From grassroots arts zines based in NYC to publications elevating the stories of women in the Middle East, get down to the Dazed Newsagents at Reference Point for a curated selection of the most exciting mags right now
In 1991, two wide-eyed students started a small zine called Dazed & Confused, determined to rebel against what they perceived to be a “synthetic leisure culture developing”. From their humble beginnings in the London College of Printing’s student union cafe, Jefferson Hack and Rankin Waddell likely didn’t envisage what Dazed & Confused would become, but they didn’t have a business plan or fancy decks, just the naivety and arrogance of youth and a resolute desire to say something.
Dazed is celebrating its 30th birthday and it’s true that lots has changed since the heady days of early 90s London – Dazed is now published in Korea and China and has readers all over the world. But it’s always stayed independent, and continued to celebrate independent publishing.
As part of Dazed Live, our two day festival held at 180 The Strand, we’ve paid tribute to global zine culture and independent magazines by opening a Dazed Newsagents at Reference Point on Arundel Street, right next to the Dazed offices. Reference Point is a library and shop with an ever growing collection of rare books from design, art and culture, with an ambition to democratise art and literature, by making this special cultural ephemera open to everyone rather than hidden away in archives.
Inspired by the spirit of Soho’s sadly-now-closed magazine mecca Wardour News, Dazed Newsagents will be selling copies of indie mags and zines from across the world. There’s cult snarks Mushpit and fashion pisstakers Buffalo, and Azeema, a mag championing underrepresented womxn and non-binary folk from the WANASA region and diaspora, as well as hardcore punk zine and mixtape label Fanfare.
These mags will be available at Reference Point from October 9, and available until they’re sold out. Head down to see some of the best independent publishing of the 2020s and check out a list of everything that’s going to be there below. All the money from any magazines sold will go to UK youth homeless charity Centrepoint.
8-Ball Community is a New York City-based artist collective that operates a zine library, online radio station, and online public-access television station. 8-Ball was formed in 2012 by a group of friends looking to help keep a billiard hall from going out of business in gentrified East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They hosted film screenings, readings, performances, parties, and other events at the request of Grand Billiards’ owner, who wanted to attract the neighborhood’s new residents to his pool hall. These events included a zine fair, in which local artists and publishers were invited to sell their wares on pool tables.
From 2013 to 2014, 8-Ball displayed zines and hosted dozens of events at an abandoned newsstand in the Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street station of the New York City Subway. The Newsstand was rebuilt in 2015 as an installation at the Museum of Modern Art, which purchased it for the permanent collection and later exhibited it in Paris at Fondation Louis-Vuitton.
ART WORK describes itself as a new grassroots critical art publication, and “a text-based site of inquiry for artists and cultural workers operating on the margins”. ART WORK’s aim is to investigate the potential for a collaboratively-led art community, existing outside traditional, institutional systems, and has featured Dazed 100ers such as Sinead O’Dwyer, Rhea Dillon, and Kai Isaiah-Jamal.
Jameela Elfaki, Sunayah Arshad, Nooriyah Qais, Evar Hussayni, Ella Lucia and Shayma Bakht are AZEEMA, a London-based print publication, digital platform, and now a creative agency telling the stories of women within the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and the diaspora. What’s crucial to them is their community, and how those within it are represented, which they do through unique, elevated shoots and region-specific storytelling.
London-based Italian photographers Paolo Zerbini and Ivan Ruberto launched Bellissimo in 2019, a magazine that Zerbini says is “a photographic project to elevate everyday situations and everyday characters that are actually outstanding for a reason or another. These people catch our eyes – they are the protagonists of our photographic project.” They describe Bellissimo as being about photography first and foremost, translated into an editorial form. Magazine obsessives, they reference constantly – the first issue of Bellissimo was inspired by luxury travel magazines, the second was a send up of fashion publications. “You could see Bellissimo as a tribute band,” says Zerbini. “And once we understand the kind of music that we're gonna play for that evening, all of the different good tracks of that era will come popping up.”
BRONZE AGE EDITIONS
Bronze Age Editions is an independent publishing platform started in 2011 by Justin Bailey specialising in limited editions, zines and artists’ books.
Buffalo is one of the best mags in the world. “Serious fashion mags are over,” reads its tagline on its site (words first said in Dazed) and its latest issue Buffalo Viral takes the sprawling online ephemera of the 2010s and dumps it all over its pages. Over the years it’s constantly referenced and taken the piss out of the fashion world, while firmly establishing itself as a key presence within it. It’s intelligent, naughty, anarchic – all the good stuff.
Clobber was founded by Paul Toner, with the ambition to speak to young, working-class men who are into Gucci and Prada but don’t want to be lectured to about fashion in the London-centric industry-facing manner that has infected many publications. Toner told Liverpool fashion retailer Sevenstore that “it’s a top-notch menswear magazine which touches on fashion, music, art and politics, too. It takes an upfront approach to telling authentic stories, inspired by the likes of Sleazenation and The Face in the 1990s. Clobber Zine spotlights emerging talent through an outer-London perspective, and doesn’t take itself too seriously in doing so. If you’re looking for philosophical journalism, I don’t think you’ve come to the right place.”
Chateau International is an independent arts publishing platform producing books, zines and editions in collaboration with artists, writers, designers, educators and galleries. Recent and upcoming releases include Dope and Diamonds: A Lana Del Rey Reader (2019) edited with Billie Muraben, IMPRINTS (2020) by Ben K. Voss and Midge Wattles, MJKVDL 2021 (2021) by Rick Pushinsky and Mark Jan Krayenhoff van de Leur, and TINA: There Is No Alternative by Navine G. Khan-Dossos.
Chateau International publications are short-run and produced on modest budgets. Production incorporates both economic, on-demand print and binding methods with specialist and labour-intensive processes such as foil blocking and screen printing to produce publications that are beautiful, urgent, yet affordable. Whilst prioritising female and non-binary artists and writers, Chateau International works with a range of international collaborators who share its interests in the counterculture, fashion, feminism, radical politics, community organising and practices of photography. Chateau International is run by writer and editor Lillian Wilkie.
Cold Cuts is a zine exploring queer identity in the South West Asian and North African community. Having released two issues and a special edition, Cold Cuts’ next project is available to pre-order, and is described as “a special edition issue that compiles studio shoots, interviews and archival imagery to record the untold stories of eleven trans* women living in Beirut, and re-writes the queer history of a war torn and complexly layered city”. Drops March 2022.
Bailey Slater’s Fag Mag is a joyous ode to Y2K culture, and Slater described it to 10 Magazine as “controlled, sexy chaos...a noughties nosh-off zine created for the gays AND the girls”. It gleefully references the batshit landscape of British pop culture in the 2000s, from the Sugababes to Celebrity Big Brother. Slater says:“I wanted to create something that I’d not really seen before; an explicitly queer title marketed towards internet-minded teenagers that love pop culture, music and fashion.”
Fanfare is a mixtape label and publisher based in the United Kingdom, split between London and Newcastle. It was founded by Ben Goulder of Snöar Press and Mark Buchanan of Meanwhile Press. Fanfare was created after a decade of collaborations born from touring in hardcore punk bands, resulting in the curation of art exhibitions and collaborative book releases which exhibited at the Tate Modern, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; amongst others. Fanfare releases limited edition mixtapes on cassette by artists who also produce the artwork for their mixtape. The approach is more akin to an artist book rather than a musical release.
FORMER HEAD QUARTERS
Former Headquarters is a new publishing imprint by Leeds based artist Sam Hutchinson. Established in 2021, FHQ publishes photography and artist books, alongside limited artist editions and ephemera. 'Formal Mourning' FHQ#01 is the first release, printed in May 2021, and is sold in Village (Leeds) and Tenderbooks (London).
gal-dem is an award winning, Black-owned media company committed to sharing the perspectives of women and non-binary people of colour. Gal-dem addresses inequality and misrepresentation in the industry through platforming the creative and editorial work of young women and non-binary people of colour across fashion, lifestyle, politics, music, arts, and opinion.
Hamburger Eyes is a black and white photography magazine that’s been publishing since 2001. Over the past 20 years, Hamburger Eyes has developed its own signature brand of photography and provided an outlet for both upcoming and established photographers worldwide. Hamburger Eyes is based in California and has published over 200 titles of zines, magazines, and books.
LAW is a UK street mag that documents the country’s “youth of today with grit in their teeth” and finds beauty in its banality. Founder John Joseph Holt told The Face, “I wanted to make something that people could relate to, in stark contrast to the fashion magazines that were around at the time, something which would show Britain in a beautiful, positive, united light.” LAW is a snapshot of a Britain rarely found on the pages of contemporary magazines, and throughout its issues has archived a distinct aesthetic and attitude that’s true to this increasingly strange little island.
Louche is a joyfully anarchic and independent occasional print magazine about drag and queer performance. It aims to celebrate, interrogate, and create a living archive of drag today, as well as pay hom(o)age to the varied histories and influences of the drag past.
New Wave is a London-based independent platform bridging the gap between established and emerging creatives. It provides a space for creatives to be recognised and express their thoughts across fashion, music, art, photography, architecture, design and more.
As a digital magazine and print publication, it shares information on all the denominations of creativity with quality and passion. The print issue is released annually and features some of the best rising talent from across the globe.
SOFA is a new magazine that uncovers and defines the now and looks into the near future by exploring one tantalizing, terrifying, tantamount or taboo topic per issue while sitting on international sofas with today’s most interesting people.
Safar is an independent design and visual culture magazine based in Beirut, Lebanon. Published biannually and bilingually (Arabic-English), Safar curates contributions from designers, thinkers, and artists around a chosen theme. Safar – the Arabic word for travel – refers to notions of communication, especially across cultural and linguistic boundaries. The magazine’s primary goal is to recognize Graphic Design as an active player in cultural production and to shift the conversation on design and visual culture away from its fixation on the global North.
SORT is a studio focused on independent film with a printed zine at its core. Born out of London's queer club community and celebrates underground culture through collaborations with like-minded artists, musicians and publications.
When Elise By Olsen founded Recens Paper at the age of 13, she became the world’s youngest editor-in-chief. Aged 18, she stepped away feeling “too old” and launched pocket-sized publication Wallet, telling Dazed as the first issue came out that “Fashion journalism has been in an un-ideal state for a while,” and that she “intends to recreate a new conscious through questioning and quizzing the people in power in fashion now.”
Each issue of Wallet since has featured major players in fashion, with every instalment carefully themed, whether that’s around power, technology, or figures in fashion that haven’t received enough recognition for their groundbreaking work. After ten issues, Wallet stopped publishing, and last year Olsen launched the International Library of Fashion Research, a digital resource featuring 5,000-plus pieces of contemporary books and magazines.