This week’s title is one of the new batch of menswear titles: menswear for the era of hipsters and normcore. There have been a healthy batch of new men’s magazines begun in the last 6-7 years, and Fantastic Man is one of the ones that led the trend. It is published in Amsterdam and comes out 2x/year, which means that it has to be especially juicy when it does.
The title was developed by Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom in 2005. Their aim was to produce something that looked contemporary and of interest to thinking men over the age of 30. Their interest in fashion was a driving force, but, unlike many of the other glossy men’s mags, they felt it was time to take the sex appeal out of the fashion presentation. They round out the title with their intellectual take on pop-culture and award-winning art direction. This title is definitely part of the current fashion for minimalist graphic design.
As far as fashion goes, they seek the middle ground between all-active-sportswear all-the-time and seeing menswear as purely suit-based. Most of the editorial in the above issue is pretty accessible: common pieces like jeans, jackets and trenchcoats, styled a bit less conservatively than 10 Men or Another Man might present.
This post is going to be more reading list than writing. Mostly I just wanted to tie together some nerdy themes (I’m a librarian, after all) into the hype for the new Black Panther movie, and get you into some history of pop-culture that overlaps with fashion, which is one of the things FIT is all about.
Afrofuturism, a term coined by Mark Dery in 1993, refers to speculative fiction (and its surrounding and expanding pop-culture these days) which puts the African American experience front and center and imagines technology used in its service. More or less, but really more.
As Lanre Bakare described in a 2014 article for The Guardian:
“Afrofuturism’s reach is vast. It encompasses the literature of writers such as Octavia E Butler and Ishmael Reed, films such as John Sayle’s The Brother From Another Planet, and the visual art of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ellen Gallagher. It has been retrospectively applied to the work of musicians ranging from Jimi Hendrix and Sun Ra to Public Enemy and Lee “Scratch” Perry. It has an expansive and pliant musical heritage, which film-maker and Afrofuturist author Ytasha Womack argues stretches all the way back to ancient African griot traditions; she also notes the frequent references to Egyptian astronomy and the pyramids.” (Follow the link below for links to details on all the folks mentioned.)
Another “cultural provocateur” who has written about this concept is Greg Tate, who is a writer, artist and musician from Harlem. His writing on the subject found its voice while he was a staff writer for the Village Voice from 1987-2003. He and his Arkestra will be performing at the Brooklyn Museum on March 29, 2018.
Vice magazine defined Afrofuturism as a “space-obsessed African-American musical genre that was most prominent in the 70s and 80s.”
What’s exciting is that this trend *isn’t* over. The wave of new female artists (musical in this case) have embraced this framework and expressed it visually through album art (remember that genre?), stage costume, and magazine photography.
This week Vogue Parisis the MoW because they were current-thinking enough to put Rihanna on the cover in the midst of the Grammy madness. I’ve written a lot about the foreign Vogues here,here and here. But today I’m talking about inclusivity, the music industry, and publishers that get it. The Grammy Awards were in New York Sunday a week past, and that makes it a local fashion event and worthy of comment, right?
In case you were wondering, Vogue Paris is the French edition of the American fashion publication Vogue. It was launched in June 1920 (almost 100 years ago!), and is published monthly. We have issues going back to 1965. If you need older issues, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Library has them going back to 1947 (appointment necessary).
Like the American edition, Vogue Paris highlights music, the art scene, and other cultural markers, as well as selling pages and pages of high-end advertising. This issue is a love letter to Rihanna, featuring her in nearly every layout. It’s hard to say if this had anything to do with the upcoming Grammy awards, or if Rihanna just continues to be such a hot commodity that editors counted on the sales her cover story would bring.
Vogue editors were not alone in this. Even the kids of pop stars have heroes (as in *not* their parents). One of the best moments at the Grammy awards ceremony was backstage, when P!nk got to introduce her daughter, Willow Hart, to the pop star. Kudos to Rihanna’s uber-class act, posing for pics with Willow and her mom!
It’s worth noting that the two celebrities who won the Grammys last week were both under the age of 7:
I will leave you with Blue Ivy shushing her parents, Jayzee and Beyonce’, for talking over Camila Cabello’s speech. This girl has inherited her parents’ aplomb and then some!