Now on its second issue, More or Less, founded by ex-Vogue Art director Jaime Perlman, holds up to its mission statement ‘to provoke thought about the decisions we make when we buy clothes – factoring in the realities of cost and consumption’.
Originally, each outfit featured in the magazine had to be styled to cost no more than £500, but this was upped to £1000 to account for the fact that ‘good value’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cheap’ when it comes to sustainability. Of course, £1000 is a huge amount for most people, but that’s a maximum, and there are lots of features about hand me downs, upcycling, or how one might incorporate rented clothing for quotidian sartorial style.
There’s a journalistic element to it too – six photographers were commissioned to document the problems of landfill and plastic waste to really bring the message home. Contributions (above) from, left, Bibi Cornejo Borthwick and, right, Michael James Fox.
Cover star Amber Valetta (above) speaks about taking time out from her modelling/acting career to launch a business based on sustainable fashion. She tackles what it means to continue working within the fashion industry whilst trying to take a stand against waste – only the oil industry pollutes more than fashion. The interview amplifies her voice and we can feel her rage spilling forth. It makes for a memorable read, which is important if the magazine intends to influence its readers’ ethical buying decisions long after they put it down.
Charlie Porter’s essay, My Favourite Thing, spills the beans on the lazy language of fashion journalism – noting that most writers will never have even touched the item in question, and have almost no concept of how it feels to actually wear, relying on cliché and hype to whip up interest. Arguing for the mundaneties that are associated with writing about clothing after the point of production is part of the difficulty: the language is less glamorous, less cultivated, even when woven through with love and appreciation. ‘It still has not unravelled’. It’s a compelling piece that, incidentally, aligns itself with the new trend for ‘Marie Kondo-ing’ your wardrobe that’s sweeping the world after her Netflix show.
The oversized format of the magazine lends itself to giving attention to colours, patterns and textures that are layered on top of each other, and to full-bleed photographs that command attention. It’s tempting to think that a magazine toting its eco-credentials ought to be smaller, easier to transport and take up less paper and ink, but in the crowded fashion magazine space, more seems to work better than less — at least in this case.
A shoot styled from vintage pieces sourced at London’s Portobello Road market reminds me of the outlandish ballet costumes by German Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer – not least because the shoot is styled onto scarecrows (above), and their rigid bodies have a surrealness bordering on the post-apocalyptic.
Overall, the mix of vintage, upcycled, unisex and reclaimed outfits give the magazine an air of timelessness – it’s less grounded in what went down the catwalks last fashion week – and an ethical edge over its counterparts. It’s good to come across a high-end fashion mag that doesn’t focus on just new new, but what you can create out of the old or pre-loved.
It features a diverse range of models and doesn’t focus on using the notion of celebrity to represent coolness. As we said about It’s Freezing in LA! last week, it feels timely and urgent to have magazines looking for alternatives to the way we in the West have become used to being.
Editor and creative director: Jaime Perlman
Art director: Sandra Leko