Transmission Transforms


Xiao Wen Ju by Dylan Forsberg

With its introspective point of view, unretouched images and art filled pages, Transmission Magazine is one of the most exciting publications of the moment. Helmed by model cum editor, photographer and author Dylan Forsberg and featuring an impressive array of artful images, Transmission provides a welcome respite from the super-glossy aesthetic that dominates much of fashion. With the publication’s 3rd issue set to debut during Paris Fashion Week with an all-star bash at Le Baron on Tuesday the 30th, we caught up with Dylan to discuss print, passions and the publication’s continued evolution.

What makes this issue different from the first two?

It’s the next step, the continuation of a series. Issue 01, Transition, was a beginning. Something from nothing; going somewhere new. Issue 02, Transparency, was about reflection and discovery; finding out who you are so you can become who you want to be. So now Issue 03, Transform, is that next step: becoming.

A year ago, at the beginning of the project, I would have said that Transform meant to actually, fully change into what one wanted to be. But over the year, thinking about it and trying to live it, I eventually realized that would mean to have transformed. So I began to see it more as a limbo period–a claustrophobic time of attempt and defeat; of hope and frustration … a flailing of the elbows, trying to break free from the constraints of the cocoon.

So I’ve laid out the magazine differently from the first two in an attempt to express that. The cover is meant to represent the goal of finally living within the present moment, while the inside is the struggle, and the back cover is the underlining and usually hidden feeling of discouragement. The entire piece is large and nearly bursting at the seams yet contained within its borders: the cocoon.

How did you decide on the content this time around?

Well, when I had to decide what I wanted to become, the first word that came to mind was silent. After being so introspective with the second issue, I wanted to take a break from thinking and criticizing myself so that I’d be able to live more in the moment. So I’ve used other people’s words rather than my own and all year I’ve held back from writing. The piece is meant as a meditation–a clearing of the mind, so that I don’t get too stuck in old themes.

I don’t want the magazine to be so easily categorized. I’ve realized we have many different characters trapped within us that we block out to satisfy the expectations of others. So many of the stories within the magazine are an expression of breaking free from that and becoming whoever we want, whenever we want.

How do you think the lack of ads / retouching impacts the final product of the magazine?

Well, I’ve begun to realize that what I’ve been making isn’t really a magazine. I’ve started to see the entire piece from cover to cover, and even how it’s distributed for free, as an art piece. I’m really not sure what else to call it. It’s creation for creation’s sake. As “pointless” as a painting. A magazine is meant to sell you something–a product or ideas–whereas Transmission is meant to make you feel something.

And it’s an entire piece: from beginning to end, it’s one solid story. An advertisement is a brand’s interpretation of itself for that particular season, so to include several ads would be to break up the story with several other mini-stories. I have, however, considered working with advertisers to make their product fit within the narrative. I first tried that in the Transmission Presents: FNT magazine and I think it worked pretty well. But for now with the primary Transmission, it makes more sense to keep things pure.

As for the lack of retouching, I feel it’s only the beginning of a new trend. It’s natural to strive for perfection, so I can see why in the past retouching became so popular. But we’ve attained perfection and gone too far. Now retouching seems like it’s only there to create jealousy to sell a product. And since it’s only natural to want the opposite of what you have, I now crave imperfection. I assume the next generation will want the opposite again as well.

How do you think the theme of Transformation relates to the industry as a whole?

Well an obvious answer might be that we’re still in the process of moving from physical to digital … or that people are craving honesty and natural beauty rather than retouching, or how things are changing around us so rapidly that we can’t seem to find our footing. But what I really feel is that we’re close to a breaking point. So tired of repetition, of quantity over quality, of doing things without knowing why … I’ve begun to feel a lack of conviction. In previous generations, repetition and imitation weren’t so glaringly obvious. But now, with the internet, it’s impossible not to notice. How many times can the same picture be re-blogged? How many times can we have a heated debate about some political topic, only to forget it and move on to the next one, forget that and move on again? And finally, how much longer can we cater to those who will click on the most links?

But the discouragement involved with transformation is the most essential part of change. When you’re able to see what you don’t like, it’s easier to learn what you do. Because I believe we could all create what we love rather than what we think others want to see and still be successful. And I believe there’s a way to be more progressive and productive, without working ourselves to the bone. People seem to have forgotten that their own lives are their greatest art. I try to spend as much time on my own as I can and Transmission is really just a peek into that. Hopefully it’s an inspiration as well.

What themes / ideas are you thinking of exploring for issue no. 4?

Transcendence. Acceptance.



Xiao Wen Ju by Dylan Forsberg


Xiao Wen Ju by Dylan Forsberg


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