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032c, 20th anniversary

032c, 20th anniversary

A very happy 20th birthday to Berlin’s ‘Manual for freedom, research and creativity,’ 032c, which celebrates with a late winter 38th edition.

Like any self-respecting magazine that reaches such an age, alongside the regular mix of content – in this case its’ familiar and very particular intersection of art culture and fashion – there’s a special section offering insight into those 20 years. 032c has always been proudly print-centric, even as it expanded its digital presence. From its original tabloid newsprint format to today’s 280+ page glossy with cloth spine, the belief in print as the central part of the project is evident.

This point comes across strongly in the 20th anniversary section of the issue. Instead of compiling it themselves, the magazine’s editors invited online platform New Models to look through the magazine’s archive and consider how the 20 years have played out.

We hear from founder Joerg Koch and others on the magazine’s team; there are quotes from the many articles written about the magazine, its gallery and clothing brand. The publication’s growth is measured out across a vast timeline (designed by Alyssia Lou), that explodes open in a gloriously mad pair of 14-page fold outs, themselves a further celebation of print.

There is plenty of information about the development of the mag, worth reading by any ambitious publisher: one side of each carries interviews and timeline, the other acts as a mood board for the history, echoing constants reference to the magazine as a mood board for the fashion world.

Koch’s opening statement about wanting to avoid Anglo-American influences as he fashioned his ‘punk fanzine meets Dieter Rams’ may seem a bold ambition, but it’s a good description of what he produced. 032c remains one of the lodestars of the independent publishing scene, as important and influential to its times as the original British trio of The Face, i-D and Blitz.

Despite its avowed German-ness, it was one of a small group of early indies – see also Self Service and Fantastic Man – that published in English, helping establish the international indie mag market we know today. It fully deserves this birthday celebration.

One of the aspects highlighted in the timeline is Mike Méire’s 2006 redesign of the magazine, highlighted at the time by multiple sources including us at magCulture, and ultimately labelled ‘The New Ugly.’ A neat additional nod to this aspect of the magazine’s history is the repeat of some key typographic styles on the issue’s credit page (below).

So, happy birthday 032c, and congratulations to all at the mag especially Joerg Koch and Mike Méire.

Download a key to the visual foldout section of the magazine here.

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