Rebecca Stevens on celebrating the beauty of every day objects
Like a lot of projects in life, this too started with a notebook. Though in this instance it wasn't about what was written inside, but the notebook itself. MANYTHING, a magazine created by Rebecca Stevens for her degree in Fashion Journalism is about celebrating the beauty of the every day object, as well as the seemingly mundane processes, which often accompany them, such as the act... or should we say art... of unwrapping. From carefully considering the application of perfume to examining human behavioural patterns to explaining the mechanics behind trends, MANYTHING’s clean-cut design also clearly lends itself to the concept. Though the minimalism could also be due to the fact the editor is a bit of an obsessive when it comes to blank pages...
I have an odd tendency to keep objects I feel have worth in their original boxes, completely pristine and unused. There is something quite extraordinary about a clean, unopened notebook, with its blank pages and solid spine
Dazed Digital: How did you come up with the idea for the project?
Rebecca Stevens: Funnily enough, the original inspiration came from my Smythson and Aspinal leather notebooks. The project was one set as a final major assessment at university. We were set the task to create something new and innovative; from the start I wanted to design a biannual publication people would want to keep and treasure, in a minimal style with intellectual content. Although I have a great love for fashion, I wanted to push myself with this project and so content includes art, travel and the everyday we often dismiss. I have an odd tendency to keep objects I feel have worth in their original boxes, completely pristine and unused. There is something quite extraordinary about a clean, unopened notebook, with its blank pages and solid spine. (I know I'm not the only one as online forums during my research showed this is quite a common love!)
DD: What do you find fascinating about everyday objects?
Rebecca Stevens: It isn't just objects that I find interesting, it's everyday processes as well. One of the pieces in the magazine is a detailed investigative on people's relationship with packaging: it is an intellectual analysis of how we respond to packaging, why we open and unwrap things as we do (e.g cigarette packets) and the design process behind this. I spoke with two major package design companies based in London, a psychotherapist and Smythson amongst others to try and understand human behaviour and the chemical reactions behind unwrapping a product. Similarly, I looked at 'trend' as a process and questioned what trend is and what its worth is in society today.
DD: The magazine has a really considered structure, can you talk us though it…
Rebecca Stevens: The idea for morning/afternoon/evening came from the need to structure the magazine coherently and the desire to give it some narrative. In the beginning, I was sourcing plenty objects but they had no connection or story. As I worked through the process of manifesting the magazine and came to write the editor's letter, it clicked to make each issue (if it were to be published) a different time span. E.G the next issue might be the examination of objects over a weekend, an event, or moment. That is the joy of looking at the everyday: there is so much material to work with. It just needs to be relevant, intellectual and compelling.