1 granary issue four asks, “does anyone still have fun?”
Expanding its borders to incorporate three more major art schools, 1 Granary’s latest issue sets its sights on unifying international creativity and supporting the next generation of artists and designers.
Dress by Emma Bergamin Davys, CSM MA graduate 2016. Photography James Robjant, Styling Olya K.
In his interview for Issue 4 of 1 Granary, artist and Saint Martin's School of Art alumnus Bruce McLean discusses his fascination with self-destructive art. Whilst perhaps not quite within the same notion, doesn't that seem an applicable term for the current state of the creative industry? A thirst for newness; a relentless timeline responsible for the demise of many a creative mind; a financial scrabble for instant success; Brexit; maintenance-grant cuts. The list goes on. It's easy to pick holes in the industry, and even easier to lament it's self-destructiveness. But it seems to fall all too easily on deaf ears of late. Perhaps much harder is to unite and innovate out of that dystopia and a failing creative dream.
It's what 1 Granary, the self-started platform founded out of Central Saint Martins (named after the London college's address), sets as a core intention for it's fourth issue. For those unfamiliar with the student-run magazine, 1 Granary initially set out across its first three copies to celebrate and debut the work of students past and present, alongside insightful advice from those already established within industry.
Dazzling in an Age of Austerity was the title of Issue 3. All too easily though, that dazzling talent is lost amongst the columns of negativity that seem to shroud the industry in a constant veil of insecurity and change. Apt then that Does Anyone Still Have Fun? is the name given to 1 Granary's fourth issue -- a jibe towards all those too eager to wallow in the industry's self-pity. Expanding this year to incorporate The Royal College of Art London, Parsons New York and The Royal Academy of Fine Arts' Fashion Department in Antwerp, the net has been widely thrown "towards achieving a single goal: to share their knowledge and to support and inspire a new generation of creatives".
Amongst it's impressive 648 pages, made possible with support from Comme des Garçons, Christopher Kane and Calvin Klein, are some 120 features, including interviews with super stylist Olivier Rizzo, business advice from PR Director Ed Filipowski and a special 100 page Parsons project with Webber Represents agency.
"The 1 Granary team came to the show and then shot work for about a week all over Parsons and the New School," explains Shelley Fox, Parson's MFA Director. "They accessed drama studios, drawing studios, all sorts of places and we gave them carte blanche to shoot what they wanted, how and wherever they could. It was exciting because I never knew what they were up to, where they were shooting half the time but trusted them completely." The issue's team letter, always consecutively signed off 'with LOVE', expands: "We travelled a lot. We listened to their concerns, their ideas and dreams. We observed and tried to identify what we could help improve through 1 Granary, using our accrued awareness".
It's through this acquired knowledge and network, that 2016 also saw 1 Granary launch 'The Graduate Showroom', a space "beyond the borders of print and online to help young talent," explains Issue 4 editor Jorinde Croese. "We were eager to create a space where recent fashion design graduates felt their work was truly appreciated as well as protected -- similar to how photographers and stylists can rely on their agencies. Currently we represent 60 of our schools' best talents, helping them assimilate into the world outside college walls. It's our own way of trying to circumvent hardship, really."
Circumventing hardship is a current that runs through Issue Four -- and it's perhaps why the team feel riled about some of the teething issues in the fashion industry today. There's an anarchic spirit to much of 1 Granary's content -- offering both commentary and solution all at once. Take for example, the recent appointment of Zayn Malik at Versus Versace -- a role perhaps more suited to the trained designers that have dedicated their life, and finances to the craft. "As pop icons and as products of the entertainment industry, they have proved to be incredibly successful," explains Assistant Editor Alysha Lee. "But appointing such individuals as protagonists of the fashion world, despite their success as entertainers, can be incredibly perilous for the industry. Maybe not for its bottom line, but certainly for its creative integrity. The act in itself presents a betrayal from within the system itself where nepotism is given primacy over the hard work and vision of genuinely creative and talented fashion designers."
1 Granary's expansion to three other schools has allowed for a wider pool from which to pull vital knowledge from and challenging the establishment. In Antwerp the team scooped Belgian fashion talent Dries van Noten to divulge some of his cerebral and judicious vision and advice. "You really need passionate people," Is Dries' advice. "Passion is more important than knowledge, because that is something we can teach. I think that when you know too much, sometimes you already have too many particular views on something and you're not open-minded anymore."
There's no doubting the passion and open-mindedness of the 1 Granary team. To survive and grow as they have from their humble blog days show they're practicing what they preach. The generosity they have received from the industry in turn demonstrate a genuine aid for a new generation that so desperately needs it.
And that's what 1 Granary has really come to symbolise: circumventing hardship. Subverting a system that at times just won't hit the brakes. Issue Four's arrival this week then seems rather fitting giving the cathartic ending to a relentless Presidential campaign trail, tainted with racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. A recent Instagram from Issue 2 contributor Nick Knight struck a cord in light of all this. It reads, "The world is a sad place. Us artists need to keep on working to fix it."
Flicking through the words and images in 1 Granary's latest offering -- you can see the people who are trying and succeeding at fixing it. Creativity flourishes in those sorts of circumstances. So I ask the question set by 1 Granary: "Does anyone still have fun?" Issue Four is testament to the fact they do - a reassuring fact in today's ever-evolving world.
Photography Mel Bles, styling Maarten van der Horst.
Text Greg French
Images courtesy 1 Granary