This month, I tried Another Man.
It certainly differentiates itself from the lad’s mags of this area, such as GQ, Arena, Esquire, by its intellectual aspirations. The main body of photo shoots is interspersed with extracts from several historical manifestos – the surrealists (“psychic automation in its pure state”) to Dadaists (“say yes, say no”), futurists (“rebel against the tyranny of words”) to Dogme 95 (“I am no longer an artist”). But there seems to be no attempt to link these manifestos, interesting as they are, to the shoots. Each is not a theme; it is instead, one is tempted to say, a pretension.
The commissioned writing has a similar bent. While some of this is superb – in particular Jon Savage on the Zazous and Philip K Dick on how to write science fiction – it is a handful of pages and the journalist copy is rather unoriginal and unconnected. You can’t help feeling the Nick Cave interview would be better written by someone at Mojo. And the short description of a band averaging 16 years in age that disparages anyone that can play an instrument is bizarre.
But Another Man inevitably falls down more on its fashion coverage more than anything else. While it doesn’t necessarily describe itself as a fashion magazine, it does dedicate well over half the magazine the fashion shoots and advertising – so it is here you would expect it to deliver.
Instead, there are spreads showing men with plastic rings, a glass sculpture and a Christmas decoration on their heads. Most have one piece of actual clothing on, though this may be a wool blazer worn as a skirt (not sure this is what Kenzo intended) or an oversized jumper (a rather kind description for a potato sack that goes over the head and reaches to the knees, with an alarming cartoon face painted on the front and a red grille to look through).
This is not to say that there is nothing worthwhile in here. One shoot takes students and artists in King’s Cross and Shoreditch and has some wonderful combinations of bohemian yet understated clothes. But it is 16 pages out of 320. And where’s the fashion/style editorial? A one page interview with Paul Smith. Two sparse spreads about how artists want to be in fashion and vice versa.
I presume there are many people out there for whom Another Man is the perfect magazine. But it is certainly not serious about fashion, let alone style.