We often refer to the FADER editorial office as "The Fish Bowl" mostly because, aside from our work stations and our physical bodies, there isn't really space for much else. We have, however, been very diligent in the style department about saving a lil room for our Acne Paper magazines (five out of the seven published sit safely on the shelves). Acne Paper is a bi-annual title made by Swedish denim collective Acne Jeans. We like to save and peruse the issues because as well as stunning fashion editorials, the stories in there are awesomely unexpected and thought-provoking. The newest issue, for example, is all about tradition and features an interview with the head of the guild of English Butlers, a tête-à-tête with Noam Chomsky and an intensely gut-wrenching essay on love and relationships by Nan Goldin where she declares "What we call falling madly in love with someone is not so much evidence of how deeply we care for our love, but more the relief that we're not alone anymore." Crumbs! One of our favorite supermodels from the late '90s, Guinevere, also happens to be on the cover.
Acne Paper editor-in-chief Thomas Persson, who splits his time between Paris and Stockholm, was in New York this week for the launch of issue #7. We managed to catch up with him before yesterday's Acne Paper launch soirée at the New York library.
How did the tradition theme for the issue come about?
It started out as a kind of mood. There’s so much bullshit and so much product that I thought maybe it was time to celebrate the uniqueness of craft—things that have been passed down through generations. We’re moving so fast with this desire for newness and sensation and that’s a future that’s kind of scary to me. I just wanted to go back to something that was warm, human and more earthy and sincere in a way.
Is the feeling or mood something that’s conceived collectively? Or shared with the Acne Jeans design team?
We that work on the magazine are sort of best friends with people that work on the fashion. I mean we don’t sit down and decide in a meeting that this is the theme, it sort of grows organically through dialogue and normal social exchange. We’re just often thinking in the same direction of things, like the new Acne spring/summer collection is inspired by Bauhaus among other things. You know it’s an historical movement and that created a tradition in design and architecture. So in a way it bonds with art and tradition on a more abstract level.
Nan Goldin is an unlikely candidate for your new "Tradition" issue.
One of our editors Anya had the idea of including Nan Goldin—you know it’s very different from the rest in terms of style. But then after I went to the Louvre and I saw the paintings—especially in the French room—I was sort of taken aback because you know, this is about agony and ecstasy, not unlike the content of Nan Goldin’s work. There’s tradition in the classic portrayal of subjects that are very important in art—like birth, death, love religion.
You actually interview a lot of unexpected folks in the magazine—was that a conscious decision from the outset?
Well I think the same people are always being featured in magazines—whether it’s for a new film, a new record, a new shop a, a new gallery—which is fine. But what with the news you can access on the internet right now, I think the format of the magazine has lost its purpose if it’s only going to be about news. I mean if you can get all of that very fast, then you don’t have to buy a magazine for it. So that’s one reason. The other reason is there’s so many amazing people out there—an ocean of knowledge, people who are so into what they do and never get interviewed—or rarely. I like to think that we interview people for what they know and not for who they are.