Leading fashion and contemporary culture magazine i-D sat down with Hamburg-based lighting design student and redhead Tristan Rodgers, the founder of the first print magazine for redheads worldwide — MC1R.

Named MC1R, after the gene which causes red hair, the independent art and design magazine is essentially all about the culture of red hair. Interestingly, redheads make up 2% of the world’s population, thus categorizing them as a minority in every country and culture.

Rodgers explains how the magazine began as a photography project for him and a few friends that turned into a redhead movement, where it creates a positive vibe for redheaded artists by allowing them to be identified by their red hair in a positive way.

What led you to launch MC1R?

“It started as a photography project with a small group of friends who all have red hair, too. After a while, the project expanded and more redheads joined, so I collected their stories while shooting photographs. My interests in photography, design concepts, art, and independent print magazines developed even further, so out of curiosity, I looked into how much it would cost to print a few private copies of this collected work as a small magazine for everybody who had been part of the project. It turned out that the print cost for 20 copies was very close to that of 500 copies, so I started a crowdfunding campaign to see whether anyone else would be interested in reading something like this. There were more than enough pre orders, so I was able to print 1600 copies of the first issue.”

How do seek out stories or subjects? What inspires you?

“I contact the artists who I’d really love to feature, for example Giovanni Lipari or Jens Kaesemann, who shot the cover and some larger editorials in the current issue. I also receive submissions directly from artists, or friends will recommend others they’ve found on social media. I get inspired from the feeling I have as a redhead myself and how it connects me to great quality work. Even when the submissions aren’t the best or are too similar to pieces I’ve already run, I always try to send back feedback to the artist. When I’ve finished initial selections, I discuss everything with Max Weinland, MC1R’s layout editor, and my good friends Patricia and Lenard who are redheads with strong opinions.”

What have you learned about redhead culture?

“A lot! I discovered that there’s a big network of and for redheads emerging around the world, and I’m now a part of this movement. People really connect at redhead festivals; they share what they’ve made or their experiences–it’s big, positive hype right now. Some people argue that focusing on the hair itself is a paradoxical method, but if people are identified by the way they look, making work about it allows artists to represent themselves and create a positive feeling for everyone. Someone else in a different part of the world might have problems with his appearance, so creating something positive could help him find strength.”

How does redhead culture differ in different parts of the world?

“The Irish Redhead Convention will be the first of many redhead festivals I’m going to visit this year. I discovered a strong art scene full of projects and events in the US, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Southern Africa, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Israel and Germany. While there aren’t overwhelming differences, I have noticed that in England, projects are more motivated to change society’s negative vibe about redheads into something more positive.”

You can read the rest of the interview at i-D, and if you’re interested in purchasing, the latest issue is now available at MC1R‘s website for about $19 USD.

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