Dazed & Confused has always led the pack when it comes to innovative content and with the launch of the magazine’s expansive fall edition the talented team pushes the limits yet again. With the visually arresting theme of “States of Independence” and six weeks worth of corresponding online content the publication fearlessly pushes into the digital sphere with an eye towards all things au courant. Where else will you see modeling it-girls Binx Walton & Natalie Westling on one page, Orange is the New Black star and trans activist Laverne Cox on another – Dazed keeps its finger on the pulse. We caught up with Editor in Chief Tim Noakes and fashion director Robbie Spencer to find out more about this must-read issue.
Why did you guys go with the theme of “States of Independence”?
Tim Noakes: Dazed’s new seasonal print schedule and our commitment to being a digital first publisher gave us a great opportunity to create an expansive online project to fill the summer months without a new issue to promote. Our growth in America over the last year has been phenomenal, so we wanted to expand that readership and also create exciting content partnerships with like minded independent publishers, designers and institutions. So on July 4th we launched States of Independence as a six week editorial project on Dazed Digital leading up to the physical release of the Autumn collections issue. Split into six themed weeks – fashion, music, art, literature, sex, and film – every day a different guest editor took control of the site and showcased the people, scenes, looks and sounds that they feel are setting a new agenda for independent American youth culture. Alongside this we asked 50 of our favourite US icons to answer a fun pop quiz about what they love and loathe about their homeland. And now we have the physical issue which brings it all to a head in fine style with 50 pages of AW14 collections shot around the States. We’ve never done anything like it on this scale before and I couldn’t be happier about how it’s all come together.
How do you think Binx and Natalie relate to the theme?
Robbie Spencer: Binx and Natalie both represent the current zeitgeist and were perfect cover stars for our States of Independence issue. They are not your average models – they don’t fit into the all smiling, cookie cutter American model stereotype and for me, that’s exciting. I think people want to see fashion worn by models they they can identify with. There is a realness to Binx and Natalie that is intoxicating.
The cover shot is incredible – can you speak a bit about the creation of that image?
Robbie Spencer: Roe Ethridge’s take on American life is eccentric and obscure. I’m fascinated by the way he warps the American dream, taking everyday elements and putting them out of context. His work is a perfect fusion between art and fashion – something we love to play with at Dazed.
What are some of your favorite moments within the issue?
Tim Noakes: Apart from Roe Ethridge’s amazing cover story, I love Brianna Capozzi’s shots of 14-year-old style kingpin Mike the Ruler and his NYC gang, Danielle Levitt’s shoot with Raury, the 18-year-old self proclaimed saviour of music, and Jeff Bark’s pictures of Sia’s favourite dancer, Maddie Ziegler. The old guard is being replaced with these amazingly talented young creatives and I think that is unbelievably exciting to document and celebrate.
What were some of your favorite elements from the collections that you were able to put into this story?
Robbie Spencer: Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley brought such a youthful energy to their Marc by Marc Jacobs debut – igniting a whole new era for the brand. The bandanas with their grinning skeleton prints were perfect for this issue as they symbolise the power of raw anarchistic youth.
Dazed always keeps us on our toes with unexpected content – are there any surprises within the issue?
Tim Noakes: This issue is packed full of breathtaking stories like the ones I just mentioned, and the fashion content is some of our strongest to date. But for me, the biggest surprise for readers should be the way we flipped the rules of how to build an issue. Traditionally, print publishers release a magazine and then expand its content online. We’ve never been fond of following the rules, so coming out first with this huge online project, collaborating with other independent publishers instead of trying to compete against each other, and then releasing the print issue at the apex of this project is unlike anything we’ve ever done before. I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities of publishing right now.
All images courtesy of Dazed & Confused