Contrary to the official Instagram feed, it’s not all sneaker drops and new collections in the HS office. Quite a bit of printed matter comes through our doors; not all of it involves naked women, either.
Some of the selections are paper imprints from our favorite brands or agencies, others are indie publications that have piqued our interest — all feature distinctive storytelling, even if it isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes we’re drawn to a particularly ardent piece of prose, other times it’s arresting photography or an unusual layout that makes us revisit an already-read page, sometimes it’s a combination of all three.
Every month we’ll be sharing a few of the volumes that have found a permanent home on our office shelves or in the living spaces of our writers and editors.
Highsnobiety Magazine Issue 12
As a publication that exists in a digital and print format we often obsess over where the intersection of the two occurs. What does the speed of the digital age mean to global culture? What does it mean to slow storytelling, to the printed word?
These were some of the questions that we asked ourselves as we pieced together Highsnobiety Magazine’s 12th issue. We chose cover stars with careers that reflected the duality of the fast-yet-slow age we live in. For instance, Pusha T and the stable of artists he oversees as president of G.O.O.D. music can be heard globally. Yet nevertheless, Pusha resolutely defines his own brand of hip-hop; it’s a decision that has created an odd paradox of celebrity and anonymity.
In South Korea, Chaelin “CL” Lee is a household name, but it has only been recently that she’s garnerd such a large number of Stateside fans, proving, as editor Pete Williams states, “even in the age of limitless global access, there’s still plenty out there to discover.”
Lastly, there’s Jun Takahashi, the celebrated but (to some) still faceless designer behind UNDERCOVER. His long-spanning career is a testament to the ability of design to remain a constant through generational and cultural shifts.
Since its inception in 1994 Supreme has been widely regarded as a bastion of skate and youth culture. Over the years its limited drop formula, tongue-in-cheek knack for re-appropriation, and ironic branding have secured its global appeal — just stand outside of a store on a drop day for proof.
The label’s zine carries on in the same tradition, interspersing shots of disenfranchised youth with cultural relics ranging from nods to classical, contemporary and fine art, to pornography, film and literature. While it may feel like a wild mashup of random visual cues, it, like Supreme, seems to say that culture, with or without context, is still fascinating.
Odiseo Volume 7
Published by Barcelona-based design agency, Folch, Odiseo Journal echoes the studio’s interdisciplinary approach to creation. While one could rightly categorize the volumes as erotica, it would be a bit of an oversimplification to view any of the issues as mere tools to accomplish sexual gratification.
From thoughtful essays to gender-fluid photography spreads, Odiseo attempts to reformulate our ideas of erotic publications. Volume seven takes on the rather monumental challenge of exploring notions of truth, not only in the context of interpersonal relationships but in the mediums of art, writing and beyond.
If you lived off of the Metropolitan/Lorimer stop from June 2013 through January 2014 you may remember a rather unremarkable looking kiosk simply named “The Newsstand”. Yet in the tradition of fable, where the frog is actually a prince or the homely peasant girl a fair maiden, the kiosk was really a creative haven. It was an open-to-all pop-up where homemade zines, artwork and memorabilia could be dropped off to be sold and shared with MTA passengers and other visitors.
Though only briefly in existence, its legacy was so impactful that MoMA hosted an installation that featured a re-creation of the stand for its New Photography exhibition. Fine art publisher Skira Rizzoli in collaboration with ALLDAYEVERYDAY are preserving the era of The Newsstand with a volume that includes over 300 independently produced zines, publications and artworks from a laundry list of artists and publishers. Even if you never got to visit the stand, this gives you a good idea of what it was all about.
The NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue
People get excited over a lot of things in our office, but there have been few moments we’ve seen our executive editor as excited as he was when the reissue of NASA’s Graphics Standards Manual was announced. The first version, created in 1974 by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn of the New York design firm Danne & Blackburn, forever changed the brand identity and perception of NASA.
Formerly dated logos, old processes and fonts that smacked of bureaucracy and intransigence were transformed into sleek, modern representations of the future-facing ideology that so many of us instinctively associate with NASA. In essence, NASA’s visual identity finally matched its purpose. Of course many changes have been made since then, but the manual certainly marks an historic turning point for how US government agencies interfaced internally, and with the public.
Where Do You Wanna Go Poggy?
In “Where Do You Wanna Go Poggy?” UNITED ARROWS & SONS Creative Director Motofumi Poggy (just Poggy to most), leaps beyond street style icon straight onto the illustrated page. He appears, eclectic outfits and all, as the star of this charming picture book drawn by Amigo Koike.
Thanks to the invention of a “Funk Machine” Poggy is taken on a whimsical journey through time and space that sees him exchanging sneakers for a pharoah’s gold, enjoying a beach day and more. For those interested, just past the index you’ll find carefully constructed renderings of some of his outfit choices, along with brand names and pricing (in Japanese yen).
Words in Grey
It’s not every day one receives a book of poetry that includes an invitation to physically interact with the existing work. Artist, musician and writer Genesis the Greykid’s thin volume, “Words in Grey”, does exactly that. Pages one through 77 offer a glimpse into his thoughts, which are winding, yet somehow organized by color names that settle like a mood in intertwining, venn diagram-like circles.
From page 78 on the reader is invited to complete the poetry book with their own writing or illustrations. Genesis also provides prompts to engage and direct his readers thoughts.
Signatures Magazine Issue 0
“The publication you are holding right now represents the beginning of a new celebration of African creativity”, reads the introduction to the inaugural issue of Signatures Magazine. The freshly-minted bi-annual imprint features in-depth profiles and explorations of a rich creative scene that spans across the continent and into the diaspora.
We were particularly taken with the “How to Capture a City” segment which will be a reoccurring column. The feature taps documentary and street photographers to share their work and discuss their unique approach to chronicling their home cities.
Yeezy Season 2 Zine
Thus far, every Yeezy presentation has been marked by an aura of that borders on inhospitable. The collections are modeled on straight-faced bodies that twitch moodily, sometimes shooting the audience a glare but never a smile. These bodies are swathed in a masses of nudes, browns and taupes, like a sea of desert-dwellers endlessly wandering across dunes that lead to nowhere.
The Yeezy Season 2 zine isn’t much different. Even the single picture of a toothily grinning model does little to change the atmospheric photography which depicts parched earth, dusty, red rock, and granite. It feels like an apocalypse has come and gone and the world-worn survivors are still pissed they lived.
- Photographer: Thomas Welch