long live print: idea books's fastest selling ever independent magazine
After its debut issue sold out in record time, creative director Christopher Simmonds and superstar stylist Francesca Burns share an exclusive peek inside PRINT Issue Two.
Fotografía Danny Fitzgeral
According to IDEA's very own Angela Hill, the first issue of Fran Burns and Christopher Simmonds's PRINT was the fastest selling independent magazine launch in the history of one of the fashion industry's favorite book stores. Given everything they've launched in recent years — everything from Bay Garnett and Kira Joliffe's Fanpages to Willy Vanderperre's Naked Heartland — that's some record. "We were overwhelmed by the reaction," Fran confesses over email. "When we first started discussing how many we would print, one thousand seemed a lot. We had no idea that anyone was going to buy it, and could not have imagined that it would sell out. It is really encouraging that there are people out there who are still interested in printed publications."
Much more than being one of the countless read-and-recycle magazines that dominate the shelves of newsagents far and wide, the first issue of the oversized magazine came packaged in a cardboard box with posters, prints, and badges. Right from its very inception PRINT played to the strengths and tangibility of the medium, and the complete package was always meant to be treasured. "When we decided we wanted to make a magazine, it was really important to us that we could offer our contributors and our readers something unique," Fran adds. "We wanted people to enjoy the experience of looking at it, of handling it. Both Chris and I come from a background in magazines; we love them and it's a lifelong love of magazines which inspired us to make our own."
Marrying their shared past, present, and potential love affairs with print media, from independents to glossies, the PRINT pair invited some of the most revered figures in art, fashion, and music to "to do something personal — to do something that truly inspires the artist and to take time over it." From John Waters and Frank Ocean to Angelo Pennetta and Harley Weir, a who's who of the creative industries took up the challenge while Fran and Chris were ready to wait for each submission. In an ever-quickening industry that appears fixated in remaining in fast-forward, the duo even pushed the planned release date of the magazine back a few months because they wanted to take their time over it, revisit it, and refine it. As is the title of Joe McKenna's Azzedine Alaia story in Issue One, "it's ready when it's ready." Good things come to those who wait.
Despite weighing in at 500-pages, the second issue continues PRINT's all-killer-and-no-filler attitude. Behind the David Sims-shot, Max Pearmain-styled Ruth May-cover, Colin Dodgson and Fran Burns reimagine Jean Campbell as Marie Antoinette, Hugo Scott documents rough around the edges Elvis impersonators, Spike Jonze shoots teen skaters while Jamie Hawkesworth, and Joe McKenna's spread is filled with folds of flesh. "Print is a unique and special medium. It is very much alive," Fran explains. With supporting posters, postcards, and pins, this promises to be another publication to treasure. With the print run limited to only 1,000 copies once again, you'll have to reserve your issue at IDEA Books soon rather than later, but for those of you who miss out, peek inside the issue below. As for those of you who are left daydreaming about launching your own print publication, the superstar stylist encourages you to "just do it." Print is dead, long live print!
Text Steve Salter