Dazed publishes 30 years of iconic covers in new book with Rizzoli

Featuring contributions from Tyler Mitchell, Björk and Vivienne Westwood, Dazed: 30 Years Confused is a mammoth compendium of the youth-culture publication’s history of covers.

4 October 2021


Dazed & Confused began as a single A2 fold-out newsprint in 1991. Now it’s established itself as a movement-making, culture-defining publication that is impressively consistent in moving with the times and encapsulating the zeitgeist.

To celebrate its achievements and legacy over the past 30 years, and keep momentum for the future, outgoing editor Isabella Burley and previous art director Jamie Reid have put together a mammoth 288-page hardcover book Dazed: 30 Years Confused: The covers that launched a movement, published by Rizzoli. Reid and Burley’s team found a “recurring theme” of unusual or unexpected pairings. “It is in the DNA of Dazed to be risk taking and progressive,” Reid tells It’s Nice That. “It has recurred throughout the 30 years and we tapped into this.”

The book is split into ten chapters which each take their cue from the magazine’s most memorable cover lines. The chapters chart the journey from the smokey and grunge youth culture of the ‘90s to today’s activism-driven Gen-Z, each prioritising “storytelling and image making”. The book includes delights from the publication’s rich editorial history, such as Alexander McQueen and David Bowie’s first official, recorded conversation to a rare appearance and guest-edit by Chelsea Manning.

But all this diverse and exciting content can be difficult to do justice, as Reid explains. “Isabella and I,” he continues, “always intended to approach the curation differently to a traditional anniversary publication.” During their time working together on the magazine, there were recurring phrases or slogans the two would keep coming back to, like “Sex Me Up!” or “Don't Fight it, Feel” – “we would use them as almost a mantra to discuss the work we were doing,” Reid explains. They therefore chose ten slogans that they thought best embody the spirit of Dazed and made each one into a chapter, with the help of the book’s project director Felicity Shaw and deputy editors Claire Marie Healy and Jack Mills.


Leonie McQuillan: Dazed: 30 Years Confused (Copyright © Rizzoli, 2021)

“It would be difficult for me to even pick a top ten!” says Reid, when asked about his favourite cover. But for the art director, the June 2000 Eminem cover is a standout. “Like the majority of kids, I was obsessed with Eminem,” he says. “I would do anything I could to track down, buy or download the uncensored songs and listen on repeat all day and night. There was so much controversy around Eminem, I just thought it was brilliant that Dazed harnessed and matched that energy.”

Reid also points to the Young Thug cover by Harley Weir. As a Young Thug fan, Reid believed that everything aligned perfectly for it to be in the first issue he had art directed. “We flew out to Atlanta and spent the day shooting on location,” he says. “Young Thug then invited us back to his house to finish the shoot. We shot him in the bath, I poured the bubbles in, the water scolded him, it was crazy. Still the maddest experience for me and things came almost full-circle for me, from buying Eminem to shooting a Young Thug cover.”

Meanwhile, Lynette Nylander, Dazed’s new editorial director, tells us that she “really loves the South Africa issue cover from 2004,” before adding: “And I will always love the Azealia Banks issue with the condom too. Right cover star, right time.”

Dazed hopes that whilst this book celebrates the history of the publication’s status and its decidedly unique approach to platforming celebrity, its ‘New Era’ will be the defining movement going forward. “It’s a continuation, or in fact, an evolution of what Dazed has always been about: subversive storytelling centred around young people,” Nylander tells It’s Nice That. “Though I think now, it’s really about having a global lens on what is happening with Gen-Z and millennials, and rather than being an authoritarian (what most magazines see themselves as), being more of a collaborator with its audience. We should listen to them as much as they listen to us.” To ring in this new era, Dazed will also celebrate its 30th anniversary with a two-day takeover of 180 The Strand: Dazed Live, taking place on the second weekend of October.

You can buy the book online now.

GalleryLeonie McQuillan: Dazed: 30 Years Confused (Copyright © Rizzoli, 2021)

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Leonie McQuillan: Dazed: 30 Years Confused (Copyright © Rizzoli, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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