Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede's magazine looks closer at the culture of fashion and the new issue boasts Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani on the cover
A fashion magazine about people working in the fashion industry? What a brilliant idea, why hasn't anyone come up with that idea before? Well, someone did - a while back actually... four issues ago, to be precise. Industrie is its apt name and the magazine, run by Swedes Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede, is a biannual publication looking closer at the culture of fashion. Since its incarnation in 2009, the duo - who worked at Tyler Brûlé's Wallpaper before setting up creative ad agency Saturday and starting Man About Town magazine - has focused their trained eyes not so much on the collections produced by designers, but on stylists, editors, photographers and the designers themselves...
The concept has proven to be a popular one as its seems that these influential people are interesting to both your average fashion magazine consumer, as well as the people working in the industry. The latest issue, out this week and with Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani on the cover, does not disappoint. Alongside its strong female coverstar - famed for, among other things, bringing an international touch to the English-language Italian Vogue website, there are also a few pages dedicated to Jefferson Hack's stylish house. Just one more reason to pick a copy of Industrie...
Dazed Digital: It's a magazine about fashion industry people, but are they the audience as well?
Industrie Magazine: When you are in independent publishing and the magazine is more a product of your personal interest, rather than focus groups and newsstands sales, you yourself is the audience. I would go as far to say that every good editor edits for themselves. Then the commercial reality that drives most real magazines, forces the team to carefully consider the audience. That is also fun, but it is very different from how we currently work with Industrie.
DD: Where did that idea come from?
Industrie Magazine: From having questions and wanting them answered. By being unnaturally interested in how what drives our friends and those we admire, creatively as well as commercially. Many magazines are thinly veiled trade publications, we just thought... What the hell, let us just to it without apologizing for it or dressing it up as something it is not. There is no long term plan or vision with Industrie. We enjoy making magazines and will continue to do them as long as they are challenging us and we have that sense of curiosity. We like many other things too, our company The Saturday Group is where we focus our time. Industrie is a very nice compliment.
DD: You worked with Man About Town before, a 'normal' fashion magazine - why did you decide to move on and start Industrie?
Industrie Magazine: Other people do men's mags better than us. When we started Man About Town, we did it to become something we didn't really achieve. We're not that precious, so we said to ourselves... "MAT is not going to be much better than this, because we can't make it due to time and access", so let us do something which we know and can do really well instead. Having given it up, we must say we miss editing more of a traditional media.
There are so many stories we want to tell and I still believe there are room to do that. When we get the idea or we get a good offer, we would love to work on another lifestyle magazine again. To some extent, when we worked on the creation of Mr Porter, that was exactly that - finding a new voice in men's fashion. It was a fantastic experience and after we were done, Jeremy Langmead has done a great job taking that raw material and structure we created and making it a different and consistent voice in men's fashion. Having done Mr Porter and MAT, it would be shame not to try something new.
DD: Do you ever find just featuring fashion business people a bit limiting?
Industrie Magazine: Yes, it is very limiting, and it is also our greatest strength. Erik and I always say, let us be something for someone rather than all things to all people. That pretty much sums Industrie up. Again, it would be fun to do something else too. We're thinking about it.
DD: You have Franca Sozzani on the cover this issue, how do you find cover stars, what do you look for?
Industrie Magazine: We want to find and work with people who are not overly accessible, who we don't know, who we admire. We don't want people that are too exposed or seek fame. Other mags do that better. We want the guys who you would normally not do it, or with Marc, someone you know but never seen in that way before. Covers should be talking points, unexpected, different.
DD: In the Editor's Letter you lambast bloggers turning their cameras and attention to front row editors - isn't that what you are doing in a way?
Industrie Magazine: Not at all. We love bloggers and are materially interested in some companies which works with some very famous bloggers. We think they are incredibly liberating and is a force here to stay. No one is to blame for the malaise in our business, things just happens. We are not taking shots at anyone, we are simply saying what everyone is thinking. Easier to say stuff like that, than do it of course, but someone had to fire the first shot. I am not so sure anyone heard it, or even care, but we believe in it so we did it. It kind of makes sense though, if I love fashion, I want to be inspired and informed. You can do celebrity if you add something new. W has done some amazing stuff with celebs which had become events in their own right, Angelina and Brad springs to mind.
DD: Are the editors, photographers, stylists etc OK with being in the limelight themselves rather than putting others there, or do you have to spend time luring them out?
Industrie Magazine: I hope so. No one is forcing them to be in the magazine. If you are a creative person, you normally have something to say about your craft, If you are successful you have often lived an interesting life which younger people who admire you want to read about. Why not share both? Interviews are fun, they challenge and also confirms you. I mean, we are doing it ourselves in this interview. Answering your questions, right now, makes us feel pretty good about ourselves. It is certainly more fun than what we were originally supposed to do this afternoon.
DD: Whats next for you and the magazine?
Industrie Magazine: For industrie, we will get better and more engaging online. We want to become a daily must read. So we are playing with the idea of how that can be done. With Saturday Group, our focus is as always on doing the best work we can for our many fantastic clients around the world.