If you’re all about fashion but proudly geek out over aliens, MMORPGs, and brainwave sensors, then L_A_N — “A magazine for the fashionable futurist”—is probably already your favorite thing in the world. Maybe you think it sucks when other people start to find out about your exclusive, niche thing, but deal with it, because more people deserve to know about the obnoxiously oversized annual magazine that recognizes the future is fashion and fashion is the future.
L_A_N editor Veronica So used to work at VICE Style, but don’t call this nepotism—L_A_N deserves every word of praise it gets. I mean, where else are you going to find DIS Magazine content in print, or fashion shoots taking place in the virtual realm of Second Life? Nowhere. And quit trying, because L_A_N does it best anyway. Veronica also sings in Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite band of 2010, namely the thrashed-out, dance punk outfit TEETH, who, unsurprisingly, are a perfect soundtrack to the pages of L_A_N.
The front covers of L_A_N issues 1 and 2.
VICE: So, first off, what is the point of L_A_N?
Veronica So: I actually made the first L_A_N in my last year at Saint Martins and the brief was to make a DIY fashion magazine. I thought it would be my last chance to do anything fun before I had to go work full time in the fashion closet at Another, or whatever, so I decided to do something geeky and also try to avoid working with all the press people and advertisers. It’s so much more fulfilling to pick up a designer’s collection from their apartment, rather than deal with a middle man who’s a complete bitch to you.
Ha ha, true. So did having no advertising play a big part in how you visualized the magazine in terms of art direction?
No, it was never like that, really. I just wasn’t interested in hustling Smirnoff for free stuff, although I kind of wish I had someone to do all that stuff. The Kickstarter thing funded us, so we had 100% undiluted, non-sponsored content, which people love, and it makes L_A_N more collectible because it seems more like an art book. Saying that, I’d love, like, Google, Thierry Mugler, and Virgin Galactic to advertise. Oh, I also heard about these gold-plated office chair wheels by a luxury brand which would play into the content of the magazine really well. Plus, that’s some executive realness right there.
Wow, yeah. What would the ideal L_A_N office look like?
Oh man, the ultimate L_A_N lair would have crazy, minimalist evil furniture, iridescent everything, Zen water features, Giger furniture, and just be totally cold and reflective. I don’t know, though, L_A_N is just a part of me, rather than all of me. Maybe 80% is L_A_N and into all that stuff, and the other 20% is TEETH, which is gross and messy.
Spreads from Issue 1.
Where did that 80% come from? Like, geeky, techie stuff isn’t necessarily something you’d conventionally link with fashion.
Yeah, totally. I grew up in Silicon Valley and my dad is a microchip designer, inventor, and physics geek, then my uncle George was a huge fan of Star Wars and worked with Industrial Light & Magic, so I was surrounded by geeks who were showing me all this amazing stuff, but as a visual, creative person I could never really plug into what my dad did. Then he started to bring home these huge 5-foot printouts of the microchip designs from his computer and they’re absolutely beautiful. With technology it’s the mystery, vibe, and beauty that attracts fashion people, so it made a lot of sense to try and connect the two worlds together with L_A_N. It’s really an educational magazine, I suppose.
Educating fashion people about the future and future people about fashion?
Yeah, educating people interested in science and the internet about fashion, and fashion people about internet culture and MMO games and architecture and shit. I dunno. The best example is Warren Ellis, who knows nothing about fashion, per se, but wrote the comic Transmetropolitan, which is based in the future, and the illustrator Darick Robertson came up with the most outrageous fashions for these, like, half-human, half-alien things in the comic. They look insane in a great way, and it wasn’t intentionally fashionable, but that’s the ultimate fashion comic for me.
Yeah, there’s something about the future that just makes stuff look amazing. Every good movie set in the future looks super-fashion. Like The Fifth Element, Akira, and Dune are all very stylish.
Yeah, exactly. It gives people freedom to imagine whatever they want, because there are absolutely no restrictions in what could be possible for fashion in the future. Obviously it was Jean Paul Gaultier who did the costumes for The Fifth Element, so they were always going to look incredible. He’s definitely one of those people who lives in their own realm of time, whatever that is. Gaultier actually inspired the upcoming L_A_N collection quite a bit.
Read the rest of the interview over at Vice Style.