Jeremy recently wrote an article about the monumental Buffalo Zine, which he dubbed the ‘magazine hanging around at the back of the classroom, chewing gum and planning another night out on the laughing gas’. If that’s the case, then Marfa Journal is Buffalo Zine’s ironic best friend, the practical joker tipping pushpins onto the teacher’s chair whilst wearing an oversized FCUK t-shirt.
The first time I came across Marfa was in Berlin’s Do You Read Me!? – two baseball cap clad guys were inspecting the six different covers and ecstatically shouting ‘The new Marfa’s arrived!’ I’d never heard of it, yet the 300 page, hard-back tome of a magazine – which looks more like a yearbook hijacked by high-school cool kids than any ordinary fashion publication – has quite the cult following. We got the Marc Jacobs ‘MARFRIENDS’ cover of the Daddy themed issue three, but others include Chloe Sevigny on a motorbike and a grey cover boasting a picture by fantastic fashion photographer Harley Weir.
Other publications in the prestigious Buffalo/ Marfa mag-gang would probably include London-based Mushpit as well as the older, more relaxed sister Hot & Cool. Like these examples, Marfa’s editor Alexandra Gordienko’s day job is as a stylist, and the magazine is a platform for her to showcase and cultivate her own vision. These magazines are ones with a taste for mismatch typography, for lo-fi analogue photographs of cheap charity shop finds and tongue-and-cheek, deliberately tacky illustration (above). The ads match the editorial aesthetic, blurring the lines between these traditionally seperate elements.
Although Marfa is in many ways a niche fashion magazine with a small print run, the content still manages to create a stir: issue three’s shoot of Chloe Sevigny became the topic of an Independent article earlier this year (a news piece nonchalantly entitled ‘CS poses with a lobster on her crotch in daring shoot’). The shoot (presented as a series of ads peppered through the issue) sums up Marfa’s silly and satirical approach to fashion – and the way that they use typography, photography and clothes to create delirious, theatrical fictions.
Other features in the parent themed issue include designer Jonathan Anderson discussing the importance of drinking with your mum (above), and filmmaker Gaspar Noe sharing his experience of going to riots in Argentina with his dad (below).
Marfa started out as a Central Saint Martins graduate project, and with issue three it still has that laissez faire sensibility and belief in its own vision that usually crumbles once students leave University and enter the working world. It’s a magazine that takes name from Texas city Marfa, and it’s inspired by the look of Larry Clark films and the fun to be had with crazy colour hair dye. The careless whimsy and self-assured drive of the mag recalls the kind of energy and clarity of vision that once made magazine like i-D and Dazed so exciting.
Right now is an interesting moment for printed fashion publications: there are more glossies around than ever, thick mags with expensive shoots and overwhelming amounts of advertising, but there are also more and more rebels – magazines challenging the relentless churn of the seasons and looking for style and substance that lasts.