Members of the invitation-only TheFashionSpot forums are well-known among other fashion lovers for their enthusiastic reactions to new runway collections and fast sharing of new pictures and scans. Some have already made a name for themselves in the industry and some have all the potential to become part of the fashion elite in the future. In our continuing series, we are spotlighting some of the most outstanding and interesting contributors to the tFS forums and giving a peek inside their offline lives.
The Magazines forum is arguably one of the most exciting sections of the tFS forums. High quality images from the latest fashion magazines often find their way to the forums long before they appear anywhere else. Therefore, it's not surprising that new threads often move fast and many members comment on the covers and content of magazines. Vogue28, whose real name is Mark, is one of the members contributing highly to the Magazines forums, where his posts are always among the most outstanding. The way he analyzes magazines in his very own way is often surprising and certainly always interesting. About the fashion editorials in the November issue of Vogue Paris he posted:
"Anja by Terry Richardson is flawless. The Nina Ricci bottles around Anja's leg is pure genius, I'm all for the small details like that. Glen Luchford's edit is fantastic also, I love the shot of Nadja wearing the Viktor & Rolf coat, Marie Chaix adds so much to the editorial. More often than not, I'd shun an editorial with David Sims for Vogue Paris. But most of the shots with Kati are nice, Emmanuelle Alt sure does rate her. Another month that proves the other editions of Vogue aren't in the same league as the French one."
His attention to detail and the way he compares different issues and magazines shows how much he knows about magazines and how much he enjoys reading and studying them thoroughly. But Mark not only comments on images, he also reviews and scans issues of British magazines and is one of the most loyal and active participants in the popular Cover Challenge thread and he posts in the threads of his favorite models, such as Natasha Poly, Kate Moss, and Anja Rubik.
Mark is 21 years old and lives in Northern England. When I asked him to submit a picture of himself he admitted he was too shy and said he wouldn't post a picture of himself on the internet "unless it was shot by Steven Meisel." He agreed to send me a picture of his impressive magazines collections instead, an offer I couldn't decline.
What you see in this photo is only a fraction of his whole collection, consisting of various international editions of Vogue and UK Harper's Bazaar, and Numéro. He has stacks of more issues of Vogue UK, Vogue Paris, as well as UK Elle and miscellaneous other magazines elsewhere.
Mark also uses Twitter (@Extreme_Mode) and Instagram (extrememode), keeping his followers up to date with his most recent magazine purchases. In our interview, he tells us more about his interest in the graphic aspects of fashion and how his obsession started.
The Fashion Spot: Mark, when did you start collecting magazines? And what was the very first fashion magazine you bought or remember buying?
Mark: I started to collect fashion magazines back in 2005. My sister first introduced me to British Vogue after I asked her what was the best magazine for fashion advertisements. I was fond of cutting the adverts out for their designer emblems and making collages from the cut-outs. When I think back now I could almost kick myself for doing so. I'm certain I have bought the issues from eBay to compensate.
It was the March 2005 issue of British Vogue that I had bought for me, so I guess Kate Moss’ cover was the first ever magazine I was attracted to.
tFS: Which magazines do you still regularly buy?
M: I wish you asked me this question a year ago – you would have been sitting reading for hours. I used to buy so many until I suddenly found my home office being swamped with piles of magazines. I’m a neat freak and I just couldn't handle having so many…so I decided to part with a fair few a couple of months ago.
To answer your question, I purchase Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Vogue Spain, US Vogue, US Harper’s Bazaar on a monthly basis. I also collect Love, Vogue Paris Collections, and most recently, CR Fashion Book, on their seasonal releases. I’m a subscriber to the three British heavyweights that are Vogue, Bazaar and Elle.
tFS: What is your opinion on digital editions of magazines?
M: I’m such a firm believer that print magazines will never ever die. But I’m also fond of digital editions. I don’t subscribe to any of the titles that are available (only British Vogue which I get free via my print subscription).
For me, anything that keeps the magazine industry alive is a welcomed effort. My one downside I have regarding the digital aspect of magazines is the art of scanning. I miss using the scanner as much as I used to and editing the scan to give members a more realistic rendition to what might have been posted earlier. These HQ extractions are uploaded within minutes and are hard to compete with.
tFS: I like that your opinion on covers and magazine content often seems to differ from the popular opinions in a discussion thread. Your comments always seem like you put some thought into them and not like they're just a spontaneous reaction to an image. How do you usually judge pictures or magazines as a whole? And what is usually the first thing you notice about an image?
M: When I joined The Fashion Spot at the tender age of 16 in 2008, I was so erratic when I began to post on the forum. Over time, I have become more confident in what I have wanted to voice. Other members have formed as great figures to template opinions and posts around.
I would say the first thing I notice about an image is the naturalness the picture portrays. There is nothing more I hate than the abuse of Photoshop. More so, I am annoyed at the editors for allowing such work to be published. I’m not terribly into photographers; I prefer the work of stylists and models. But photography plays a massive role in pictures, their talent has become hard to ignore. Steven Meisel is one of those photographers that create such wonderful images in the simplest form.
tFS: What do you look for in a magazines? What makes a magazine good and interesting or boring?
M: The elements that rule my appreciation for magazines are the layouts, fonts, and text placement that are embedded into each magazine. What makes a magazine mundane is editorials that have been done in other publications – shoots that resemble another shoot. I have voiced on the forums that I’m not against reprints. I believe that a great issue can be compiled over reprints.
tFS: You have been participating in the Cover Challenge for a long time (and lately also the Ad Campaign Challenge) and you have won it so many times! I always love your entries. Is working with Photoshop and creating something new with existing images something you have always enjoyed doing or is that a hobby you picked up thanks to tFS?
M: I studied Graphics for a number of years and have always had a keen interest for all things sleek and stark. The Fashion Spot and magazines have only encourage me to pursue it further and participate in such creative threads. My early entries were abysmal, when I look back. But I just loved playing with an image and a font to create, what I thought, was more serviceable than the real thing.
Left: Vogue28's latest winning entry in the "Cover Challenge". The theme was "Behind Fashion"; Right: One of Vogue28's winning entries in the "Cover Challenge". The theme was "Anonymity".
tFS: What are some of your favorite threads on tFS and what do you appreciate most about tFS?
M: That’s a hard one. My favorite section is Visualizing Fashion, but I would say the Cover Rumor Thread is a favorite of mine. I love reading posts about upcoming covers and having time to envision what is about to surface.
The attribute I appreciate most about The Fashion Spot is the diversity in members. For the time I have been active on the forum I have learnt so much. There are different members that contribute certain elements that just make up the terrific experience that tFS has to offer.