A decade ago, a demonic whirlwind swept through the fashion industry: “print publishing is dead!” it was announced from the corporate towers of New York, which resonated across the Atlantic, to Europe, and all the way to Tokyo. The rapid popularization of fashion in the aughts, which gave rise to iconic titles such as Self Service, Fantastic Man, Acne Paper, W, V, and DANSK as well, seemed to have come to a hault, caused by two double strikes of technology and economics: the rise of Web 2.0 and the global recession. Together, they saw the challenging of the print fashion magazine as a viable medium for fashion communication and promotion, which threw every editor, stylist, and journalist into deep existential despair. Many titles (Acne Paper most visibly) withered, others (i-D, Dazed) invested heavily in digital presence, but for long, many in the industry held their breath. But now, a decade later, we’re sensing a new wind is rising in the publishing field. In recent years, we’ve seen and followed the rise of a number of new magazines and annual titles, characterized by bold editorial and journalistic content and a new aesthetic vocabulary. This new wave of publishing has been cleansed for much of the promotional/news material that characterizes mainstream fashion publishing (this content has largely migrated to the web), and instead boasts quality content that invites concentration and reflection. The modern day fashion mag has transformed from a media outlet to a collectible; a precious item that feels good to own and keep in your house, library, or shop. Below are some of our absolute favorites:
Named after the notorious artist community in the Texan desert, MARFA Journal is an idiosyncratic art/fashion zine that have taken a central spot in the publishing scene in just a few years. Set up by 22-
You hungry? We know we are. In fact, we’ve been waiting for a fashion title that celebrates rather than shamefully hides away our close (we mean, very close) relationship to food. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve come to appreciate more than the Kate Moss diet, but luckily, so has the fashion industry. Luncheon was born in London riding the current culinary craze that the British capital is currently experiencing, by a couple of creatives previously at Fantastic Man and Acne Paper. Publishing twice a year, the first five issues of Luncheon has featured daring editorial content with taste-makers from the world of art, fashion, food, and politics, all centered around gastronomy, cooking, and other sinful pleasures related to food consumption. It’s an awfully stylish affair, actually—finally a good reason to eat. Bon Appetit!
The most important voices in fashion are always the young – students and graduates saturated with idealism, still unfazed by the oppressiveness of the corporate fashion world, ready to revolutionize the whole thing again and again. For the latest in this sphere, 1 Granary is undoubtedly the answer: born by Central Saint Martins students in 2012, it has since grown as a community platform for students between CSM, Royal College of Art, Antwerp, and Parsons in New York. A bible-like annual issue gathers the work of the newest talent as well as exclusive interviews with some of the industry’s leading voices; all highly invigorating, political, and important. We promise you it’ll make you want to return to fashion school in a heartbeat.
One thing that characterizes much fashion publishing is the predominance of imagery and the lackluster writing; often, fashion journalism serves a promotional purpose, and with advertising money taking an ever-more essential role in publishing, it’s rare to find a space of critical reflection in the fashion world. Vestoj is the exception: founded and edited by Swede Anja Cronberg, the annual magazine has single-handedly inveted fashion criticism of the modern age. Survining on funds from London College of Fashion, the magazine is entirely ad-free which allows it to tackle fashion’s most urgent questions within gender, politics, production, sustainability—always from an eclectic mix of researchers and industry insiders. The latest issue is about Authenticity, and is highly recommended.
299 792 458 m/s
For the boldest voices from the art/fashion hybrid world, look no further than 299 792 458 m/s — the unpronouncable title (which takes its name from the exact speed of light) published by German art/fashion multi-tasker David Lieske since 2017 is the one to opt for. Lieske, a gallerist, writer, artist, DJ, and now editor, engages the print medium to play with his expansive network of stylists, photographers, artists, and other impressarios across the industry, which produces eclectic and bold editorial content with little concern for any kind of economic reality. Essentially an art project, 299 is the kind of project you’ve always wanted to pull off with your BFFs from fashion school. Ever the rule-breaker, the latest issue, The Overworked Body, serves as the norm-defying catalog for a recent exhibition at Mathew Gallery, Lieske’s New York business. Confused yet? Just get the damn mag.