My first magazine job was art directing eighties style mag Blitz, a magazine that has largely been overshadowed by The Face and i-D since. These two were launched by experienced industry figures – i-D’s Terry Jones was previously Vogue art director and Nick Logan had edited NME and Smash Hits before launching The Face – while Blitz started as a student magazine at Oxford University before moving to London and going glossy. The Face and i-D lasted longer thanks to backing from Condé Nast (and later EMAP) and Time Out respectively, while the young owners of Blitz rather foolhardily went it alone.
It all seems a long time ago now – mainly because it is a long time ago – but my memories of the magazine were brought back when I heard from Blitz’s fashion editor Iain R Webb. He was after a few thoughts for a book he was compiling about his fashion work at the magazine, and now that book (above) has just been published. I’ve not seen a copy yet, but hope to review it here soon.
My immediate memories are to do with the technology (or lack of), it being normal to smoke in the office (the art room had a permanent cloud of blue smoke hanging just above head height) and meeting some great people, not least my wife Lesley.
Design-wise, after a few issues I was given pretty much a free hand to make the sort of mistakes that taught me much for future work, though at the time I was convinced I was reinventing magazines. Yeh! Looking at copies now the reality was something a little more prosaic, though there’s the odd spread that makes me stop.
The book arrives at a perfect time, with so much interest in the eighties, and it brings renewed attention for the magazine. There’s the launch of an archive website, a Facebook page and a weekend of events at the ICA this weekend (May 18/19). A suitable preface to the V&A’s upcoming ‘Club to Catwalk – London Fashion in the 1980s’ show.
‘As Seen in BLITZ: Fashioning ’80s Style’ by Iain R Webb is published by ACC.