The Face returns: What you need to know about the seminal magazine that transformed British culture

The legendary title is relaunching after 15 years

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 27 March 2019 18:02 GMT
The Face magazine is returning after 15 years
The Face magazine is returning after 15 years (The Face)

The Face magazine was once one of the most influential cultural authorities in Britain, serving as a gateway into the coolest corners of fashion, film, music and nightlife through the Eighties and Nineties.

That was, until it folded in 2004, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of its cohort of rave-hungry twentysomething fans.

Now, 15 years later, The Face is back. And said fans – most of whom are now in their mid to late thirties – are thrilled.

But a lot has changed since the publication was in its prime, with one memorable issue from 1995 that had Robbie Williams on the cover selling more than 128,000 copies.

Founded in 1980, The Face was born in an era free from influencers, selfies and #spon content. It was at the vanguard of the cultural agenda, alerting readers to the most cutting-edge trends, music and movies.

While print titles still have a place in the modern world, the recent closures of titles like Look, InStyle and ShortList suggest that place might be in a state of flux.

It might seem odd, then, to launch a print title now. But The Face is drawing on a long line of dedicated readers whose penchant for nostalgia might just be its USP.

An Instagram account was created for the new title on Monday – and though it’s only been teasing out short clips and images of the logo so far, it’s already garnered more than 6,000 followers.

Read on for everything you need to know about The Face, from how it will adapt to the current media climate to who’s in the esteemed team behind it.

What is The Face?

The Face was founded in 1980 by NME and Smash Hits editor Nick Logan as a monthly magazine that soon became a benchmark for what was trending in film, music, fashion, photography and youth culture.

It combined sophisticated fashion editorials with longform journalism and featured an innovative typeface on the cover and inside, carving out a space in on newsstands for provocateur magazines like Blitz, Dazed & Confused and Details.

Over the course of its 24-year lifespan, it became synonymous with London’s burgeoning punk and rave scenes. The Face was also largely credited for launching the careers of some of the fashion industry’s most revered photographers, including Corinne Day, Juergen Teller, Nick Knight and David Sims. It was also where writers such as Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons and Jon Savage honed their craft. Katie Grand, who founded LOVE magazine, was the publication’s fashion director in 1999.

Its reverence was such that in 2017 an entire book was written in its commemoration, titled: The Story of The Face: The Magazine that Changed Culture.

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele has already collaborated with The Face, having been given permission to use The Face’s logo on designs for his pre-fall 2019 collection.

When did it fold and who owns it now?

The Face folded in 2004. At the time, it was owned by Emap Consumer Media, which also owns Drapers. It was subsequently bought by Bauer Media, which publishes Grazia, who, in 2009 reportedly had plans to revive it. But this never surfaced, and the title was subsequently acquired by Wasted Talent in 2017.

Wasted Talent also owns music titles Kerrang! And Mixmag.

Who is running it now?

The new editor of The Face is Stuart Brumfitt, a former editorial director of Vice Media’s Amuse, a premium travel website.

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The rest of the team has yet to be announced, but The Face has already recruited a number of part-time contributors, who include British fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner, music executive Grace Ladoja, and photographer Margaret Zhang.

What’s different about the revamped title?

It’s hard to say given that the first print issue won’t launch until late summer, but a soft online launch is set for April, so more details about what the print edition will look like will be revealed then. So far, we know that the logo will be the same as it was in the title’s Nineties heydays.

According to a statement released by the publication, it will "delve deep into the world of music, fashion, sport, politics and the art" and be reimagined as an integrated, multi-channel offering through audio, video and the written word.

"It’s about a global outlook; connecting the dots; always talking up to its audience – and all done with a style that no one else is doing right now," it adds.

In interviews publicising the relaunch, Brumfitt and contributors have also reassured fans that The Face won’t just be a retrospective homage to what it was before. It will focus on how the worlds of music, fashion, art and entertainment operate now and champion fledgling talents such as Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh.

Watch this space.

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