Friday, 22 May 2009

Vague Paper

No ordinary fashion magazine, Vague Paper combines elements of fashion, art, beauty and photography, with a heavy dose of biting satire.

Demanding a sense of fun in a self-conscious industry, Vague Paper refuses to take itself too seriously. Instead, founder Matthew Holroyd and his five regular contributors play on the reader’s perceptions of the fashion industry through witty columns, a satirical editor’s letter and edgy photo shoots. The name, a parody of Vogue magazine, sets the tone for a magazine able to push the boundaries of taste, fashion and art.

Not merely a satirical rag, wit is a medium to communicate ideas which stand outside the industry norms. Vague rejects the traditional format of a fashion publication, ignoring trends and instead using clothing as a means to accentuate the ideas it wishes to convey. With distribution at Milan, Paris and London Fashion Weeks, as well as the haute couture shows, Holroyd is able to pass the message on to those in the circle.

Why did you start Vague Paper, how long has it been running?

I started it in the summer of 2005, under the working title of ‘I Haven’t Laughed So Much, Since My Auntie Caught Her Tit in the Mangle’. It was originally a photocopied fanzine, in the back of the original issue; we had an illustration of a Vogue cover, we had renamed it Vague. I added ‘paper’, as “vague paper” means a poorly written essay. I started it as a critic of pop culture, but as it’s grown I realise it’s very much about myself, someone once described it as ‘cruel, jealous and cold’, for those who know me, is a good description of myself!

Your magazine is laced with irony and wit, how far is Vague a satire and how far is it a straight fashion and art publication?

On the surface we are satire, but beyond that we use irony and wit as a catalyst for understanding and communicating. We explore Industry a lot in the publication; perhaps we are suggesting that humour is a commodity in trade and even government and control?

How would you describe Vague Paper’s approach to fashion as opposed to other publications?

Most fashion publications are review magazines, for which we are not. We do not report on trends or predict or suggest them in our shoots. We are interested in making a photograph with depth that perhaps has some critical practice (whether great or not). The clothes in the photos are there to aid the photograph, I happen to use designer clothes, as it’s a free costume department. We comment on the fashion industry as I am fascinated by it. As Katharine Hamnett once said “Fashion is the fourth biggest industry in the world and industries control the world”, which I believe is a pretty accurate description of our current world.

How is Vague distributed?
We distribute in concept stores, galleries, fashion week, art events and shows. Sometimes we stick them inside some of the glossies, guerilla tactics!

Where do you find your stories?
The content is often self-confessional. Often we commentate on current affairs and how the masses are responding to. We also enjoy collaborating with artists, such as a project space does, and printing the outcome.

Issue 6 of Vague Paper launches on May 1st, entitled ‘Smile love, it might never happen’, tell us more….
We were influenced by current affairs to explore whether destruction and demise is in fact entertainment to the majority.

Where does Vague go next?
I am thinking a fashion show, lots of glitter, Danni Minogue and dancing queens.

Issue 6, ‘Smile love, it might never happen’, featuring the work of Cataline Bartolome, Ian J Whitmore, Edith Bergfors, amongst others, is launched on the 21st May at no-one boutique, 1 Kingsland Road. Alternatively, check out where you can buy your copy at .

By Jack Moss

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