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Monday, February 13, 2012

PAPERED: Magazines To Make 2012 Worth Reading

Some people obsess about shoes, about collecting video games, boutique toys and even stamps. I obsess about magazines. From the small pocketbook sized ones, to the larger than life A3 formats of the likes of ARISE and V Magazines. This obsession started years back. Way back before I even knew one could have a sterling career within the magazine publishing sphere. I once came across an issue of DRUM Magazine while scratching through my grandmother’s suitcase. The she was, Mama Makeba, looking fab and somewhat skinny, on the cover. It was love at first sight.

Since then, I made it a life’s mission to get hold of magazines. Read them, analyse them, critique them, and most importantly for me, to understand them. After a while the passion was fully-fledged passion induced obsession. I used to initially read the magazine front to back page by page. Then, as the years went by and I started developing a personal eye for them I began to read them in a different way. 1st I look at the cover and back covers. Then I move through the magazine going through all the advertisements, checking out the art direction, photography and styling. Then I go through the editorial fashion shoots, taking in all the edgy photography and skilled styling and looking at which models made the cut for which shoot.

And then I read the articles.

It’s a bit backwards, one would think, but it’s what works for me and it helps me get a holistic overview of the magazine, its theme for that issue and understand the copy better. Essentially, the magazine is for reading, and what’s the point of all the pretty pictures if the editorials don’t make intelligent sense.

With 2012 in full swing, here are my suggestions of magazines you should be reading. Some are a little more difficult to get hold of, so you might find yourself reading them sporadically. Generally, any good book store should have these titles stock at least a month after issue internationally. You might also want to canvas the neighbourhood for boutique bookshops, they also tend to host some real gems.

10MEN Magazine

10MEN is a British quarterly magazine, published by mother-brand TEN Magazine. It is in print what The Renaissance Men aspires to be online, in terms of editorial content and the quality therefore. It continues to feature bumper-packed issues four times a year of super duper men’s fashion. From an all-male designer casts to models and creative minds within the industry. 10MEN is definitely a magazine all men should proactively seek to own. It’s filled with everything you need to know in a language and tone that speaks directly to you and not the egotistic twin you own in your head.

1883 Magazine

1883 is one of those magazines that off-hand you’d assume is targeted primarily at women. However, it’s democratically unisex. It boasts a well-balanced feature of both male and female fashions and news. My love for this magazine is based on its layout. It works through showcasing the shoot first, and then it profiles all the parties that were involved in bringing the shoot to life in the pages that follow. It’s like going through a creative sketchbook that has been photoshopped. It’s sleek, simple and provides quality content with exciting photography and fresh couture. Another bonus with this magazine is, if you’re image driven you’ll be happy, as the magazine boasts a majority photographic format with only enough copy to get the message across.

Arena HOMME+

If you wanted to take a page out of a fashion bible to apply to your style for six months, you might want to get your hands on the bi-annual publication, Arena HOMME+. The publication is like a man’s gps through the fashion terrain for six months. Filled with insightful style and trend breakdowns (by the way, style and trends are two different things, hence the individual attention) that will help even the most inept of us piece together a wardrobe worthy a compliment or two. What also works in Arena HOMME+’s favour is their strong editorial content. Not always lengthy and robust in language, but entirely honest and relevant. They blend the fabricated aspirations sprawled over the fashion shoots seamlessly with the meat on the bones of the words used to construct creative and insightful editorials.

HELMET Magazine

Ever attended an exhibition opening and found yourself in-love with the gallery itself, notwithstanding the exhibition in it? Then, when you finally descend from the high you find yourself in awe of the art within. An hour later, you find yourself continuously titillated by the different breeds of people you’re interacting with at this exhibition – painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, creative directors, fashion designers, merchandisers, menswear buyers and so forth. Well, that’s pretty much the same thing that happens when you read HELMET magazine. It’s a wonderful soft-spoken space, on print that houses all these different creative fields on textured paper in spiffy layouts using witty photography and Oxford English in plain Jane style. And it’s from down under. Just get it. You’ll see what I mean.


Barry Ronge is considered an opinion leader when it comes to movies and theatre. Gwen Gill, bless her soul, was considered the key opinion leader in all things glitz, social and fashionable. INDUSTRIE is what you will begin to consider as the industry standard of being a key opinion leader in all things fashion. My love for this magazine stems from its intense use of copy, not just how gorgeous the copy looks on paper, but the quantity thereof as well. It’s the kind of magazine you actually read for the pleasure of reading a fashion magazine. The fashion spreads included in each issue are merely byproducts of putting together a fashion magazine. The content is of an extremely intellectual property and is geared at educating, enlightening and dealing with the most revered topic, those norm and taboo. And what I also fancy about INDUSTRIE is its ability to pose tough questions to both the industry and its consumers.

Generally, fashion magazines are to be used as a guide to trends, fashion and style currently free flowing in the world. They are testament on paper of what is available to one to explore and utilise as a tool for their expression. Magazines are there to also educate, debate topical issues and push the boundaries of what we know as fashion. I read them for everything they have to offer and use them as textbooks to better understanding the dynamics of fashion.

Some other fashion magazines of interest you should look out for are:

·       Palladium
·       Cent Magazine
·       Schön!
·       TANK
·       Another Man
·       Surface Magazine

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