Today's retail environment is harsh at the best of days, and recently there's been a surge in premium east London high end fashion boutiques. Hostem on Redchurch Street never had a problem in sartorially asserting its presence - selling Adam Kimmel, Visvim, Damir Doma and Ann Demeulemeester, to mention but a few - but owner James Brown and business partner Mark Quinn soon realised the importance off added-on value for its loyal customer base.
That's where the shop's new fashion slash art magazine comes into the picture. Sebastian Magazine - edited by Vague Paper head honcho Matthew Holroyd - takes its obvious reference points from Hostem's fashion line-up but adds an interesting arts and culture angle. The debut issue features pieces on father and son design duo Casely-Hayford, a piece on New York architecture, interviews with Maureen Paley and Geoffrey B Small, advanced photography from Asger Carlsen and, er, words of advice from Katie Price aka Jordan on how to ride a horse...
Dazed Digital: Who is Sebastian, where did the name idea come from?
Matthew Holroyd: Sebastian feels like some sort of lab created child, although I have had to share visiting hours with his other creators James Brown (Hostem owner), Jonathan Baron (Art Director) and Mark Quinn (Publisher), he is very much a reflection of all of us, he is inquisitive and always wants to know more, which he gets from James, he is also a perfectionist and very aesthetic which he has inherited from Jonathan, he is authoritative and decisive which is definitely a Mark quality, but he is also rather naughty and macabre, plus hugely attractive which is definitely from me!
We decided on the name Sebastian as all of Sebastian’s creators have names that sat in the popular name category, which Sebastian does – (sitting pretty in the top one hundred of most popular names for boys). We also wanted to keep the name fairly neutral, I think when you name someone something as outlandish as Candida, one sets the tone instantly for that person. We also very much enjoyed the historical context and meaning of Sebastian the name.
DD: What would you say is the magazine's DNA, its Unique Selling Point?
Matthew Holroyd: When researching other publications we were very aware of print versus the Internet, for which for most magazines I think this is an exciting transition, who really needs a disposable gossip mag on paper, it is far more suited to the net? With Sebastian we have made a beautiful object that one would keep forever, we are hunter gatherers, objects are hugely important to us.
DD: Art, as much as fashion, seem pivotal to the magazine - how do you see the relationship between the two?
Matthew Holroyd: In context with the magazine we have used fashion and art to review what changes are happening in contemporary culture, which we have applied to all stories in Sebastian.
DD: Who - and why- is on the cover?
Matthew Holroyd: The front cover is by Asger Carlsen. I first discovered his series Hester a while back and was blown away by it, so it was hugely exciting to work with someone who really is challenging contemporary photography. On this project we put him together with Stylist Lauren Boyle who is one of the creators of DIS Magazine in New York, Lauren is someone who is really pushing the boundaries of publishing, DIS is one of the most original online fashion projects out there.
DD: What photographers and writers have you worked with?
Matthew Holroyd: Photographer duo Blommers/Schumm have a created a series called Nineties Catalogue; I really enjoy their staged scenarios and uncanny take on advertising and commercial photography. Photographer Audrey Corregan whom I first discovered after her nomination at the Hyeres festival has produced a beautiful series titled Régina, named after Rene Magritte’s mother. Jack Webb renowned for making the mundane and ordinary into art has photographed a still life series featuring the beautiful work of designer Alice Waese. It was also a great honor to get ex Purple Magazine editor Dorothée Perret to be our features editor; I am a big fan of her work.
DD: The mag is related to Hostem - how does that reflect the content?
Matthew Holroyd: Hostem is definitely one of the most innovative menswear stores in the world and I admire that the store isn’t afraid of showing avant-garde fashion as opposed to just commerce and sales, which is definitely reflective in the magazine. With our contributors we have really sought out the best avant-garde thinkers and makers to produce a magazine with a difference.
DD: What are the pros and cons of being an 'in-store publication?
Matthew Holroyd: Having worked on several fashion review magazines one is constantly having to product place or write about our advertisers, whether one likes them or not. With Hostem I do not need to compromise my work to fit in some advertiser that I think makes tasteless shit, I like everything Hostem stocks… the con being I want to keep everything.
DD: What's your fave feature in the issue?
Matthew Holroyd: Being a pop culture junky our interview with Katie Price was a favorite - I learnt a lot of beneficial tips on how to ride thanks to Katie. Maureen Paley was incredibly charming and her interview is a fascinating incite to her career. Designer Geoffrey B Small was fiery and passionate and I admire his decisiveness, our interviewer had a bit of a tricky time with him which made it a really entertaining story to edit. Wendy James was a one of my childhood pinups, so I absolutely loved having her in board and working with her in Paris.
DD: What's next for Sebastian and Hostem?
Matthew Holroyd: The next issue will have a different name and personality, and will be out in the autumn period… I want our new man to be totally different from Sebastian, perhaps a nouveau riche business man with an addictive personality…?
Get Sebastian Magazine HERE