The best friends are those you don’t see for several years but with who you immediately pick up where you left from, as if those years were days. The unexpected arrival of issue seven of MC1R feels similar; has it really been five years since we last saw each other?
The answer is yes—issue six appeared back in 2017. A combination of factors caused the interuption: founder Tristan Rodgers felt his magazine was standing still, and looked for inspiration in a new job at a creative agency. The job inspired him but took all his time. Then the pandemic hit…
For those who haven’t meet the ‘Magazine for redheads’ before, a recap: Tristan started the magazine (named after the gene responsible for human hair colour) out of a desire to reach other redheads like himself.
As he told us back in 2015, ‘Redheads are one of the smallest minorities in society, and they often grow up without the kind of self-understanding that would protect them from discrimination, stereotyping and bullying. With this project, I hope to give younger redheads the experience that I missed.’
The magazine quickly established an audience in response to its niche, but also became a flagbearer for the new generation of super-niche indies. Its subject was easily understood, while the actual magazine delivered an unexpected punch: there was a lot to say and celebrate about redheadedness. Redheads loved it, others enjoyed its surprise filter on society.
I asked Tristan what had changed in the intervening five years—had the redhead experience changed? ‘Redheads have become more and more visible in small book and fashion projects. And the quality is getting better. You could see all over the social feeds how redheads pushed memes and videos to raise the popularity of red hair. A lot of these young creators have the self esteem that the world needs.’
Less good news has been the cancellation of events. ‘Redhead Days in Netherlands, Italy, Germany and England all had to be cancelled during Covid-19. Redheads need these gatherings, especially those who don’t have the social reach and network they need to talk about their experience of being a redhead.’
‘One Facebook group where I am admin increased its members from 3,000 to 12,500 over the pandemic, and it was clear in all the different discussions how some people miss the real life connection between redheads.’
And now MC1R is back too, providing another link between redheads. Did Tristan see a chance to make changes to the magazine? ‘I had a lot of discussions with new designer Marcel Häusler about how much we should change. We decided together not to change that much. A few details around the layout design, typeface, a bigger logo on the cover and more photographic content.’
As the pages shared here show, the dominant colour on the pages remains red, naturally, but it’s offset with some strong blues. There are less words in the issue, but Tristan promises some stories ‘will get distributed and extended online over the next weeks, so we can offer the readers more insights and stories around the content of the magazine.’ He sees this as a potential way to head off ongoing paper price increases for future issues.
Two of the photographic stories struck a chord following another 2015 comment from Tristan, that he wanted to feature more Hollywood stars. Issue seven features shoots with both Susan Sarandon and Julianne Moore. ‘An old friend of mine, the photographer Jonas Unger, is now known worldwide and has the best connections. He provided me with photo series of these two iconic Hollywodd redheads. It was lovely to see Julianne Moore celebrated the issue release on Marcel Häusler’s Instagram feed with a series of emojis.’
Tristan also has other plans around the issue. One thing he got off the ground over the pandemic was a collaboration with sustainable sunscreen start-up Suns Care. ‘Besides the sunscreen itself, I organized a short film and new merchandise around a ‘sunscreen club’.’ As well as being a driver for the return of the magazine, the project has encouraged other directions for MC1R. ‘We’re planning more brand co-operations, some redhead gatherings, and I’m also curious about events or discussion panels at Europe’s magazine stores.’
Watch this space!
Meanwhile, it’s great to see MC1R return and a re-enthused Tristan pushing it new directions. The magazine was always a strong idea, and we think it’ll be better received today than ever. Which is why it’s our Magazine of the Month for June. Welcome back, old friend!