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Vanguards #1

28 november 2016,

Sometimes, popping up from the enormous amount of new titles that arrive in our store every week, there is a magazine that immediately catches your attention. This is one of them. Vanguards. Made in Edinburgh, and all about Scotland. Two Art School graduates, Hugo Ross & James Roberts, researched Scottish independent brands. They encountered so much dedication, perseverance and taste, they decided to celebrate these individual brands in a publication. So here are the Scottish Vanguards, those who walk ahead of the mass. With just a small editorial team Hugo and James have come to create a wonderful small magazine. Very reasonably priced and printed in high-quality this Vanguards joins the other vanguards in the magazine field: extremely good publications which are very affordable.

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Loving Scotland as well and knowing quite a bit about the people and the heritage myself, I admire the content of this first issue. The beauty of products with a story and respect for the history of the process of the actual making is a strong concept. Not very new, but it’s all about how it’s done. It could be glossy and flat, but it’s the total opposite. The editors have taken their time to write their stories.

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The colourful cover by Edinburgh-based illustrator Jack Fletcher attracts attention. The interview with the daughter of textile designer Bernat Klein and the accompanying photo shoot is brilliant. About a house in the forest, that Shelley Klein inherited. Her story is moving and gives an in-depth view upon the work of the ground-breaking career of a man who wasn’t in the spotlight of fashion but whose patterns and designs were used by Chanel and Dior, to name a few.

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The story about the wool and knitting industry on the Shetland Islands and the business of Laurence Odie informs as much as it inspires. It is about the strong historical connection of island inhabitants with the industry and his adamant effort to keep commerce and culture together nowadays. It tells of gorgeous names for wool colours in the local language, because the English language isn’t adequate. I think my next Shetland jumper will be in Sheala... Sir Edmund Hillary was wearing a Shetland jumper while conquering the Himalaya mountains, and current brands like Margaret Howell work with Odie for their quality knitwear. This business is way beyond folklore, it is all about the business of the future.

Sustainable salmon does exist. In Scotland. Fish farming and wild fish are both debatable, but somehow a small Scottish farm called Loch Duart has managed to tackle most of the problems. An honest report from the Scottish freshwater.

And there’s rain in Scotland. Always, isn’t it? No, not always! But enough for Glaswegian chemist Charles Macintosh to try to produce a water resistant fabric in 1823. Over the years his business grew, and we now know it for the Mackintosh coats. Back in fashion now, and bought by a Japanese firm that strongly beliefs in the future of heritage. It suits the Japanese idea of ‘ iki’: timeless elegance.

There’s beer of course in this issue,  a strong brew from Inverness.

And leafing through this little gem you come across more vanguards in art and crafts, delicately combined with illustrations and photo’s. We hope they will make a new issue.

Order Vanguards #1 in our webshop here

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