for the future. “In some ways I’d like to go back and to more of that; they were doing some really wild stuff back then. They’d do reviews of like beer paraphernalia and reviews of pubs. I love that idea. In all likelihood we’re probably going to revisit some of the ideas from the 50s, and see how they work now.” Reviewing pubs? In an art magazine? Maybe this isn’t such a surprising turn: Mark’s enthusiasm to include disciplines like film, design and random cultural references reflects the art world generally. Art’s traditional boundaries have been stretched to include more than ever, although Mark still maintains a level of caution. “With something as big as ArtReview, it’s a commercial magazine and it has to support itself financially. Going completely wild would mean commercial ruin.” What makes ArtReview such an interesting read is that he manages to balance this sensitivity along with an element of dissent. I ask him about the artist issues, in which a single artist takes the editorial helm once a year. “It started with a conversation about what was the stupidest thing I could do as a magazine editor, which would be to do a whole issue about one artist whose imagery wouldn’t fit alongside lifestyle advertising.” This eventually evolved into an issue dedicated to Elmgreen and Dragset, and most recently Paul MacCarthy. It’s clear Mark enjoys these issues, and finds them a lot of fun. “I just become a sort of facilitator, and everything within the publication is just the artist doing what they want.” In 2007 ArtReview launched its website, which contains many of the features and reviews found in its printed version. “Printed art magazines are very expensive, so the digital version allows us to have a student audience, and it helps with distribution,” Mark informs me. “With the printed version it takes around 10 days to get to the US, but online it’s instant.” There also seems to be a very different idea of what the website is used for. “Years and years ago ArtReview used to carry news, but obviously now there’s no point doing news in a monthly publication; it’s better to do it daily or hourly online. News, fast reviews, pure opinion all seem to 44
work very well online. For us the digital version is very important.” Inevitably, ArtReview shares the same concern as the rest of the media industry about the future of printed publications. With such an abundance of free online media, why on Earth should anyone pay for it? Mark remains optimistic: “The images reproduce so much better in print. We know what the colours and tones look like in the printed version, which is important. Also, online you can go back and change something six times in six minutes, whereas in a printed magazine, once it’s said it’s said. I think there’ll always be a place in art - maybe not in everything, but in art - for something that doesn’t change once it’s recorded. I like the idea that once it’s fixed it’s fixed. As a writer there’s a real desire to want to keep tinkering with something, which you can keep doing until the cows come home. Things sometimes need a definite end.” He also passionately believes in the importance of small independent magazines. “We’re going to be doing some interesting projects next year that are small and independent, mainly not for profit publications. It’s very important that these things exist, because we’re not a small, independent publication. A lot of our writers came up through that system and they have a very important role to play. I’d be very happy to see more of them.” As a writer for a small, independent magazine, I sigh with relief. Mark is clearly a highly intelligent and ambitious editor, keen to play around with the traditionally conservative territory of the art magazine. ArtReview’s current formula is a successful one, and there are two fundamental components to its popularity. Firstly, there seems to be no typical reader; or if there is, Mark hasn’t met them. “We’re quite into the idea that we’re not just writing for our peers and we’re producing a magazine that has this ‘other life’.” Readers and writers alike are varied in their interests, which keep the magazine diverse and interesting. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is ArtReview’s honesty. The dry academia of many art publications is avoided, making art accessible to anyone without a theoretical background. It instead brings us a few steps closer to a usually off-limits art world through the personal. “We’ve done much less of the grand theory stuff and more of the, I guess quite intimate writing.” Putting a human face to art, it seems, is a successful formula.
PHOTOS - BARBARA ANASTACIO CLOTHES AND STYLING - BOBBY CHARLES ABLEY HAIR - NORIKO TAKAYAMI MAKE UP - JESSICA WILSON
MAKE ME A
ERDEM It is safe to say that fashion’s infatuation with Erdem is at a magnificent high, after a year of mounting thoroughly-deserved achievements and awards, the Montreal-born designer should feel rather impressed with himself and a little exhausted you would think... However, the designer is feeling somewhat the opposite, leaving us all feeling a little dumbstruck. Erdem said in an interview with the LFC that he hopes to further explore new materials and techniques to continually evolve the brand whilst keeping the trademark of the ‘Erdem Woman’, “A clever person who probably cares little about seasons. She has a lot of conviction and marches to her own drum.” An Erdem woman definitely marches to her own drum, the statement prints fused with sharp tailoring creates an all together modern take on romanticism, allowing the wearer to feel feminine but with an underlying edge of confidence rather than feminine fragility. He studied fashion in both Canada and England, before completing his masters at the Royal College of Art in 2003. Since then busy hands have been at work creating what is considered one of the most influential and popular set of collections in the fashion world at present.
His self-proclaimed design signatures are colour, optimism and oddities, which certainly ring loud and clear when one looks back over his past collections. The Autumn/Winter 2010 line featured appropriate colourings of navy and green and tones of black and grey, yet the garments themselves were of contrast short, structured dresses teamed with dare-to-bare legs on all the models that walked the runway. One of Erdem’s undeniable strengths is his ability to combine bold prints and detailing to create an image of femininity with an infusion of attitude. A woman would struggle not to feel utterly beautiful whilst wearing a creation by the eponymous young designer, who’s ready-to-wear line, first established in 2005, has won him a great reputation and priceless awards. Among these awards are the Swarovski British Fashion Council ‘Fashion Enterprise Award’ back in 2007, and the BFC’s Fashion Forward award in 2008. In 2009, Elle Magazine awarded Erdem the ‘Fashion Future Award’ and his A/W09 show was mentioned by Style.com in a rundown of top 10 shows of that season. Most recently the designer was also nominated for the much celebrated Swiss Textile Award and
The British Fashion Council’s 2009, ‘Collection of the Year Award’. Erdem takes notice of the young and modern, in particular the clans that cover the streets of London’s East end. The area has long been known for its convergence of eccentric and fashion forward peoples who others aim to emulate in their masses. London in particular has been a key factor in Erdem’s creative mindset as he has divulged his fascination with discovering new and uniquely interesting pastures. The eye-catching creations have gained major press coverage within renowned fashion editorial publications including W, Style, Vogue, Elle, Lula, Harper’s Bazaar and ES Magazine.
Erdem has an ever-growing fan club of celebrity fashion faces. Among them - Kiera Knightley, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Michelle Obama, Erin O’Connor, Thandie Newton and Chloë Sevigny to list a few. This is clear sign of his success and talent and also what must feel like a great compliment to his efforts. The designer’s principle aims are to create personal and special garments that allow women to dress beautifully and confidently. Overall Erdem’s objectives have been met with extreme generosity as women all over the world are sporting Erdem masterpieces and popularity will only increase if the designer carries on as he has been these past years.
JAKE 4 LEANNE SHOOT BY NAOMI JAMES
Photography - Naomi James Styling - Auk Homme and Calum Knight Clothes - Hannah Sea Hair and Make up - Lucy Pearson Model - Camilla Monck
Let them eat cake NJIDE UGBOMA
‘Let Them Eat Cake’, or in French ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’ (and we all know brioche is the good stuff) was an iconic phrase made by Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution when she learned that the people didn’t have bread to eat. Since then the phrase ‘let them eat cake’ has also been used for the cover of an album by the Norwegian band, Motorsycho and the title of an episode of the American drama, House. More recently it has also been used as the name of a new fashion title, a magazine for fashion assistants by fashion assistants, the name symbolizing the rebellious attitude of a new generation of creatives. The magazine targets those who are either in, or aspiring to be in the fashion industry, people who have own ideas and form their own opinions. You could describe LTEC as London’s fashion magazine for innovators. The editor-in-chief, Njide Ugboma, started LTEC after having completed her Masters in Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. The magazine was formed to be a platform for new creatives in the industry who didn’t want to remain in the shadow of their mentors but wanted their talents to shine through. You can get so caught up in being the best intern/assistant that you may forget to get up and go do your own thing, be your own person. Anyone in the fashion industry, or any other industry for that matter, will understand how easily this happens. We paid the LTEC office at Dalston a visit with the Sketchbook TV crew, on a cold January 69
morning, hoping we might get a slice of cake, cupcake… brownies even, really we weren’t fussy. Sadly we didn’t get any cake (hint hint, a delivery to the Sketchbook offices maybe?) but I did get to chat to the sweet team: Njide; her twin, Nneka, the Managing Director and Cheryl Leung, the Fashion Director. The trio was formerly assistants at POP Magazine, and from assistants to running their own magazine, I would say they’re not doing too badly. Njide tells us about how they launched the first issue during a Bora Aksu show at London Fashion Week, giving out copies in the goody bags. Shortly after that, they signed a distribution deal with COMAG and the rest is history. A day in the life of an editor can be pretty demanding, from the putting together of an issue; planning the mood board, going to libraries for inspiration, model castings and meeting with the art director to discuss concept and typography (which changes slightly between issues) to proof reading, editing and even more proof reading. It doesn’t stop there, in between issues Njide is still busy, meeting and interviewing new talent for the magazine, going to fashion shows and exhibitions, writing content for their online portal, Cakeit.net, as well as her and Nneka’s work with the Mushroom Group organizing events to showcase new talent. Phew, I need to sit down just thinking about it. Njide loves being busy and doesn’t really ever stop it seems, ‘I’ve got so many ideas I don’t really want to take any time off’. They seem to 68
something completely random and may not even be a trend. ‘We’ve had ‘Red Hair’ as the trend for A/W and we’d show personal reasons as to why we like redheads and how they are different from blondes or brunettes. Fashion should be fun and expressive, not people looking like clones. [Trends] can also be kind of patronizing, our demographic knows what they like and what they don’t; they don’t need to be dictated to’. She goes on to comment on fashion these days being quite ‘throw-away’ and how she really believes people should learn to invest in pieces and try to cut down their carbon footprint and get better with recycling.
have got the formula down to a t and despite how busy they sound the atmosphere in the LTEC office is very calm. One challenge Njide does talk about is producing a magazine that will always be relevant and will connect with their audience. ‘We try and avoid in-house jokes… you don’t want to alienate people. The magazine is about communicating something intelligent that people can take away with them, which makes them think or inspires them’. The girls are very proud of what they do and Cheryl says ‘seeing the finished product when it’s done…the fruits of our labour and everyone’s hard work’ is one of the best aspects of the job. Meeting people they want to work with or interview is also an agreed highlight of the job with some of their worst aspects being the late nights, spelling mistakes and divas (I asked. They’re too nice to give any names). The media industry is changing, evolving from what we know it as. Blogs and independent online magazines are becoming more and more influential and people have been giving different 69
predictions about how the relationship between online and print media will evolve. Njide doesn’t think this means the end of print magazine and finds it quite annoying that people don’t see them as two different entities. ‘You won’t stop reading books because you’ll always want to be able to flick through the pages. Online media will cause print to adapt, which it should, but I guess we’ll wait and see if it evolves or dies’. And even with the recent launch of innovative products such as the iPad, simulating that same ‘flicking through’ feeling, these efforts aim to build more of a bridge between digital and print, than replace the latter. A big part of the fashion industry is about being forward looking and having the ability to predict trends but because LTEC is about standing out I wondered if Njide still allowed the publication to be dictated by the trends. It turns out that as much as they are aware of the trends they try to do something a bit different. A section of the magazine called ‘trend censorship’ usually talks about one trend- sometimes it’s
Fashion is still however the name of the game and I want to know some of Njide’s favorite designers and inspirations in the industry. She recollects some of her favorite shows from S/S 10, ‘I liked PPQ [because they had all black models, yes brilliant!] and Hussein Chalayan beautiful and very simple. I also liked Mary Katrantzou whose digital prints are extraordinary.’ We also talked about what designers we would position in which houses if we had the power to do so, and she says she would love to see Mary Katrantzou design for Pucci while Louise Goldin would be great for Missoni. ‘It could be a marriage of emerging talent with established houses… sort of a temporary takeover - (we all laugh) - it could happen’. She has been privy to meeting some of her inspirations having interviewed them for LTEC (lucky girl). Individuals who she looked up to whilst at University, such as Katie Grand ‘…an amazing stylist’; Simon Foxton ‘who championed black models when no one else would’ and Terry Jones ‘…an iconic publisher of one of the most amazing magazines in the UK’. She doesn’t believe you should meet your role models ‘but when you meet someone and think ‘hey, you’re really nice and normal’ it makes you think that you, or anyone else, could do it too’.
publication. You can have both a good degree and valuable internships and still struggle to let your voice be heard. Njide gives some sound words of advice, to keep writing even if no one is asking you to and to never stop reading or learning. ‘You have to be really determined, confident and tenacious’; qualities that she also attributes to her success. That and good ideas, of course. If your plan is to also start your own publication, the key is to have a really good unique selling point, believe in what you do and don’t take no for an answer. Njide definitely took her own words to heart; LTEC has grown and thrived since that very first issue four years ago of 16-stapled pages to what it is now. There is no doubt the future holds great things for LTEC and I for one am looking forward to seeing what surprises they are yet to pull out of their magic hats. ‘It’s just about growing for us, staying current and valid and engaging with our audience in all aspects of media. The magazine is like a business card; it’s the face but there’s also so much more to what we do. We’re going to keep doing what we’re good at and what we believe in.”
This industry is such a competitive one to get into, as a journalist and especially starting a new 70
t-post Where most editors spend their working hours carefully preening the pages of a magazine, Ludgren’s publication takes the form of a hand printed, delivered-to-your-door t-shirt. Here, he discusses the inner workings of T-post with Sketchbook’s Fabian James. Peter, how did you begin working with T-post and how long has the project been going for? The idea was born back in 2004 in an advertising agency that I co-owned at the time. During the first two years it was just a fun project that we did in between clients. I always saw great potential i n the project, but realised that I needed to focus on it 100% to get it to take off. In the beginning of 2006 I handed over the agency to my partner, so I was able to give T-post the chance it deserved. My goal was to not take on any investors along the way, even though I had lots of offers. This left me with six months to get the number of subscribers from 300 to a 1000 to still have a job. After about two months we got a centrefold article in one of the biggest newspapers in the Netherlands and then after that, T-post got its own life in newspapers and on the Internet. What made you decide on this path? Did anyone inspire you to start T-post? For me it started with the idea of trying to re-wire the structures of news communication. We started concepting ways to engage people in important topics and our favourite garment, the t-shirt, seemed like an ideal media for doing so. T-shirts inspire conversation, and when you add a story behind them, you get people thinking. By combining a news magazine subscription with a T-shirt were able to utilise the attention and commitment accustomed to the‘fashion world’ while communicating interesting news topics. And by putting the written story on the inside of the shirt just for the subscriber to read, the subscriber is really the one communicating the story and spreading it outside the T-post circle. Since the article is not usually obvious while wearing the T-shirt, it really becomes the wearer’s interpretation of the story, which is even more interesting to hear about I think. What is a typical day for you? It consists of a lot of time spent behind the computer finding new talent for the artwork and finding the right news stories to engage our readers with. 71
Can you take us briefly through the process of putting together one of your t-shirts, from conceptualising a theme through to execution? It all starts with the News Editor. He’s the guy that scans the globe for the best T-post stories out there. He keeps in touch with news blogs all around the world, scans newspapers and connects dots from stuff that’s happening all around the world. He brings to the table a whole bunch of different ideas on stories to run. From there the whole editorial team sits down and decides on which story to run and which pieces we want it to contain. A T-post story often consists of two or three different news stories and reflections that we think have some connection to each other and is intriguing enough to tell our subscribers about. Our stories usually end up living somewhere in-between a news story and a column. With such a small amount of space to publish content in, how do you select what to include? We always choose the story we think is most interesting, the one that has the biggest “wow” factor. The best stories for us are the ones that really engage people. When I read a story that I just can’t stop thinking of and wanting to grab someone off the street, simply to hear his or her opinion on it, that’s the kind of story I’m striving to put in our issues. After the story is set we start thinking of a suitable designer for it. We try to leave the designer’s brief as open as possible so it’ll be the designer’s interpretation of the story that comes through. To keep T-post interesting we work with a new designer for each issue. We’re always searching for new talents and interesting looks. And we’re keeping a constantly expanding library of who we think has the most interesting look for the time being. When we’ve written the editorial piece, we choose which designer we think could best portray that particular story and we contact him or her. That designer then gets to create an interpretation of our written story. So he or she is the one translating our story into a visual for people to react to, until our next issue when a new designer takes over. 73
What are the highs and lows of working for T-post? Highs: We always have a lot of people sending us stories about how our issues have gotten them into situations they wouldn’t have be in if it wasn’t for our t-shirts. We even got a long letter from one of our gay subscrib- ers telling us how the latest issue got him laid! That’s one of the definite highs of this job. Lows: They are still to be discovered... What is the biggest challenge for you in your editorial position on a daily basis? We try to promote the dialogue between subscribers and people outside the T-post circle. That’s definitely a challenge. What are your future plans? Our next step is to give all our fans the opportunity to suggest designers and news stories, and then rate them live on our website. I’m not saying that it will be up to our subscribers to choose the topics and designers but this will open the door to let them be part of the process. Do you think that blogging poses a threat to publishing? Not really. I think there’s always going to be a demand for well-written articles. The blog is just complimentary to that. It gives us a short fix of a lot of stuff and thoughts all sorted by someone that we like and choose to read. If we find the topic interesting we’ll read up on the subject somewhere else regardless. Did online publishing push you to opt for a more interesting medium such as the T-shirt? I think T-post is, in a way, a counter reaction to the blog. Since we deliver our news the way we do - on something that you will want to keep - you don’t get just one chance to read it. You get a chance every time you put the t-shirt on, so one way or another the story comes through. Because of that, we have our subscribers’ full attention and therefore have a bit more time to tell our story. 74
What is your relationship with digital media and social networking - do you Tweet, use Facebook or blog yourself? Oh yes! I think it’s a great channel to talk to a lot of people all at once, even if you just want to give them an update on something. You get instant feedback on it too, which is great. How would you describe the typical T-post subscriber? We have all kinds of subscribers. I would say that they are from 15 years old to 60 years old. It’s the reasons why they subscribe that vary a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that people can get into the publishing business and try it out and hopefully learn a lot, but you need to be honest with them from the start and not let them work their ass of for a position that was never there in the first place. What advice would you give to those wanting to start a new publication? There’s nothing better than making your friends buy your product in the beginning. They will be the harshest critics you’ll ever meet since you’ve made them pay good money for your publication. And they know you too well so they won’t hesitate to crucify you if they think it’s called for. I’ve learned a lot from doing that.
The one being 15 usually subscribes because they dig the way the issues look and the convenience of having it delivered to their doorstep, and that’s pretty much it. The ones aged 20 to 40 years old love the whole concept of T-post and read every single letter that’s written. And, last but not least, the ones between 40 and 60 years old love the stories but don’t really wear t-shirts that much. I would say about 70% of our subscribers are in the area between 20 and 35 years.
Don’t think too much. If you think you’ve got a good idea on your hands, just go for it! Try it out and see what happens.
What is your relationship with advertising?
T-post is a custom printed t-shirt publication produced every six weeks and priced at (euro) 19 per issue. Each issue is a limited edition, printed exactly to the number of subscribers for that individual issue, and no designs are reprinted.
No one likes advertising yet everyone pays for it in the purchase price of a product. Not with T-post. T-post began as an underground phenomenon amongst friends and we have grown honestly and organically. We’d like to keep it that way. We don’t create advertising. We create dialog. We listen. We don’t believe in corporations telling people what to believe. Instead, we only believe in our family of subscribers. Our fans do the only kind of advertising we like: Word-of-mouth. If you’re a subscriber or simply love what we’re about, please continue to spread the good word about T-post. Do you ever have interns? We’ve hade one and he’s now hired. My thought on that is, if you’re going to take on an intern, you’d better be willing to hire as well. You don’t just do it because it’s cheap labour. If you’re depending on interns to make your publication work economically you should seriously consider doing something else or changing your business structure. 75
SHOOT BY LUCY KEBBELL
Illustrations by Steve Doyle
VICKY RICHARDSON Blueprint mag
Illustrations: Luke Furniss
not overly keen to please, her resolve and openness to innovation is exactly what the British Council needs in a time when design is paradoxically so exciting yet so financially restricted. Regarding the British attitude to her specialised subject, she mentions the epidemic of easily accepted contentment that has hit our shores. “There is a complacency about doing things on a small scale in the UK. If you look at all the incredible stuff happening in the Middle East and the Far East in terms of the growth of cities and the growth of the design industry in places like China or Korea, it’s so amazing.” Richardson talks at length about the issue in relation to the recent criticisms thrown unreservedly at the Burj Khalifa, the newest and most impressive addition to Dubai’s skyline, which stands at a monolithic 828 metres tall.
Editors aren’t often on the receiving end of a reporter’s inquisitive wit. Used to posing the questions, it comes as no surprise that the first comment Vicky Richardson greets me with is a passing remark concerning the oddness of the scenario; an editor interviewing an editor. But being on the other side of the dictaphone is going to have to become a speedily perfected second nature to the Editor of the London-based architecture and design monthly, Blueprint, in the “Everybody is so down on that, saying that it is coming weeks. blasphemous to build tall towers and it’s excessive and showy but how complacent is that? Man Although we meet to discuss Richardson’s suchas always tried to reach the skies, to get higher cessful six year career at the cutting-edge, worldand higher, to do what we previously thought renowned design journal that has proved itself was impossible, to build higher, to fly higher, to to be a “must-have” for those working within the get to the moon. All these things are really imporindustry, the end of 2009 saw the announcement tant aspirations to hold onto.” of her approaching departure from Blueprint’s masthead. A major role that has been unoccuI can’t help but feel that her uncompromising pied at the British Council since October 2008, enthusiasm for progression may ruffle a few she has accepted the invitation to join its impresfeathers; Richardson won’t be one for patting sive ranks as Director of Architecture, Design and designers on the back merely to keep the peace Fashion. News of the appointment has spread when yet another by-numbers venture comes to quickly through design communities and with it, fruition. A combination of her personal resolve an interest in Richardson’s vision for a creative and sociopolitical awareness saw one of last Britain. Obviously, things have been a little busier year’s Blueprint issues tackle the tricky topic of than usual. management of public space, an issue which she obviously feels strongly about. Discussing “There will be much more of that around certain themes including the banning of drinking alcohol events such as the Venice Architecture Biennale,” and the private management of open spaces, she explains, describing the British contribution Richardson refers to her team’s attitude as “poas “a real hot potato;” a potato that she will be lemical,” something, which she is openly proud responsible for commissioning when she asof. And rightly so. sumes the role as of March 1st. Personable but 88
course at the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), her foray into interning began.
In an age when media is so often clouded with opinions that exist merely to keep others sweet, a justified defiance of this system comes as a breath of fresh air: “People generally should be a bit more confident in their points of view,” she offers, “and not be so worried about pissing people off or damaging their own career chances.” But to many less established journalists, especially those working tirelessly as interns or assistants, this may seem easier said than done. Richardson is no stranger to the internship system herself, having worked in a dizzying array of small-scale publications to reach her current position, and admits that in publishing, skill, courage and experience are all interlinked. A trained architect, she faced a similar conundrum to many graduating in today’s economic climate as the end of a recession saw her leave college without even an unpaid architecture position. Studios were busy managing their own projects and time, so she turned to writing while working in a local bookshop to make ends meet. After briefly contemplating investigative reporting and completing a standard newspaper journalism 89
“I worked for a week on the Solihull Times and I was living in Edinburgh when I completed my NCTJ course, so I worked with the Edinburgh Central News,” a paper which she admits was “low-grade, local.” Richardson sings praises of the smaller publications that she contributed to in her early years, emphasising how important “on-the-job” learning of a craft is: “A lot of trade magazines contain product boxes which are for paid-for editorial...My (first) job consisted of ringing up companies and saying, “Would you like to pay the £90 colour separations charge to run your new product?” If they agreed, I would fax them a form - this is pre-email - and they would have to sign it and send it back to me. Then I would write 100 words on their new product... Even crappy magazines are good to work on because you learn a lot; you can make lots of mistakes and nobody will ever know.” With regards to driving her own agenda within the magazine world, she explains that, “everybody grows into the job that they have; you get more confident about your own ideas,” referring to a confidence that grew in momentum at Blueprint. The magazine’s varied yet cohesive nature was mentioned, something that she notes has improved with passing time: “When I started... it was this “pick’n’mix” from all the ideas that had been sent to me (from freelance writers), plus a bit of me sitting down and saying, “What’s the big building that’s going to be finishing next month?” It is this “next big thing” attitude that she has seen remodeled during her time in editorship. As the internet expands and online media becomes the first point of exposure for new projects and researching designers alike, the publishing industry as a whole is having to readdress the essence of printed matter and what it has to become to survive. No longer focusing on the latest scoop,
teary sentiment; rather, a persistent optimism about what the future holds. It is clear that, to her, change is an inevitable, integral phase in the advancement of both design and the means by which it is propelled into the mainstream. The “I think much more carefully about what a printed only question that remains now is if the British publication can really do and will excel at that an Council will feel the same. online magazine can’t do,” she cites of her shifting work method, highlighting the advantages of Blueprint is a monthly architecture and design longer lead times which should be spent refining publication, priced at £4.99. With a circulation of “juxtaposition between different articles, the way over 6000 copies and a subsequent readership we use photography and illustration on the page, of over 30,000 architects, designers and casual readers worldwide, it is one of the today’s leading even the type of paper we print on.” But the authorities on current design. ever-impending “death of print” trundles closer as digital formats become more affordable, more www.blueprintmagazine.co.uk accessible and more enticing. Richardson talks positively and determinedly about the challenge of using the advantages of ink on paper over pixels and status updates to keep Blueprint on our shelves.
Although Richardson shirks at the term, she is aware of how reliant Blueprint is on its value as a brand and she stresses how important it is for the twenty-first century editor to think laterally. “There are all sorts of events, initiatives like exhibitions and additional publications,” she explains. “You need to have a whole vision for different ideas and how you can use the magazine as a jumping point for doing different things that are really ambitious.” When asked about her ideal successor, she is quick to clarify that she has no sway in the decision of who will be at Blueprint’s helm come March but hopes for “somebody with a real spark of an idea, even if that they had an approach that was completely different to my own.” Whoever it is, I wish them luck; these are big shoes that need filling and it will be no mean feat to match the resilient, articulate stride that they have become accustomed to. As Richardson talks amicably and perceptively about her career over a glass of Sicani Rosso, it is difficult to imagine her leaving the publishing world. Although she gives credit to her small but dedicated team and speaks about missing them with bittersweet pathos, she shows no signs of 90
ONDINE AZOULAY Sketchbook was able to catch up with the gazelle like style icon to delve into her mind about her approach to styling, living in Paris and supporting independent publications.
Paris in the 8th an 16th arrondisments, boho Paris in Saint Germain, hip Paris in the 10th and 11th... I really love the Marais as do many Americans in Paris.
A lot of your styling work is very opulent and dreamlike, is this your personal epitome of beauty? I think it really depends on who I work with and on the magazine. I don’t really have an epitome of beauty. I love images where women look strong and beautiful. I try to portray this in my styling.
Where would you recommend visiting to someone who has never been to Paris before? There is so much to see in Paris but one thing I would strongly recommend in the spring or summer is a picnic on the Seine. The sun sets at around 10:30pm and it’s really warm. There’s nothing like wine and cheese in the company of good friends on a hot summer’s night on the Seine!
What can you draw the most inspiration from? I like “real” fashion, I can get inspired from someone I see walking down the street. The decade I am most inspired by is the 70’s. I love looking at photographs of my mother from back then. She is the person that inspired my love for fashion. (I also love chic grannies with their scarves and purses.) Do you reflect to the past or look to the future for inspiration? I tend to reflect on the past. The first place I look for inspiration for a shoot is in vintage Vogues from the 70’s and 80’s. I have recently been looking to the 90’s for inspiration, I have been going through old I-Ds and The Face. As you live in Paris, do you find yourself drawing inspiration from your surroundings? Paris is so inspiring! I love to shoot on location as opposed to studio. I like to show fashion in an environment. There are so many amazing places to shoot in Paris. Even though Paris is so small it’s so rich with different cultures and “quartiers”. From one Metro stop to the next it is like you are in a different world. You have chic 91
Had it been your lifelong dream to become the fashion editor and stylist you are today or did you fall into it organically? I kind of fell into it. I went to Studio Berçot to study fashion design but I quickly realized that designing wasn’t for me. I can’t even sew a button! I much prefer to interpret the collections, to show how pieces can be worn. You work through an agent, Michele Filomeno, do you find this is an easier way to work rather than being completely independent? I love having an agent. I have been freelance for a little under a year now and in the beginning it was really scary without having someone to negotiate for you and represent your work. It also feels more professional. You have worked with a lot of celebrities and well known models, do you find you have to approach this situation differently to a relatively unknown model?
Interview with Editor of ALEF magazine
Paul de Zwart losing yourself in its striking visuals, you realize you have stumbled onto much more than you had initially anticipated. You begin to notice the articles aren’t so standard, they have a cultural identity which is not as familiar; you are at once compelled to delve further into Alef where you learn how gold, stereotypically associated in the image of the opulent Middle East, has infiltrated the art scene there: with artists such as Youssef Nabil and Farhad Moshiri incorporating it into their work, this takes on a meaning far greater than posing merely just a luxury item.
Lofty ambitions without a doubt but successful-most definitely; as to pick up Alef is to pick up a piece of culture. This was the mission Paul undertook first as publisher and than editor of Alef where a typical day saw him dividing his time between Dubai, London and Kuwait. And you learn of names such as award winning Jordanian film maker Amin Matalqa or of bands like A self-described risk-taker and graduate of an MA Lumi, a Lebanese electro group making their mark on in Media and Communications from the London the music scene in the Middle East and beyond, or School of Economics, what appealed to Paul about Sara Rahbar, an Iranian-American based artist; names Alef was the challenge: you would not necessarily have heard of had it been the target Alef reader is “an educated, intelligent, the European magazine you assumed you had picked worldly and proud male and female of Middle East up. background between the ages of 25 and 50. They’re readers who wish to engage and be part of the genOr you are exposed to the modernization and revival erational, demographic and cultural renaissance that of carpet weaving. You notice that occasionally a is sweeping the region at this point in time, and they fashion editorial may happen to feature a burqa, but recognize that Alef is on the crest of that wave, or not to make a statement or be controversial, than was, anyhow.” rather capture something that is quite common and natural to the region. This icon of social identity that Alef wanted to capture the spirit of their readers and is part of various social, cultural, economic and politipresent them with a magazine and much, much more. cal developments that have always encapsulated the Having previously co-founded Wallpaper, Spruce and Middle East is what Alef has managed to capture so Line magazine as well as Wink media, Paul was defi- creatively, by giving the scene the spotlight it denitely more than capable of the challenge. serves, without compromising on quality or relevancy To pick up a copy of the magazine you can’t but sus- to its audience. pect it surpassed even Paul’s expectations. It is this visual and cultural identity, which distinguishUpon first encountering Alef, one could easily mises Alef from all the other magazines lining the shelves take it as yet another high end European fashion-art and makes it so alluring. publication, however upon closer inspection while 93
Illustrations: Hlolly Exley
ALEF, during its editorial life span, wanted to bring the Middle East to the world. According to Paul, “the first indigenous, world-class fashion/lifestyle title for and from the Middle East, it was launched to be both a brand to aspire to and to embrace at ‘home’, as well as serving as an ambassador to the rest of the world.”
And Alef’s pioneering attitude extended beyond the pages of the magazine, where sponsoring initiatives such as the Creek Art Fair in Dubai, a platform for more experimental art in the region, was a natural progression of supporting the creative scene.
started bringing thought provoking art, fashion and design from the Middle East to the world, as well as putting the spotlight on subject matter which is often sidelined and dispelling common misconceptions about the Middle East.
Had Alef remained with us who knows what delights its website may have provided, as Paul says, “We live in a web 2.0 universe” and had he gotten a chance to unleash his web strategy for Alef, it’s safe to assume the website would have brought culture 2.0 to us.
Considering that Paul has anointed Unfair as a successor to Alef in spirit with only one issue out, this definitely seems to be a promising, not to mention fair, beginning.
As someone who has worked on many start-up magazines, the advice Paul offers to any aspiring publishers or editors is “creatively always produce your best work and understand what appeals to the reader of today. Commercially be smart, don’t ignore the realities of business and always plan for success.” He also observes how blogs like The Sartorialist are a great example of entrepreneurship, however he does question, “whether they’re [blogs] actually useful or relevant” as a whole considering the “media overload we’re immersed in at present”. Paul’s advice continues on to the beginnings of careers: internships tom him are also vital more so than a degree, perhaps he feels, and interns he acknowledges in general are crucial to running publications, especially small and independent ones. Unfortunately while Alef was doing well in terms of sales, it is no more due to broken promises and unfulfilled obligations by those who were supposed to be there to support it. What Paul recalls most fondly of his time at Alef is that it allowed him the opportunity to integrate into a new region and immerse himself in a different culture which when you think about it, is exactly Alef’s ethos. Who knows if Alef will return, as Paul laments, it “is entirely in the hands of the trademark owner, which sadly isn’t me.” Though the impact of Alef is not forgotten, it has led the way for similar publications in the region demonstrating that not only does such a market exist but is in demand. And in light of such, Paul will continue pioneering innovative publications, one of which is consulting for Unfair Magazine, a new publication which promises to continue what Alef 95