“I WAS TOLD ‘IT’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU DO, IT’S WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH’. THAT’S VERY TRUE. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STRONG COLLABORATORS THEN YOU CAN’T MOVE THINGS FORWARD.”
Fashion’s appeal as a field is more related to an ideology or social point of view to you. Would you also apply this concept to your figure as a journalist and editor?
It might sound pretentious, but yeah I’d hope so. I’m not working at a shopping magazine, what I’ve always been interested in is the bigger picture, beyond just clothes, as I said when we were talking earlier. I’m not so interested in how many buttons are on a shirt, the story is always what’s better for me.
Do you think this makes you more interested in what you look at? Because what’s the point if there is no story behind it, right?
I think so. I tend to get very passionate about things, it often boils down to love or hate. Eradicate all the dross in between. Maybe the difference in me as a fashion editor working with words versus who is a stylist working directly with the clothes is that I look for context as opposed to seeing them as tools for a shoot. Though obviously, it’s no use if the clothes are awful, you just move on.
Going back to being an editor and journalist, what triggered your passion to pursue this as a career?
It was kind of an accident really – which I think the best things always are. I grew up in Wales in a small town called Neath, where there’s not really much to do and magazines were my way out. The Face, Dazed and Confused, i-D; those were the three I used to buy religiously from the age of about fourteen. I’d have to travel about 8 miles to Swansea to find a newsagent carrying them and I’d always remember that exciting feeling when the new issue was out… or sometimes when the delivery was late and I’d be like ‘shit, I’ll have to come back again.’
Yeah, I know the feeling!
It was a porthole into another world; music and art and fashion and film, just exciting things. A foreign language of sorts. Then when I went to university and did a fashion course, which was fashion promotion and imaging, so it wasn’t actually journalism. I did an art foundation before that so I experimented with graphic design, fine art so I was more visual, at first. When I was at university I did fanzines on a year out and it went from there really. I started contributing to i-D. Ben Reardon, the editor at the time who is now doing GQ Style is from Newport and I think he probably felt sorry for me because he was from Wales too and he knew the story. I started by doing a hundred words on a perfume or a t-shirt, because they liked my fanzine. It just went from there.
Do you think that these visual experiences helped you express the strong passion you had since you were very young, before becoming a journalist?
Massively. One million percent. I had a lecturer when I did my art foundation course called Eilish O’Donohoe, she was a great mentor and inspiration. The best piece of advice I could give to anyone is to do art foundation – unlock your mind, you will see things differently.
What do you feel are important factors when you are gathering content for the magazines you work for?
The story, the feeling, a lot of it is taste as well – I mean that’s just the nature of being an editor. That’s what is quite funny about fashion show critiques, some people can be quite vicious when reviewing a fashion show and I just think: well, like it or not someone spent six months on that and just because it’s not your taste doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I would never be vicious about someone’s show unless it was prejudiced in some way or promoted a dodgy political ideology.
Definitely. Do you think that somehow a piece of clothing or a whole fashion show could be better or have more to say when linking classicism and modernity, creating something timeless?
Absolutely, that’s the sophisticated ideal.
Though of course what I do love of our time – that’s what fashion is.
Do you think it would be boring to actually try to?
I’d hope the reason someone is making a collection is because they have something to express they feel is not there already. Computers have changed things a lot – look at music. Garageband comes with every Mac now, so everyone can be a musician. Or think they are. I could have a go and it would be crap and I’d still be polluting the world with it. But that doesn’t stop a lot of people from trying. It’s kind of the same thing with all of the creative disciplines now, so part of everyday life. What was marginal is now mainstream. There is a lot more of everything, so you have to look a lot more for what’s good. In terms of clothing, I don’t see any point whatsoever in doing a collection if you’re just copying things that are out there. That didn’t answer the question did it? (laughing)
It did. It expressed how you try to find work that had been created by passion and not by a brief view of something already seen… Trust Magazine was born as a platform to help creative people to express themselves in the most liberal way. Do you believe trust is important both as a concept and a lifestyle these days? Should we be aware of this or try to embrace it as to reach a greater idea of humanity?
Trust is everything. So much of our relationships go through a computer or phone screen, we forget the person at the other and using the machine. We need to take time to interact with each other and to nurture relationships. I’m a fiercely loyal person who invests himself. I expect that back.
What is the thing you trust the most and what kind of feeling do you get from what the word represents?
Wow, that’s a difficult one. Can I ask you what would you say?
The thing I trust the most? Myself perhaps. I see myself as a tool: the only thing I know is that nothing in the world is sure. Everything could change. Everything could fall or could rise, explode or spread. The only thing I could trust in is myself. I can always count on myself and in what I truly believe is right. Knowledge, passion and trusting people. It’s about embracing humanity again, not machines. We make machines. I trust myself because I trust blood, brain, feelings and I trust everything that is around the word passion.
I think that is a very wise answer. It’s fundamental, you have to trust yourself. Like I said everything is in flux and everything can change. Someone said to me, “there’s only one thing you can rely on and that’s yourself’.
We all know how things are going, I’ve seen how people are feeling so bad about themselves, due to the internet, because of being compared to other people that are “better then them”.
It’s being forced down your throat, through Facebook. It’s not good, just switch it off. I left Facebook for a few years and only came back recently, because there are people I want to keep in touch with and it’s a convenient way to do that, but I’m not obsessed with it. When I first moved to London I was obsessed with it and what’s the point? It just makes you feel horrendous. To go off the topic a bit here, I see some of the things people post on their Facebooks and Twitters and think ‘God, draw a line. This isn’t any good, the things they’re saying… it’s just embarrassing’. Remember it’s the world’s biggest toilet wall; everyone sees your graffiti and it’s there forever. Keep something back for yourself, your friends. I don’t need to know. Or care.
Do you see yourself as a figure in which people trust in?
I hope so. Forgetting about work, just as a person.
Would you like to say something to young creative people trying to work in 2013?
Follow your instinct, follow your passion and don’t let the fuckers get you down.