Our second Reason to be Cheerful centres on the passion of the man who launched i-D 40 years ago and continues to develop the magazine’s legacy.
Terry Jones left British Vogue in 1980 (he was art director), frustrated by that magazine’s inability to recognise what he saw happening on the streets and in the clubs of post-punk London. With the support of fashion brand Fiorucci, he launched his alternative, i-D, a zine that quickly established a family-like group of collaborators crossing fashion, art and culture in a way that seems obvious today but was quite extraordinary at the time. The family vibe was emphasised by the involvement of Terry’s wife Tricia and their children as they grew up alongside the magazine.
A new generation of makers and creators both contributed to and were recorded in i-D’s pages, famously in its ‘straight up’ street shoots. A list of the photographers, writers, editors, models, artists and designers who launched their careers via the magazine would go on for pages, but two stand out as particularly relevant right now.
First, Dylan Jones, now editor-in-chief of British GQ, who has just published the book ‘Sweet Dreams’ an excellent collection of reminiscences of the early eighties club and music scene encompassing the launch of the original trio of style magazines i-D, The Face and Blitz. And second, one time model/stylist Edward Enninful, who is now editor-in-chief of British Vogue, completing a neat circle back to i-D’s origins.
Terry retained control of his magazine until 2012, when he sold it to Vice Media. He kept the magazine’s archives, he and Tricia taking the collection of issues and exhibition prints with them when they left London to live in Wiltshire last year.
Today he continues to work with that archive material. For the 40th anniversary issue of the magazine he’s created a series of collages using covers, pages and ephemera from not just i-D but also his times at Vogue and Vanity Fair. The spread at the top of this post shows him working on large flat collages, but he’s also been applying imagery to the filing systems and even the original Apple Mac Plus that was used to create early i-D pages (above). He’s dedicated the works to the late Tony Elliott, Time Out founder, who supported i-D from 1984–2004.
Alongside the photographs of these collages being created, Terry’s written an essay about his years with the magazine which is well worth a read.
I spoke to Terry recently and he described a lack of work ethic around what he was doing, but it was clear from how he talked about the collages that the entire i-D project remained very much alive to him. He still loves the analogue nature of printed matter, enjoying seeing the raw grain of enlarged cover designs (seen in the image of Naomi Campbell in the top image here), and talks with passion about how a magazine can reach beyond the limitations of the printed page.
It’s a cause for celebration that i-D continues 40 years after launching, and also that its founder continues to believe so passionately not only in the idea of it but in advacning that idea.