This Brilliant New Zine Channels the Spirit of Rave

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Rave Zine, Issue 1Photography Peter Carter, Styling Flo Arnold

Rave Zine is a new publication from photographer Peter Carter and stylist Flo Arnold, featuring the work of Rosie Marks, Julie Greve, Zhi Wei and more

It’s a sunny Thursday evening in Soho, and revellers spill out from a Greek Street gallery on to the street outside. A bouncer from the next door bar tries, and fails, to clear them from the road and pavement; there are balloons, printed with yellow acid-house smiley faces; various dogs circulate; a song from 1990s DJ/MC duo RatPack plays out from inside. It may not be a rave per se – it’s all very civilised, and will end just after 9pm – but the sense of abandon is fitting: everyone is gathered to celebrate issue one of Rave Zine, a self-funded, DIY zine which marks 30 years since 1989’s euphoric Second Summer of Love.

“Last summer was this long, hot summer, and it felt like everyone was feeling really hedonistic,” says stylist Flo Arnold, previously of British Vogue, who began Rave Zine alongside photographer Peter Carter. “It was the 30-year anniversary of the Second Summer of Love and we were thinking about that ethos: about community, that DIY spirit of the old rave days, that kind of freedom.” Arnold and Carter had been worked on various jobs together (Carter previously assisted photographers Theo Sion and Colin Dodgson), as well as shooting for Document Journal, and decided that it was time to focus on their own work. “We really wanted to do something for ourselves that was completely our own project and the idea just grew and grew,” says Arnold. 

Over the next year or so, the concept Rave Zine was born: an entirely self-funded zine which would feature fashion stories by Arnold and Carter, as well as photographic projects from image-makers Rosie Marks, Zhi WeiAlbi Gualtieri and Julie Greve, who won last year’s JW Anderson Your Picture/Our Future prize (and subsequently shot the brand’s campaign). Each photographer is young, and distinct: Greve’s wistful photographs of teenage girls recall the work of Justine Kurland; Marks’ documentary images capture the strange, often garish mundanities of everyday life: here, teenage revellers in backpacks and ball gowns at a British prom party. The cover story, which stars model Suzi Leenaars and was shot by Carter and styled by Arnold, epitomises the zine’s title: “They are these isolated pictures with plain backgrounds, but it’s all about moving and being free and dancing and going crazy,” says Arnold. “We wanted to capture that spirit of rave.”

The resulting images are collated in the 100-page-or-so Rave Zine, of which a limited run of 100 copies were available on the evening of the launch (in keeping with the DIY ethos, they arrived just an hour prior). For Arnold and the photographers featured, it felt important to print the work: to have something tangible, that people could touch or hold, and not simply images to post on Instagram. “Rave Zine is really about freedom: we wanted to give each person complete freedom with what they wanted to shoot, the number of pages, the layout, everything. We wanted to have work that we all could print and keep it and show people; that didn’t just exist on Instagram, or people’s own websites,” Arnold says. 

The sheer utopian spirit of 1989 might be difficult to recapture three decades on, but Arnold and Carter are doing so by conjuring the values of early rave: of youth, hot summers, friendship and community. “We’ve both worked in the industry and it can be quite cut-throat and competitive,” says Arnold. “But we were both interested in celebrating other people, the people that we like and admire. We just wanted to build a community and support each other and celebrate other people’s work as well as our own.”

But Rave Zine is also proof that you can do it on your own, without the backing of investors, or advertisers. “I guess it just proves you can do it with like no money and just for the love of doing it,” says Arnold. “We just wanted to say it’s nice to do this and more people should try to do this if they can. You don’t need a million pounds, you just need a will to make it work.”

As for the launch party itself, it passed like all good parties should: “It was a bit of a blur,” Arnold laughs. “We all ended up in Wetherspoons next door.”

Issue 1 of Rave Zine is out now, contact @rave_zine for details.