mags of the month: december

This month we check in on a fashion magazine with a responsible and philosophical outlook, an experimental architecture and design magazine, and a mag that reveals the private motivations of everyday runners. The magazines mentioned here will be available to MagShuffle subscribers throughout December. MagShuffle is our brand new mix and match magazine subscription service, where you can personally curate your year of monthly deliveries from a roster of 140+ magazines.

big ideas

it is easy to look at someone insisting they get the shoebox, or buying the more expensive jacket because of the nicer lining, and feel they are willingly perpetuating some elaborate ruse against their better judgement.
briony somers, franc #4, 2017

I picked up issue 3 of Franc earlier this year and was hugely impressed with its intelligent and lively essays, accompanying subtle fashion photography that goes well beyond the average fashion mag. #4 is no different, tackling ‘presence’, that mystifying mind state of performers, sports stars and mindfulness advocates. There is a great deal of variety in this issue, from editor Briony Somers who seeks to understand how presence can be found in our things when rampant materialism consumes us, not the other way around. And in Laoise Quinn’s essay on how fashion and architecture both reinforce presence in a spatial sense – how items “survive seasonal cycles through sentimental ownership and care, even passed down through generations as a family heirloom, is the equivalent to an ancient building considered a national treasure.”
© franc, #4, 2017.
The perspective on fashion here is an emotional, considered and responsible approach and it’s rare and exciting to find communities of people thinking this way about their clothes. There’s a special emphasis on the urban in this edition, perhaps conveying how cities can be so restrictive to presence when in conflict with so many other people’s trajectories, but it also shows how fashion plays a central role in cities because it is a shared space for our identities to be expressed and to commingle. It’s an issue that makes reference to materialism, artificial intelligence, architecture, women’s rights, environmentalism, Ivanka Trump’s Instagram feed, and fashion shoots put together by a seemingly like-minded group that values intimacy and subtlety over flashiness.


© lobby, #6, 2017. cover by martin nicolausson.

I was taken by a recent tweet by Real Review editor, Jack Self, who said that architectural thinking was somewhat wasted on buildings. Well, thankfully there’s a multitude of disciplines that architectural thought contributes to, including magazine making. For three years, students and alumni of London’s Bartlett School of Architecture have been making LOBBY, a magazine of architecture and design and a whole lot more. This bumper issue, their biggest yet, represents their first annual magazine after previously being a bi-annual publication.

It’s not the only change for #6. The issue for the first time takes on a year as its theme. It’s 1961, when Yuri Gargarin became the first man in space, a US-backed team of Cuban exiles fail to execute the Bay of Pigs invasion, JFK comes to power and the Berlin Wall begins construction. It’s a momentous year and the cover design encapsulates that topsy-turvy atmosphere of the time with a front and back cover that can be flipped to display a variation of the collaged face. An idea which mirrors the palindromic flipping of 1961. (turn your screen upside down if you don’t believe me). There’s a greater emphasis on photography in this issue, notably a particularly great contribution from Tag Christof who captures immigrant and marginalised populations of America. The illustrations are also hugely impressive, especially those by Kenismael Santiago whose work is dotted throughout the ‘Crit Room’ section of the magazine. Pleasingly, each section receives its own coloured filter with complementary rainbow colours. Much to admire here in the massive 178 pages.

© lobby, #6, 2017.


There are a stack of magazines for running enthusiasts and a small collection of indie titles have followed, each doing something different. It’s been spearheaded by Like the Wind, which recently published its 14th edition. Its strengths are its illustrations and its ability to cater for all levels of runners, from ultra-marathon and trail runners to hobbyists. I’m a big fan of Runaway magazine which launched its second issue, London, earlier this year and themes its issue by cities and the runners and routes within them. And then there’s Run For Your Life, a new running mag that compellingly features little imagery of running itself, its focus instead is on the inspirational stories of everyday runners.

As well as the excellent interviews it’s the portrait photography by Tom Price that shines in this issue, profiling these runners in their regular running spots, their homes and workplaces. We probably all know a runner, maybe even a marathon runner, but we may never be let in to their private motivations and the true extent of its effect on their mind and body. Here’s a light held up to that.

© run for your life, #1, 2017. photography by tom price.
© run for your life, #1, 2017. photography by tom price.


Where else could you find Giorgio Armani sharing a risotto and Alice Cooper showing off his very large baguette? The Spanish monthly food magazine Tapas translate some of the highlights of those editions into a quarterly English edition, and it’s a brilliantly unique combination of food and pop culture, unrivalled elsewhere. In #13, as well as those celebrity names attached they produce an excellent photo essay of ecuador exploring street food and food production, food-sewn on cotton and much more that takes food as its premise and looks out to the world beyond.

Available to MagShuffle subscribers:
franc / lobby / run for your life / tapas

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