Fashion: For those who know where it's at

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The Independent Culture
THEY THINK they're it. Yes, the long-awaited second issue of Britain's biggest and most glossy, limited-edition fashion magazine , it, is finally with us. And very impressive it looks, too. The theme this time round is "Innocence" (the first edition was "Wild"), featuring the work of, among others, designers Hussein Chalayan, Antonio Berardi and Suzanne Clements, and photographers Vanina Sorrenti, John Paul Pietrus, Orion Best, Julie Sleaford, Donna Francesca, Robert Wyatt, Zed Nelson and Paolo Sutch.

The brainchild of Sophia Neophitou, senior stylist with The Independent, Gary Cochran, art director of The Independent's Saturday magazine and former Independent fashion editor, Tamsin Blanchard, the magazine's brief is a broad one and the images reflect this. Some of the stronger shots include a group of young Catholic girls eating chips after their first holy communion (Berardi/Sleaford), a diary of model Rebecca Harper's pregnancy (Wyatt), and a multi-pierced Havana local (Best). Documentary photography is included alongside more classic fashion shoots and pages that resemble nothing more than a particularly accomplished designer scrapbook.

Inspired by the hugely influential American title, Visionaire, it comes in a large square box . Stories are self-contained and concertina-folded inside.

The magazine was first launched just over a year ago when Neophitou, Cochran and Blanchard, identifying a gap in the market for a British magazine that went beyond fashion and aimed to celebrate more than just commercially led photography, took the leap to fill it. Predictably enough, the search for backing drew a blank, at which point all three took out bank loans and went ahead with the project nonetheless.

The second issue is sponsored by Adidas - an unusually enlightened backer, which also sponsored last year's highly controversial, award-winning issue of Dazed & Confused guest-edited by Alexander McQueen. Diesel, meanwhile, will be sponsoring a third.

The morning after a heaving and sweaty launch at the ram-packed ICA bar in the Mall, London, Neophitou says: "The idea with the magazine is to give people a free rein and to encourage them to do something that is about more than just fashion. To be honest, when we first started, we didn't really know what we were doing, but we did know that the glossies - which have just become advertising vehicles - needed challenging."

The theme of the current issue of it may be "Innocence", but experience has made for a rather more cohesive product this time round. "Although we wanted people to be able to do what they wanted, and not give them a very specific brief, we did want the whole thing to hang together. `Innocence' is just a single word but it provides a framework," Neophitou says.

Susannah Frankel

`it' costs pounds 50, from Zwemmer Media, 80 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2, and the ICA bookshop, The Mall, London SW1. Enquiries: e-mail itmag@yahoo.com

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