James Fairbank, Rapha
This week we’re at work with (or on paternity leave with...) James Fairbank, head of brand at Rapha, catching up after the release of the first issue of the brand’s new cycling magazine Mondial. With under three weeks to go until The Modern Magazine conference, James also tells us a little bit about what he’ll be discussing in his keynote.
Where are you today?
Sitting at my kitchen table staring out at the rain. I became a father for the first time five days ago and I'm firmly in the netherworld.
What can you see from the window?
Cacti on the windowsill, wet tarmac, a pillar box and a few pedestrians scuttling along hunched under umbrellas.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Definitely morning. I'm at my most productive as soon as I get up, the rest of the day is a slow slide towards bed.
Which magazine do you first remember?
Either Farmers Weekly, my Dad was an agricultural consultant and I was obsessed with farm machinery as a child, or Cordon Bleu Cookery Course, all that jelly shot against a black backdrop.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
There's a copy of The Gourmand, Private Eye, The Week and Bicycle Quarterly on the coffee table. I've flicked through The Week.
What’s your favourite cycle route this morning?
I haven’t ridden since Clem arrived but I daydreamed my way round Epping Forest on my Cross bike this morning.
Why do you think that more and more brands are deciding to produce their own magazine?
It's a wonderfully tangible brand statement and a significant chunk of traditional print media is in a race to the bottom. It's also a real challenge, Mondial wasn't funded by marketing budget, it had to stand alone financially.
How did you go about translating the Rapha brand and aesthetic into an editorial voice?
Rapha’s rather ambitious goal is to help make road cycling the most popular sport in the World and we exist to honour the sport. These twin aims set the bar for all aspects of our creative output: from editorial design, to the writing we publish, to the photography we commission. Keeping to these standards provided a reasonable foundation for a magazine.
What will you be discussing at the Modern Magazine conference?
I hope to expand on why we decided to commit Rapha to print again and how the published magazine differed from the original brief.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
Watching how Clem changes daily.
What are you least looking forward to this week?
The lack of sleep.
What will you be doing after this chat?
I’ve got a bit of shoot planning to do, this might be punctuated by a nappy change.
Tickets are still available for The Modern Magazine 2015, a day of talks by the best contemporary magazine-makers, including James from Rapha. London, 29 October.
Buy tickets now.