For so long an entrenched and untouchable part of everyday life, in recent years the immaculate face of the “glossy fashion magazine” has begun to sag a little. With millennial tastes and consumption habits shifting, the phone book-sized stacks of advertising, alien beauty standards and pervasive soullessness that once characterized such publications has slowly been pushed aside to make way for a new generation of forward-thinking titles with a more vibrant, youthful lean.
While whispers of the death of print abound in the modern, digital age, the sheer number of fresh and unfamiliar fashion magazine covers popping up on shelves today tells a rather different story. While they might not always be available on the shelves of your local newsagent, with a little bit of searching in the right places you can find plenty of evidence the print medium is experiencing a healthy underground resurgence and isn’t ready to give up the fight just yet.
(After all, our own Highsnobiety Magazine is now approaching its 12th edition, and is going stronger than ever – Ed)
To better help you track some of these titles down, we’ve rounded up a list of a few of our favourites. Below you’ll find a mixture of independent and DIY fashion publications that are making the most of the freedom of expression that comes with going it alone. Step-by-step, they’re paving the way for a whole new generation.
After taking almost three years to release their first issue, and with a design and layout that changes completely with each edition, Spanish fashion zine Buffalo flies in the face of the ruthlessly fast-paced and regimented traditional world of fashion.
Bored with the mainstream magazines that were available to them, Buffalo founders David Uzquiza and Adrián González-Cohen decided to create the kind of unique and avant-garde publication that couldn’t be found on bookshop shelves.
Packed full of bold color, wild editorials and ’70s-inspired graphic design, Buffalo pays homage to the forefathers of fashion publishing while simultaneously pushing things forward with a truly individual style. Backed by an impressive list of contributors, such as legendary photographer Bruce Weber, punk icon Patti Smith, and scene socialite turned fashion maven Chlöe Sevigny, this eccentric and eye-catching DIY publication has earned a worthy reputation among the new wave.
With just three issues under its belt so far, fashion and photography title Pylot is already turning heads with its strong ethical commitment to no airbrushing, photoshopping or beauty re-touching of any kind. That’s a bold move for a fashion title, but a refreshing and necessary step forward.
On top of this, Pylot celebrates the skill and artistry behind analog film photography with a strict “analog only” content policy that even extends to the advertisements! Together, editor-in-chief Max Barnett and photo editor Bex Day select the next-generation of upcoming talent to fill Pylot’s pages, offering an alternative to the polished perfection of the modern fashion magazine.
Through their all-natural philosophy, the team at Pylot are not only challenging the way we view fashion photography, but are also addressing the negative effects that arise from the increasingly unattainable standards of beauty in the media today.
Based between New York and Vancouver, counter-cultural title Sneeze is presented as a huge, unbound, poster-style magazine with the genius idea that all pages can be removed and used as art for readers’ walls.
But it’s not just this neat party trick that Sneeze relies on to impress its audience; the resolute and authentic editorial content is always one step ahead of trend, exploring deep into back alleys of fashion, street culture, skateboarding and music. This is all paired with striking, top-notch photography from frequent contributor Kenneth Cappello, and a less-is-more approach to its layout design.
With previous covers featuring the likes of A$AP Rocky, Kate Upton, Iggy Pop, Tyler the Creator, and posters from Supreme/Kate Moss, it’s easy to see why you have to act fast if you want to get your hands on a copy.
Is In Town
Dedicated to giving new models a voice, London photographer Martin Zähringer’s unique magazine concept offers an insider’s glimpse into the fashion world. With his candid and conversational interviews, Zähringer provides a platform for some of his favorite upcoming models to connect with the world — individuals that would otherwise remain seen, but not heard.
Beginning in 2013 as an online platform, Is In Town recently moved over to print in the form of a traditional black-and-white zine-style publication. Refreshingly honest, the title allows models to give personal opinions and share experiences about the industry, refuting the out-dated stereotype that models are just pretty faces.
Full of brilliant photography, shot mostly by Martin himself (with occasional help from other great talent), Is In Town is printed biannually and is now available at leading stores like Colette and The Photographers Gallery.
A far cry from what most of us were doing in our early teens, 13-year-old Oslo-born editor Elise By Olsen became bored with the safe, minimalist aesthetic of Norwegian publications and set out to break the mold with her independent fashion magazine Recens Paper.
Created in honor of youth and the subcultures it encompasses, Recens’ colorful pages are filled with bold, forward-thinking editorials from the freshest of young creative talent from across the globe. Sticking a middle finger up to the commercialism of the mainstream fashion industry in all its forms, Recens seeks to refute the pervasive stereotypes of young people held by creative industries.
With issue two on the shelves by the time she was 15, it doesn’t look like Olsen (current Guinness World Record holder as the world’s youngest editor-in-chief), will be slowing down any time soon.