Like many, Hanka van der Voet spent her teenage years hoarding issues of magazines such as The Face, Dutch and i-D, using this material to inspire her own zines. “It seems a bit unavoidable that I was going to set up my own fashion magazine someday,” the Amsterdam-based creative tells It’s Nice That. Currently the head of MA Fashion Strategy at ArtEZ University programme, Hanka recently launched her “inevitable” fashion magazine, alongside graphic designer Beau Bertens.
Titled Press & Fold, Notes on making and doing in fashion the publication is Hanka’s response to an industry she’s become bored and frustrated with: “At a certain point in the last few years… all fashion magazines started to look alike in my opinion: using the same photographers and stylists, and obsessing over the same brands,” she explains. “I also found that these fashion magazines – not only mainstream but so-called niche fashion magazines as well – were ignoring new kinds of fashion practices exploring alternative fashion forms and narratives.” With this in mind, she set about providing a platform for fashion practices that don’t revolve around collections, focussing on conversations about the production, presentation and consumption of clothes and the context in which this takes place, “rather than trying to sell out readers the latest fashions.”
Most fashion magazines are curated around seasons, however, as Press & Fold is not selling any products this approach was not applicable. Instead, Hanka and Beau decided to theme each issue; themes that would still relate to the current trends and debate in the fashion world. “We chose ‘the street’ for our first issue, as the street has always played an important role in the generation and perpetuation of fashion,” Hanka offers. Exploring, for example, how streetwear has been co-opted by luxury fashion houses, Press & Fold’s first issue gives a much broader overview of the relationship between fashion and the street, one that goes beyond “treating fashion simply as a commodity, something to consume.”
One of the goals of Press & Fold is to not only show finished products but unveil the research and processes that take place within contemporary fashion practices. For the publication’s first cover story, Hanka and Beau decided to highlight the work of Tenant of Culture – the artistic practice of Hendrickje Schimmel. Using found, and often recognisable, objects she examines the notion of the ‘collection’ and its functions and themes such as preservation, decay, storage, display and cultural hierarchy. For Press & Fold Issue #0 Hendrickje created The Rag-Pickers Discourse: A selected guide by Tenant of Culture. The series – which features a deconstructed Air Max ’95 and a flat plan of a white t-shirt – provides insight into her research methodologies, while reflecting on the issue of waste in fashion, taking Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project as a starting point.
In its design, Press & Fold is incredibly considered. “The ambition to open up and break through systems also applies on a design and layout level,” Beau explains. Instead of prioritising products, she instead focussed on creating a design that emphasised the work of their contributors, shaped in close collaboration with them. For the launch of the magazine, one such contributor, Elisa van Joolen, suggested creating a customised wrapping created from collected plastic bags. “It resulted in me manically sealing 200 copies of Press & Fold for three days straight, with a simple kitchen sealing machine. But the end result was very much worth it,” Hanka recalls.
It’s decisions like these that make Press & Fold so intriguing. Not looking, or feeling, like a fashion magazine, it introduces the subject to a wider design community through the use of narrative. By combining great design with fascinating imagery and stories, its a magazine with depth, presented in a serious and strong manner. With plans to vary the paper choice and binding according to the theme of each issue, we can’t wait to see what Hanka and Beau come up with next.
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