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Reebok advert, taken from the October 2005 issue of Dazed
Reebok advert, taken from the October 2005 issue of DazedCourtesy of @adarchives

The Instagram archiving the best throwback magazine ads

This week’s @dazedfashion pick of the week is @adarchives – an ode to the best magazine campaigns of the 80s, 90s and 00s

Thanks to Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest, there are thousands of images ripped from archive fashion mags circling the internet. Most of the time, these pictures are from features or editorials – but the often skipped-over pages of adverts also provide a rich tapestry of visual references. Reflecting our ever-fluctuating relationships with sexuality, style, technology and consumerism, Instagram account @adarchives is building a history of these advertisements, scouring old copies of Dazed and The Face to put together a chronology of campaigns. Here, founder Halima Olalemi discusses the account, @dazedfashion’s pick of the week.

What and who is @adarchives?

Halima Olalemi: @adarchives was created by myself, Halima Olalemi, a graphic designer living in London. This project was derived from finding ads that had a narrative or challenged my perception of advertising now. Most recently I’ve received submissions from art directors and people on Tumblr, but the most exciting collaboration has been working with Toby and Ollie of Superimpose Studio – they’re really lovely art directors who work with fashion brands. They have an extensive library of print editorial and they have been kind enough to lend me their collection, it’s taken the project in a direction where I have started to look at ways the public can get involved with the project too.

What motivated you to start the account?

Halima Olalemi: It actually started as a Tumblr. One day I saw Michel Gaubert, who runs one of my favourite accounts on Instagram, post an image from the blog – it made me realise how many people were actually seeing these ads and responding to them in their own way, which I found interesting. I noticed a few people from the fashion industry began following the account when I started posting on Instagram more, and that’s actually how Superimpose found the account. I felt I was reaching a different audience and getting a different response to the posts compared to on Tumblr. I started to look further back in time at a range of magazines, stickers and inserts, and attempt to meet people who created these ads and talk to them about their ideas and how they feel they’ve contributed to fashion. 

How do you source images?

Halima Olalemi: I started by posting them from my personal magazine collection – initially it was just me posting on social media for jokes, but then I started getting obsessed with how visually exciting and how relevant I felt they still were. I began collecting more but I only had my personal magazine collection to gather content from so when I began collaborating with Superimpose the intent of it shifted as Toby and Ollie wanted it to show their interests as a studio through their collection of The Face. I wanted to do this by making sure we started from the beginning to emphasise the chronology of ads and start to create a usable library for them to use as a reference. I started from the 80s and now we’re on the 90s and the backlog I have is so exciting to me and I hope to everyone who follows the account, I can’t wait to post more.

“Initially it was just me posting on social media for jokes, but then I started getting obsessed with how visually exciting and how relevant I felt the adverts still were” –Halima Olalemi

Where are the other magazines from and what do you like about these publications in particular?

Halima Olalemi: The magazines from the earlier posts are all my own (Sleazenation, i­-D and Dazed) I had a collection from when I used to stay up at night and buy random mags on eBay when I was younger. I actually only managed to read The Face properly since I’ve been collaborating with Superimpose, it was really expensive to buy but I see why it pushed boundaries in both fashion and culture. I have a soft spot for Sleazenation as it was one of the first ones I bought – I read it when it was in an awkward A5 format and was something that was apparently given out at the end of a club night. Some of the content was what led me to want to study the arts – there’s a feature in vol 3, issue 10 about ‘Originators’ and it’s stuck with me because it’s creatives talking about what fueled their art and what made it original and who inspired them. That’s why I got into the arts, fashion and design – to learn more about what fuels attitudes towards content, how we consume it and react to it.

What made fashion exciting back then?

Halima Olalemi: I think the fearlessness – some of these ads have narratives that are relevant now but would probably be seen as offensive or stereotypical. I really love the Stüssy ones as they tap into the idea of ‘Stüssy Tribe’ and take inspiration from cultures around the world, and they still do if you look at the recent campaign that Tyrone Lebon shot. I think advertising is something that shifts with their audience, and I feel as consumers we have become more socially aware. I like that fashion brands like Carhartt, Wrangler, and Levi’s tend to have strong narratives that comment on society and then sometimes even advertise their products through a message that creates further ambiguity about who their audience is. 

What are some of your favourite posts? ­ 

Halima Olalemi: This was in a 1996 issue of Sleazenation, I love that it’s an insert and pokes fun at rave culture at the time. This ad for Prince and The Revolution I found before Prince passed away. This is an interesting way to look at both marriage and denim and also I feel this looks like a shotgun wedding. The message is subtle, and funny when you realise it’s an advertisement for jeans. Wrangler referencing Tank Girl is very cool. I love the Issey Miyake ones, because I feel they have kept a strong visual identity as a brand. I’ve found ones from the 80s through to now that are still striking.

Who are your favourite designers, photographers, artists? 

Halima Olalemi: Tyrone Lebon, David Sims, Corinne Day, Ed Ruscha, Yinka Shonibare, Guy Bourdin, Malick Sidibé, Cindy Sherman, David LaChapelle, Nan Goldin.

Favourite fellow Instagrammers?

Halima Olalemi: @Shesvauge, @Gurlstalk, @Antifurniture, @Fuckadvertisements, @Marginalpress, @monstersholdingbitches@theartofshade_