In a period of confinement and social upheaval, AnOther Magazine presents an issue built on discussion, community and creative expression
Part of our job, as a magazine, is to converse – with the industry, and ultimately with the reader, to tell our story for the season. AnOther Magazine is always built on discussions, and this issue, more than ever, those have been complex. Because reflecting a time such as this isn’t simple.
Over the past six months our world has changed immeasurably. Both the restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and the profound political actions resulting from the Black Lives Matter protests across the globe have – rightfully – dominated conversations. This magazine is inevitably shaped around those conversations, the ensuing discussions, the radically engaged debates that continue even as we go to print.
AnOther is also shaped around and inspired by fashion – because this is a fashion magazine and fashion itself is a conversation. Not just within its ranks – its designers speaking with their teams, photographers with stylists, the intimacies shared between models and hair and make-up artists – although, given that all of those conversations have been disrupted, this is a celebration of them, too. On a wider level, fashion is a fundamental and important conversation with the outside world: what we wear is a form of self-portrait, an architecture defining how we wish to be perceived. Not by accident are there so many self-portraits in this issue – the moment engineers them, but they also feel right.
There’s another level to fashion’s conversation: as a creative expression, fashion is timely, first and foremost. Time defines fashion – it was to be the subject of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s summer Costume Institute show, now delayed. And to quote Nina Simone (who unsurprisingly came up in more than a few conversations): “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
What we have endeavoured to achieve is not a divorce of fashion from the political and societal upheavals we are experiencing, but rather to contextualise fashion within that fundamentally changing landscape. That is intimidating but also exciting, as we can watch our world, potentially, being reshaped for the better.
Great fashion isn’t frivolous. It isn’t vapid. In reflecting humanity’s perceptions of itself, it is keyed with shifts in belief. Collier Schorr has photographed Janaya Future Khan not in their own clothes, but in the designs of a rich cross section of creatives. Khan embraced the opportunity: as international ambassador for Black Lives Matter, their image is a tool to communicate their cause, their body is a vehicle for change. Can fashion amplify that? It not only can – it is its fundamental role, and maybe its greatest achievement to do so. It is why dictators fear fashion and why revolutions use dress as an important tool.
We talked with many fashion designers about this – both for the conversations that structure the magazine, but also because, during times of uncertainty, and indeed isolation, it is human nature to seek solace in community. What were they doing? How were they doing? What are they thinking? Ideas that came up again and again were those of fight or flight – should fashion be dressing us to weather the times or to escape them? In conversation, the designer Rick Owens developed this further: “Fashion is always about defence and fantasy, but with this new generation’s expanding consciousness of responsibility, in addition to ‘fight or flight’, perhaps we have added ‘unite’.” Erudite, as always, his words have ended up on the cover, as have his photographs of his wife, Michèle Lamy. They were captured as part of a special project realised during lockdown and directed by the photographer Paul Kooiker, also featuring Kim Kardashian, photographed by her husband Kanye West – a visual attestation to Lamy and Kardashian’s perhaps unlikely friendship.
Inspired by Owens’s words, for this Autumn/Winter issue of AnOther Magazine, the first created this decade, we chose to unite. In the first place, on the eve of its 20th anniversary, this magazine has joined forces with Another Man, going back to its roots as a biannual that is gender non-specific, a magazine for all. In so doing, we embrace our own history as a publication that exists across generations: many of our contributors have been with us since the start. They helped delineate our identity, shaping and reshaping it over the years, passing their skills down. Katy England has created a collage of people, paintings and fashion close to and moving her; Alister Mackie has curated Document. A shoot celebrating emerging designers immediately follows the extraordinary imagery capturing John Galliano’s Autumn/Winter 2020 Maison Margiela Artisanal collection: arguably, no two figures have been more inspirational to future generations.
The stories throughout the issue are named after ballets and operas – centuries-old acts of creative expression, around which people convene. And this is a magazine, a community, around which people have always gathered – we are so grateful, then and now, for their contributions. They not only enrich our history, they have made it. While we always thank people here, under the unique and frightening circumstances of 2020 our thanks take on a new gravity: this magazine could not exist without the passion and love of the image-makers, writers and creatives within its pages. Jane How made all the clothes for her story, inspired by specific pieces by some of her favourite designers; Katie Shillingford sent her edit of the season to Viviane Sassen in the Netherlands, where she photographed it in nature; Ellie Grace Cumming styled Susie Cave at her home in Brighton, in Alessandro Michele’s collections for Gucci, past and present. I wish I could mention every contributor here – but hope the strength and beauty of this issue, a testament to their work, is a fitting tribute. Thank you, all.
This magazine was put together in the strangest and most difficult of times. The world remains strange and difficult, and doubtless will do for some time. Yet our wish is that in the world, as in these pages, people will find hope, thoughtfulness, truth and, above all, joy.
AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020, which is on sale internationally from October 1, 2020.