With all the predictions for magazine publishing in 2017 now in, a consensus has built around the idea that new indie launches will be of the small, accesible type. Leaner, smaller, more nimble is the message, and I’m as convinced as anyone by this direction. But it would be a dull world if everyone just toed that line, and as if to make a defiant point against it, the first issue of a new mag called Print has just arrived.
Produced and published by Francesca Burns (UK Vogue fashion editor) and creative director Christopher Simmonds, this 25mm thick (there are no page numbers) behemoth of a publication arrives in its own brown archive box. This is a magazine to keep! It sits inside the box with a bunch of posters, postcards and pins held together by a green rubber band that is as carefully considered as every element in the box. The green matches the magazine’s huge spine and clashes perfectly with the red of the cover image.
As its provenence hints, the magazine has an all-star cast of fashion contributors: photographers include David Sims, Zoe Ghertner and Harley Weir and among the written material are pieces by John Waters and an interview with essential artist/educator Dick Jewell. The closest recent thing to Print is probably last year’s Boys Don’t Cry from Frank Ocean, so it’s perhaps not a surprise to see him offer a photo story here too.
Fashion magazines sometimes leave me cold, the individual stories can be contradictory and in the worst cases they can seem mere portfolio-building exercises. Print is different. The content matches the production values, every contributor has been given space to express themselves and everything is beautifully paced and edited, with different papers being cleverly used as neccesary. The reader really gets a sense of the individuality of each contributor, with stories ranging from pure fashion via travelogue to more personal work.
One moment we seem to be in west coast America, the next on a London council estate. Nothing feels like filler and everything bears repeat viewing, although Terry Richardson’s follow-up to his recent book about his girlfriend’s pregnancy stretches this. The larger-than-life image of the fresh contents of a nappy (also here as a glossy poster) tested me. Give me Angelo Pennetta’s mix of London models and Italian life anyday.
If the fashion world is addicted to hype, for once that hype is valid. Print is Magazine of the Week for the way it brings together work from some of the best fashion photographers and stylists and makes it feel celebratory rather than predatory.
Sadly the limited edition first issue sold out ahead of publication; issue two is on its way.