Celebrating 10 infamous issues of cult fashion mag Buffalo Zine
Fashion's biggest trolls – Buffalo founders David Uzquiza and Adrian Gonzalez-Cohen – get grilled by JW Anderson, Martine Rose and more.
Since its launch in 2011, Buffalo Zine has become a much-loved fixture of fashion journalism. It’s known for reinventing itself with every issue, along with its spirit of playful mockery (i-D itself has not escaped unscathed, with issue 9 flagrantly ripping off our cover design.) This sense of levity is a welcome novelty in the often self-serious world of fashion but, for all its irreverence, Buffalo is no mere spoof -- the magazine has featured work by some of the most renowned photographers in the industry, including David Bailey, Tim Walker and Walter Pfeiffer.
In celebration of its tenth issue, Buffalo founders David Uzquiza and Adrian Gonzalez-Cohen have asked ten previous collaborators from the worlds of fashion, music and art (along with i-D editor Felix Petty) to each ask them one question. While Buffalo Zine's assorted team members each recreated their favourite image from the magazine's archive.
Their answers create a compelling picture of the past and future, not to mention the idiosyncrasies, of one of the most consistently entertaining magazines being published today.
Roe Ethridge (photographer): I keep coming back to the song “Buffalo Girls” by Malcom McLaren from my adolescence. Then I looked it up and there are a lot of “Buffalo Gals” songs. Are you guys thinking of yourself as connected to this lineage? Or is the connection to the so-called Buffalo style from that same early '80s/Buffalo Girls time?
Adrian: The truth is when I picked the name, more than a decade ago, I wasn’t very familiar with Ray Petri. I didn’t use the internet that much. There was a more analogic approach when we started since we didn’t have smartphones. I was working in this place in NYC and a lady called saying she was from Buffalo and I didn’t understand the pronunciation because my English was much worse, so I made her spell it. It was funny when I noticed it was such a simple word, almost exactly the same as the Spanish form. I have a bit of a syndrome with certain words I like – I can’t stop saying them constantly for a couple of days because they give me a strange pleasure, so I randomly place them in the most random contexts. Buffalo was one of many. Last one was Baga Chipz.
David: I’m just a basic 80s gal.
Bella Freud (fashion designer): Is there a painting you can think of that you would like to recast as a shoot? For example, various artists from Picasso to Malcolm McLaren have played about with Manet’s “Déjeuner sur L’Herbe ”?
David: That’s a difficult question. If a painting comes to mind, principally because it’s a painting I admire, then how could anyone shoot a remake of it that doesn’t turn out to be just a less good version of the original? Actually, I would love to see the whole interior of the Sistine Chapel reshot as a fashion story. I wonder who would be up for it?
Adrian: I actually just got inspiration from a contemporary painter I like for the story I shot for the SS20 issue coming up in March.
Glenn Martens (fashion designer): If you had to pick one Beyoncé song and sing it in front of her, which one would you pick ?
David: Remember those walls I built? Well, baby, they're tumbling down. Looking into Beyoncé’s eyes I would whisper: "Baby, I can feel your halo."
Adrian: I think I would definitely serenade her with a Destiny's Child song. “Nasty Girl”, probably. It would be pretty hilarious to sing to her, "You's a nasty, trashy, sleazy, classless." Love that song.
Robyn (recording artist): Can you describe the last dream you had that you remember?
Adrian: The other day I had an idea for a fashion story: I was on set and a model walked in and started doing the most amazing acting and expressions -- I loved it. I actually woke up so I could fix it consciously. Dreaming of photoshoots sounds hideous, I have better things in the catalogue and also much worse ones.
David: I had the absolute craziest ever dream the other day. I dreamt that I could afford to buy my own home. In London!
Carsten Höller (artist): If there is no story to tell, then that is also a story. You can’t do without it. Without a story to tell. What I’m now wondering is, if the telling of a story is inevitable, is it then a story at all, or is it merely a telling? Is there a story at all, a story I can tell?
David: We all live to tell stories and be understood, that’s how we connect. But so much of what we experience is too abstract for words. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It’s unspeakable.
Adrian: I guess a story is just a piece of something. A piece we name ‘truth’ or ‘lie’.
Martine Rose (fashion designer): Would you rather have penises for fingers? Or vaginas for ears? Would you rather only be able to whisper or only be able to shout?
David: I’m fine with whispering, no problem with that. Not so much into shouting. Penises for fingers would also be... handy.
Adrian: Whispering penises.
Richard Turley (creative director): Have you got your dues?
Adrian: I think so. I just want my money now.
David: Somehow, I think we do. One feels lucky to get the attention of people like you.
Erik Kessels (artist and designer): What if one day you wake up after a nightmare and the act of chaos has become predictable or even worse, boring?
Adrian: I would regram it.
David: This happens to me every now and then. It’s what they call the over-emotional hangover. When everything feels like a big disaster and you think you can't handle it. It doesn't last forever.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist (curator and art critic): What is Buffalo Zine’s unrealised project?
David: We’re always working on new projects, basically that’s all we do. But what about Buffalo Zine’s sabbatical year? I'm looking forward to that project.
Adrian: Probably one we want to do for the FW20 issue and that we are going to need tons of help from you so be ready!
Jonathan W Anderson (fashion designer): It’s been 10 issues? What’s next?!
David: Yes, it’s been 10. For issue 11 (SS20) we’re delving deep into our individual spiritual journeys. It’s going to be a blast. And in another 10 issues we can hopefully replace ourselves with robots and work remotely from anywhere. Because as things stand now, we can’t.
Felix Petty (Editor at i-D): What do you think your biggest failure has been?
Adrian: Personally? Its complex because as I try to dig in to old failures, they seem to end up having a positive outcome. Which makes it difficult to think of the biggest one. It could probably be not having done much with my acting career. I studied for many years and for a while I thought it was the thing I was better at. Sometimes I still do, so the failure is still there.
In the magazine, I think it would be something that happened in the first issue. We discovered someone had "copied" our theme in another magazine and then changed things in the issue, which meant the theme got diluted. After this, I decided I was never going to change anything again for that reason -- so again it had a good outcome.
David: It’s taken me 2 weeks to answer to these 11 questions. And this is all I’ve got.