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Emir Eralp

Talking about an Impossible future with Lily Cole

The multi-talented model, actor and entrepeneur has just launched the first print edition of Impossible – here we find out more

“If we just rely on politics as an institution to fix up everything, we’re totally fucked.” These are the words of Lily Cole, the model, actress and founder of Impossible, a social giving network that has just launched its first print magazine, featuring Vivienne Westwood, Paul McCartney and Joss Whedon, along with essays on ethical fashion and the corporate evisceration of Soho.

Not only is the content compelling, but the Poison Girls-inspired aesthetic of Impossible leaves an impression on the reader that this is both manifesto and magazine, despite Cole’s assertions that this is not activism in the conventional sense.

“It’s not activism in the sense of big grand gestures,” she says. “I think activism can feel quite alienating and it feels like it’s a label you subscribe to a really specific type of person, whereas I think what we’re trying to do with Impossible is have a bit more of a generalised appeal where you could argue that it’s activism but it’s much softer gestures which could be as simple as like smiling at someone on the street or doing someone a small favour. It’s trying to make activism a bit more mundane and a bit more everyday.”

“I love physical objects and I think that there’s loads of things that come with having physical objects like serendipity, because you can just give them away or leave them in different places and people will discover it” – Lily Cole

So why start a print publication in a digital age? “I love physical objects and I think that there’s loads of things that come with having physical objects like serendipity, because you can just give them away or leave them in different places and people will discover it,” says Cole. “In a way it’s quite different to clicking on a link online or sharing things online. I think we spend so much of our lives on phones, or at least I do.” Coupled with that, Cole was looking for more outside the fashion world where she made her name.

“I love clothes, I love parts of the fashion industry and I love dressing up,” she says. “I have huge respect for the creative people and their energy and the friendships I’ve made through the industry. But the actual day-to-day job of modelling, which is typically turning up for photo shoots or going on catwalks, for me it was quite a boring job.”

Cole is an exceptionally confident conversationalist, who appears to have a clear focus on who she is and what she wants to do. These attributes feed into Impossible, a newspaper (she feels funny saying “magazine”) that feels agenda-driven and anarchy-inspired without veering into propaganda. For Cole, the print edition is a moment in time and she’s relaxed about the idea of doing another issue. “It’s been really fun and it’d be great to do another issue, but it's in that realm of a kind of nice consequence of other work we've been doing for the last few years. But actually there's no such thing as impossible, so this certainly isn't either.”

Order your copy of Impossible here