Terry and Tricia Jones met as students and became best friends for life. Here Tricia reveals how after 30 years in the fashion industry she's always kept her feet on the ground...
Before she was the mum of i-D, Tricia Jones was a teacher, and one of the greatest lessons she taught me as a new i-D recruit was: “don’t write wanky journalism”; the kind of journalism, she went on to explain, that’s more about the journalist sounding clever than allowing the subject’s own voice to come through. It was a valuable piece of advice. “Let them go home Terry!” is another phrase we’re all thankful for, said late at night on deadline week at the office. Taking us for lunch at Rose Bakery during Paris Fashion Week, insisting we taste the hot chocolate at Café de Flore and calling anytime she sensed something was up, Tricia has always made the i-D experience a personal one. About her work on the SOUL i-D Taschen book, Benedikt Taschen said, “Tricia is one of the most talented editors I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.” She is the attention to detail of i-D and always protected the integrity of the brand. In a very different way to Terry, Tricia has always pushed her staff to get the best out of them. So here’s to you Mrs Jones!
What are your proudest career moments?
I suppose personal career highlights have been associated with the SOUL project. The early work, Beyond Price, on exhibition at Musée Des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and being able to bring my mum over to see it from London was very special. It was scheduled to be up for one week but was in fact kept up for five weeks, which was a huge honour. Also having SOUL travel to so many amazing venues, starting with Azzedine’s gallery in Paris and Christie’s in London and New York, then most recently Beijing last year.
How did SOUL begin?
The SOUL project began as a much smaller idea. Family Future Positive, published in 1998, when I was fascinated by the idea of being alive at the beginning of a new millennium. It seemed such a huge milestone and I was really interested to know what people’s support groups were at that point. The books seemed to touch a chord and afterwards people would say ‘are you doing another one?’ – it kind of went from there – very organically. As I’ve often said, with no commercial remit at all, these have been ideas that just came to me, thoughts in the shower or in the middle of the night, nothing planned! SOUL was somehow a totally natural progression from these earlier books. The realization that Terry had published Smile i-D in 2000, I just said to him one day ‘I’d like to do a second book and I’d love to call SOUL i-D – it was a dream’.
After 30 + years in the fashion industry, how have you kept your feet on the ground?
I think you have to keep a real sense of perspective and a sense of humour. We are in a very creative industry with some immensely talented people but there’s also a lot of bullshit about and people who take themselves way too seriously. Having children – the next generation – and also a home right in the middle of rural Wales where few people have any idea who’s who in the fashion world, is a real help as well.
Which of your friends in fashion makes you laugh the most?
Alber Elbaz, Richard Buckley, Karl Lagerfeld and Suzy Menkes have all, over the years, delighted with naughty irreverent little whispers that could make me crack up!
What shows or moments in fashion will you always remember?
I would have to count certain fashion shows which even now really stand out: Dries Van Noten’s 50th anniversary show in 2004 was an extraordinary dinner, with chandeliers that hung over the tables and then lifted to allow the models to use the length of the tables as a catwalk. Yohji’s wonderful wedding piece finale in 1998, and Lee McQueen’s electric ‘They shoot horses, don’t they?’ show in 2003.
How do you know when people have the i-D spirit?
Well luckily, the right people have often found us, particularly in the last few years. The people who have come to our door were youngs who had already seen what we did and liked the ethos of what i-D stood for. I have always said, we could teach people the job, but it was an attitude that we were looking for.
What's it been like being the mum of i-D, for an ever-changing team of people over the years?
I’ve loved the whole mum of i-D thing, particularly in the last 15 years, when I was more closely involved after Kayt and Matt had left home. I love being responsible for/ looking after the team – weekends away, protected by Bupa, parties at our house etc. I’m good at that side of things, less good when I had to be cross or grumpy about something, but then for the last five years, I had the brilliant Colette to be my bad cop when needed! I certainly could not have done things without her wonderfully measured advice, and amazingly, we would always agree about how to deal with any difficult situation.
Which designer do you feel the most maternal towards?
I wouldn’t say maternal, but maybe like a big sister to Raf because we’ve known him for so long and watched his career over so many years. Terry and I are both incredibly proud of what he’s achieved and he did often refer to us as his “work parents” because in the early days it was maybe hard for his own parents to understand the slightly alien world he had entered.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?
I should like the emphasis to move from the obsession with celebrity to the wonderful diversity of beauty around us. My focus at the moment is responsibility within the media. I’ve said for a long time: it’s not the power of being journalists and image makers that interests me, but the responsibility that this brings.
To whom do you owe your success?
100% to Terry, my kids, and parents who brought me up knowing that a girl’s voice was every bit as valid as a boy’s. Nobody ever made a big deal about it in our house growing up, it didn’t even occur to me that things were different in other families.
To many, you and Terry are the ultimate couple, living and working together, what's your secret?
I think like any couple who’ve been together for a very long time (45 years in our case), there’s a lot of luck and love involved but also talking, compromise and no pyjamas!