Dylan Jones: 'i-D is not just a bellwether – it's also an extraordinary encyclopaedia with an archive to die for'

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Magazines come and go, and then some stick around forever. In the summer of 1980, three magazines launched, almost all at once, each one of them in their own way representing the new cultural and entrepreneurial zeitgeist of the decade. Style magazines, they were called – pejoratively, by many – and very soon they came to define the era. Street fashion, pop, film, nightlife, politics, the transcendence of self – these magazines were what it was all about.

Blitz was the slightly ungainly one, the least sophisticated, and least cool of the three (a bit studenty, we all thought). The Face soon became the most famous, the one that drew the most attention. And i-D was the most iconoclastic, the one that truly felt "underground".

Blitz folded in 1990, The Face closed in 1999 (unnecessarily, in my view), but i-D is still going strong, and this month celebrates its 30th anniversary with a whopping great issue (all 260 pages of it) that perfectly encapsulates the vision of the magazine's founder, owner and editor-in-chief, the very wonderful Terry Jones. Branded "Then, Now, Next", the 30th birthday issue of i-D is a celebration of talent, ambition and family. Which is what Terry and his wife Tricia have always been about.

While obsolescence is obviously one of fashion's underlying principles, Terry and Tricia's mag is not just a bellwether, it's also an extraordinary encyclopaedia, with an archive to die for. They have taken great joy in celebrating ephemera, yet at the same time have built not just a community around the magazine, but also something of an extended family. One that I'm proud to belong to.

This special issue has been photographed by Nick Knight, who has shot some of the great, the good (and the wayward) as an echo of the portfolio he shot for the magazine 25 years ago. Many of the people he shot have been included in his current portfolio (including, I have to say, myself), which is testimony to the idea of a genuine i-D family.

The special issue costs £5 and is worth every penny. In fact it's worth twice as much. So buy two copies. Immediately. It's a posterity thing.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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