Art director Verity Pemberton is founder of Moon, a fashion magazine that has worked its way into our consciousness thanks to its bright, chatty character. As she puts it, ‘Moon is about sharing the stories of creatives we find inspiring, spaces we want to nose around alongside some beautiful fashion editorials.’ We catch up with her as issue eight flies off the shelves.
How do you start your week?
At the moment I start my week with a sort of fake commute which involves a 5k run around the park near my house and then I pick up a coffee and head home to start the day. I do this every day so now recognise all the park regulars; it’s also meant that I have heard the same running playlist since March so I really need to change that up.
I work in my studio but manage to get out for shoots which is nice as I way prefer doing my job when I am not behind a computer planning but rather on location or set and actually creating and making the ideas come to life.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your studio/office
I would say it’s an of organised mess – the studio space is a work in progress and on my to do list to sort – I really love the cabinets we had made by Tiago Almeida which hold a lot of my reference books and also act as an archive for all the issues of Moon that I want to save. I am always writing on post-its and have piles all over the desk alongside a nice collection of colour magazines and a big Marshall amp that I listen to podcasts on.
There’s an old Olympic poster on the wall and plaster cast pieces of eyes, lips and a nose but I definitely want to cover the walls more and make it feel like a really inspiring place to be in.
The window from the studio looks out into my garden, during this time I have really enjoyed just planting it up and sorting it out.
Which magazine do you first remember?
I guess I used to love reading the weekend bits of the guardian whenever my parents had it, my brother also used to write for The Face and Sleazenation but they were a bit too old for me.
From about the age of twelve I started reading Vogue and would obsessively cycle to the local newsagents on its release day, then go home, read it from cover to cover and then tear out my favourite pages and plaster my wall with them, I remember loving Elle Girl and Teen Vogue.
But I loved Vogue. There was a shoot Nick Knight did with Lily Cole and Gemma Ward on the cover (above) – both the start of their careers and I just remember being so in awe by it. It is funny now as it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as the magazines I love now.
Which magazine matters to you the most right now
I absolutely love Apartamento, that would be my desert island magazine. I just think it has such genuine tone of voice, the fact that the people they interview are all ages and all walks of life and you know you can read about someone you have never heard of and just get so immersed in their world and that is just magic to me.
That is when magazines are at their best, when they are truthful and the people behind them are making them for the right reasons.
Also a shout out to Cheap Date by Bay Garnett and Kira Joriffe – some of the concepts in that small zine were so ahead of the times – the riffs/copies of an iconic YSL advert with the lettering changed to Salvation Army and the model dressed all in charity shop finds. You can feel the friendships that put those pages together and it shows in the magazine.
Describe Moon in three words
Ideas on paper.
How does running your own magazine relate to your work as an art director?
I definitely think working as an art director has helped Moon develop, I am constantly working with new photographers, and always referencing and researching so it means that my creative mind doesn’t really stop and an idea that might not work for one project, say would be perfect for Moon.
I am also used to being a bit of a one-man band when putting together Moon so when I am on a bigger production or set for my work I still have that mind-set so can work quite quickly on all aspects of the creative.
Many magazines promise a mix of art, creativity and fashion, what defines Moon as different?
I create Moon because I want to share people who I find inspiring who might otherwise go under the radar. Moon isn’t snobbish or ‘too cool’ its fashion but designer or vintage, it’s people I admire, it’s stories and it’s genuine – I create it because I love to create and I love celebrating others who do.
You do everything on the magazine – art direct, write and design. How long does an issue take to complete?
A long time. I work full time so Moon is what I do on my evenings and weekends – I started doing about two issues a year but as my jobs got more demanding that got harder to do – issue eight just recently launched which was great and now I am about to start planning who to feature in the next one.
Share one piece of publishing/business advice that has helped you.
Make friends with your printer.
Looking ahead, what are you excited about this week?
This week I am excited to send out a bunch of copies of Moon that have been ordered over the weekend, we have also started to think about a few event ideas that are just at planning stage at the moment but am excited to do something in the future where it’s taking the ethos of Moon but making it interactive.
It’s Halloween on Saturday so I’m planning to watch a few horror classics at the weekend.
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