Friday, 23 January 2009

Style Salvage Speaks to...BUCK (part one)

After a couple of weeks of hinting about our 'Style Salvage Speaks to' feature we can now finally begin posting our interviews. Over the course of the next month we will be posting interviews covering as many facets of the men's style industry as possible, including a number of designers, stylists, journalists, buyers and shop owners... even fellow bloggers! As most of the blogging world's attention has been diverted to the goings on in Milan, Paris and an ever increasing number of trade shows around the globe, this feature will provide something a little different. Even though we have been watching the shows we believe that there is much more to men's style and fashion than what happens on the runway.

We thought that we would start off proceedings with our little chat with BUCK magazines editor and founder, Steve Doyle and Fashion Editor (and long time blogger) Elliott James Sainsbury. As mentioned on Wednesday, Steve has just launched his own blog where he is documenting his random collection of thoughts, so it is a fitting time to get to now the man behind BUCK that little bit more. We have supported BUCK ever since we first heard about its launch last year and have seen it develop into a fine magazine; it has certainly filled a gaping hole in the market.

Steve met up with the chaps at their offices in Bethnal Green the evening before they flew off to Milan to cover the shows....

Steve Doyle hard at work at his desk...photoshopped in front of a 'Buck Reader' inspiration board.

Style Salvage: Are you surprised to be founder and editor of a Men's lifestyle magazine at the age of 26?
Steve Doyle: Not at all because it feels so right. It doesn't surprise me because I was very determined to do it and when I'm determined to do something, I tend to do it.

SS: How did you get into journalism?
SD: I actually worked in fashion programmes for the BBC, I'm not sure if you remember but it was for a show called Style Challenge. It was on in the daytime and no one seems to remember it. It was one of the first makeover shows, where they kept the person they were making over in the dark and then at the end they had this spin the mirror moment

SS: Wow, TV is missing something like that!
SD: It was made at Pebble Mill and I grew up in Birmingham. When I was in sixth form I worked there for about two years, every Friday and during Holidays. I worked on that and Clothes Show live. Then I did my degree in Japanese and as part of that was lucky enough to live in Tokyo. I was always into the fashion but then fell completely in love with Men's Non-no whilst out there and I just always thought, "I wish someone would do this or something like it back home, there has to be a market for it even if it is small". I finished Uni, had a diversion into working in the City which now seems like a distant memory - what was I thinking? - but I learnt a great deal but realised it wasn't for me and needed to working on something creative. I had some inheritance come through and decided that this is what I needed to do. Set up this magazine with a website.

SS: Who would you say was the target BUCK reader?
SD: I would say that he was around 25, living in a city, might be living with his girlfriend or in a house with mates. He is just starting out on his career, whatever that might be, and he wants something accessible and affordable but new. He wants to find out what other guys are doing without being dictated what to do, which I feel a number of Men's Lifestyle magazines do.

SS: They can read like an aspirational catalogue...
SD: Yeah, it is all a bit constraining. Which is why we do the street style feature, the in your home is from their point of view, the readers point of view. Okay, this guy has designed his own wall in this way, we then show the shopping pages after so you can get the look in your own house but it not all a PR push from a brand. With some magazines every page is PR copy, it really is no wonder people aren't buying magazines anymore.

SS: My gripe with a number of leading men's magazines is that it difficult to see what is editorial content and what are adverts or advertorials, everything is blurred in to one.
SD: i noticed in the new issue of i-D, their Menswear Issue, they have a ten page feature on CK. Did in an interesting way but why dedicate ten pages, it has to be an advertorial. They ticked all these boxes by featuring the underwear, the jeans, menswear and's just not very interesting.

Elliott and the an inspiration board used for the upcoming issue...

SS: There are so few adverts in BUCK and many of the ones that are in there are dedicated to emerging designers, for examples there were two full pages of JW Anderson
SD: We've featured Carola Euler, Unconditional, SOAR...We think they are going to be important and want to build this relationship from the start

Elliot James Sainsbury: With JW Anderson, he is now showing at MAN. Since the very first BUCK we have been saying that he is a great talent. It is fun to be an early adopter.

SS: It is a close knit team here, where did you find everyone?
SD: We've been quite lucky that everyone has got on so well but most people were hired through completing open interviews. I met so many people last summer, it all took several months. Everyone has brought different skills with them. Most people here had experience with working with web or were prepared to, whether it was a blog or like Elliot at a site like Fashion156. Joseph and I had both worked at Vogue and we were introduced there but on the most part it was through interviews. I think that is why it has worked because often in fashion magazines, they are quite cliquey.

SS: I assumed that you were a group of friends maybe, living in a flat together and then one day you thought, fuck it, let's just start our own magazine.
SD: It does happen but often that can go wrong. We spend so much time together that we are all friends now. We have built up so many contacts now, so if we need anything we can put our heads together and come up with the right person. We have so many street style photographers that we could pretty much take our street style feature to any city in the world.

EJS: We can now put together shoots at a day's notice which is really good.

SS: If such a thing exists, could you describe your typical day?
SD: Joe gets the brunt of my typical day. I normally get here about 9 and go through my inbox, which is quite horrendous, deleting. Then it is a whole variety of things really, because I am editor and publishing there is a lot to do. Planning the next issue, it is talking with Elliot about which designers we are going to use for the next shoot, what are the themes and what are we going to promote as the important things for next season, and this is mainly what we have been doing recently because of the new season starting soon. Then I'll be talking with Laura about the same for interiors, then we'll decide what restaurants we are going to review each month and who is going to review them. I'm not sure about a typical day but I tend to have the same conversations every day. I spend a lot of time with our picture editor Holly finding new photographers, we love featuring new talent. As each of our issues is focused on a different city, we try and get as much as we can do in that city which takes quite a lot of organisation. There is the advertising side, so I am speaking to advertisers and I cover distribution as well.

An array of front covers next to an inspiration board for the next issue...

SS: I was amazed at how widely stocked the magazine is, even from the launch issue...
SD: The cover is by far the most difficult. The cover is so hard to decide. On the launch cover we almost had a full breakdown, there were nearly tears because it was so stressful. How can you ever sum it up in one image. There were so many mistakes we made with that first cover, which is why the 2nd and 3rd covers look different, for example the BUCK logo was in the middle of the page, but in 2 and 3 we have switched it to the left and the reason for that is that when you have it in a corner shop...

SS: ...You can't actually see the title.
SD: Exactly! On the day it came out I went into a shop and couldn't see it and then saw the red but I was like 'Oh god, nobody is going to be able to see it'

SS: We should just blame the display... The issues are getting stronger and stronger, so it feels like you are learning as you go...
SD: That is a huge part of it. I think with the third issue we are all really happy. The first two were getting there, I'm still really happy with the first issue but the third is much closer to what we want it to be.

EJS: At first no one really knew who BUCK were and Steve was keen on bringing in people who were up and coming or whatever, so by issue three, everyone we wanted to work with and everything we wanted to do we were able to do. Issue four has been so much easier because people really know the magazine. Now, when we go out and do the street style, people know about the magazine which is great.

Come back for part two of the interview tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

wow, good stuff guys. Buck is a great magazine and it is always great to here more on the origins. I'm looking forward to reading more on this feature.

Yeepcha said...

The more i see and hear of Steve Doyle, the more i think he is wonderful. At last someone who champions men's fashion. And he doesn't sound like fashion wank either. I mentioned Buck a few times on my blog. Great magazine - deserves to be spoken about. x

Style Salvage Steve said...

James: Thanks James, we love to find out more about the people admire. I doubt the rest of the interviews will be this long but we just had too much fun with this one!
Yeepcha: Ha,I agree that he isn't fashion wank! He had a vision and has worked hard to make it a reality. I hope his enthusiasm and knowledge comes acros in the interview. He really is a lovely chap who can grow one awesome moustache. The industry needs more characters like him.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck with the magazine, my boyfriend certainly think there is a real gap in the market for something like this so he'll definitely be reading!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant & insightful interview. When I first read about the launch of BUCK in PR Week I knew it would work and after buying the first issue I wasn't disappointed! There was such a massive void in the market for a magazine like this - Street Style and In Your Home are definitely my favourite features. Keep up the good work & can't wait for the second part of the interview!

Little Power/Yellowbird said...

I'm a massive fan of Buck and this was an excellent and insightful interview. I love seeing how different people work, so thank you for the first part!


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