buffalo zine are the slow moving future of fashion publishing
Taking up to three years to create an issue, David and Adrian of Buffalo Zine are a radical and subversive trip through the joy of magazines.
Inspired by discovering Berlin's drag scene on holiday, David and Adrian started working together making a magazine. It took them three and a half years to create the first issue, two years to make the second, and two more for the third. It's worth the wait, of course, as each issue rips apart the fabric of magazines and reimagines them for a brave new world; mixing together new material, archives from fashion icons, rebellious typography, black humour and an irreverent sense of beauty.
They've described their third issue, launching in London tonight, as an exploration of the "timeless present" - looking back into the archive's of designers Vivienne Westwood, J.W. Anderson, Gaultier, and Meadham Kirchhoff, as well as a list of contributors that includes; Sissy Spacek, Tim Walker, Kate Bush, Chloë Sevigny, Harley Weir and Irvine Welsh.
Why did you decide to start up Buffalo Zine?
David: Adrian and I met in our first year in uni, we've been friends for about 15 years. At the end of summer 07, Adrian came back from a holiday in Berlin very touched by this new wave of crossdressing he felt in the air and was inspired to make a publication, something like a small fanzine for our friends. We were both living in Madrid, and he asked me if I wanted to design it. On the spot I said YES. We got very into it. It took us three and a half years to make the first issue.
Is the name a reference to London's Buffalo scene of the 80s?
David: Originally it has nothing to do with it. But there is this quote by Ray Petri we read later on, that we feel quite close to: "People tend to associate the word Buffalo with Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier, but in fact it's a Caribbean expression to describe people who are rude boys or rebels. Not necessarily tough, but hard style taken from the street. Its the whole idea of boys and girls together, just like it was when you were a kid, going around in a gang, looking cool. Buffalo can be anything--a movie, a car, a sound, whatever. But basically, Buffalo is a functional and stylish look: non fashion with an attitude." We definitely feel close to that.
What magazines inspired you to start Buffalo?
David: Old Cosmopolitans and Playboys and OZ and... what's that German one called? The one Will McBride shot for. Twen? A mix of mainstream and indie publishing from the 70s, really.
Adrian: It depends… for the second issue I was very inspired by the magazines my grandmas have at home, very yellow and stinky and with a lot of letters and black and white pictures… but for this issue, basically adventure books and old decor magazines.
What were your favourite magazines growing up?
David: Colors, El País de las Tentaciones and El País Semanal. Later on Adbusters, Dazed, i-D and AB.
Adrian: As a child Super Pop was a dream, with Leo DiCaprio stickers and stuff. Then I loved magazines about cinema (I was very into cinema as a tween and wanted to be an actor and marry Leo). Later on, Roitfeld's Vogue, early Purple and Self Service and many zines.
What inspires the design and fashion, the people you feature and the archives you draw from?
David: The heat of the moment.
The Tony Ward shoot from the second issue really stands out, what was he like to work with?
David: He moved to London in 2012 and Adrian shot the story outside my place on Hackney Road. His agency sent him in a cab from his home in Canary Wharf. That morning we were looking at videos of him on YouTube: "The most iconic male model of the century" and so on, and we were freaking out, like "What the fuck! We have four lame questions to ask him and cherry tomatoes and humus from Tesco for lunch!" But he was great to work with. Super down to earth and charming. Adrian asked him to get into my bed (alone!), take his top off, and our friend filmed the interview, so it looked like he was in a hotel room or something. And for the shoot he really got into the character of a bonkers homeless guy.
Adrian: I've worked with many models but that day I understood why they said he was the most iconic male model of the century. He gave us everything, like for the first time, and was the easiest person ever. Pure wisdom. I wish everyone who is on top (of their careers, not of myself) was like him.
How do you feel the magazine progresses each issue? do you work around a theme for each issue?
David: Yes there is a different theme and mood for each issue. Because we spend a lot of time (like two years) making each issue, and we never have a clear page count limit, we just hoard an endless amount of material and then we try to fit it in. It's not the easiest process.
Adrian: I personally think about what the magazine I'd like to see is like. If I enter a store, and there's a mag on the rack, what I would like it to be about? And also there is any random interesting crazy thing in real life around that can be an idea for the issues. You know, this magazine is a part of us, its a part of me. And is also a very small one, this issue could be totally different. It's just about choices and the journey. Never about the money. That's the key.
How do you go about selecting who to work with, the list of contents in this issue is incredible? How did you assemble such an incredible address book!
David: Well it takes thousands of emails, but it all just starts with Google, or sometimes we're lucky and we find a shortcut. We try everything and anything. Sometimes it works, and sometimes (like with Shelley Duvall or Princess Letizia of Spain, which we couldn't get for this issue) it doesn't. But this is what we got.
Adrian: David has this obsession with the Queen of Spain. He wanted badly a queen contributor. We actually got a letter from the Royal House declining the offer!
Why did you decide on creating this timeless present, by looking back into the archives of these designers?
Adrian: This issue was a lot about a moment missing in time. It's like when you watch Game of Thrones, it's not the future, it's not the past, it's something in between. We wanted an issue to be something in between, not past, not future, a timeless present. It sounds mega presumptuous but it was interesting reflecting on time, being a child, being old… We avoided to be modern. I think it was quite easy because I don't think we are very modern.
Who's your dream cover star?
David: Sofia Loren.
Adrian: Me, weighing 10 kilos less, naked with Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore photographed by Bruce Weber in a second hand store. You asked about a dream cover, right?
What's the future of fashion magazine publishing? are you it?
Adrian: Yes, it's us!
Pre-order Issue Three here or come to the launch at The Ace Hotel in London tonight.
Text Felix Petty
Images courtesy Buffalo Zine