Fashion in print is on the move and proving that is Ukranian-based magazine Playing Fashion.
With its roots starting from LiveJournal as well (playingfashion), Playing Fashion
has been a must-read even back in 2008 when it was just starting out. But now looking at
the magazine, the past and present are quite incomparable. The magazine now features
girls like Olga Sherer, Alla Kostromichova, Viktoriya Sasonkina and Jacqueeta Wheeler
as well as always propelling young up-and-coming talent from photographers and stylists,
including Viktor Gluschenko who does the magazine's layout. Created and led by 18-year-old
Robert Mishchenko, the magazine has grown in many ways, similar to one reaching adulthood.
In this exclusive interview with Noir Façade, Mishchenko recalls how he got started in
this industry, as well as the allure of the content he produces. With Playing Fashion
now expanding its arms to the US, the magazine projects talent and proves the internet is
only a starting point for something divine.
NOIR FAÇADE: Robert, tell us a little about Playing Fashion. At
18-years-old you are the editor of an internationally renowned
and successful fashion magazine. How did you come so far at an age
where most youth in fashion are still trying to sneak into shows?
ROBERT MISHCHENKO: Well… Though I started at 15, I have always known
that I am interested in fashion and that I want to work in fashion.
First it was design and drawing, which were a true passion of mine.
Then, at 13, buying my first fashion magazine, I realized that I
won’t be the next Nicolas Ghesquière or John Galliano and I switched
to my role as an editor, which at that time was really popular,
because of the movie The Devil Wears Prada – a true dream for a
guy, who lives in a small city scarce of luxury.
I started a blog called “Playing Fashion - the online fashion magazine”.
Every month, I worked with my editorial staff on blog posts of different
themes. A year later, we released PF as an online magazine at
playingfashion.com. The issue was pretty successful, even though it
looked really amateur.
Then, I went to Moscow, just as a tourist and on my first day, my
friends, the amazing Russian photographers Maxim Repin and Nikita Manin
took me to a fashion show. Nina Donis F/W 2009 show for them was nothing
special, but for me – a real happening. I saw all these people from
the fashion magazine. I met Aliona Doletskaya, I met Svetlana Tanakina
– an amazing Russian stylist and L’Officiel Russia’s fashion director.
It was all so mesmerizing that from there I hadn’t got any doubt about
what I want to do in my life.
Four months later, we released the pilot issue of Playing Fashion in
Kyiv. That was July 2009. Then, the following November, the first
official issue is born. That was the first time I finally felt that
I am working in fashion and that I am a part of the industry.
The evolution of Playing Fashion.
Playing Fashion is one of the few original Ukranian fashion
magazines, and is bi-lingual. Is that because you want the publication
to stick to its roots?
I am from Sevastopol - a tourist city near the Black Sea, but I live
in Kyiv now. And the magazine is published in Kyiv. The idea of
making PF bilingual was in the air for about a year, because we have
always had a very positive feedback online. And people from Europe
and US asked where they can buy the magazine, but for me the question
was not about buying but reading. So in November 2010 we started
working on the first bilingual edition. Today, we are the one and
only Ukrainian fashion publication to be bilingual and selling abroad.
How important do you believe Russia’s fashion influence is?
Slavic influence on fashion is huge. There are a lot of designers,
stylists, photographers and editors, who get their inspiration from
Russia - from its power and rich history.
Who would a typical Playing Fashion reader be?
I think anyone interested in fashion. One, who does not follow fashion.
One, who doesn’t need the dictation of what to wear and buy.
Would you say the magazine is more image or article based?
Fashion is definitely more visual. That’s why the format of the
magazine is in A3. So, yes, it’s more image based.
What do you believe separates Playing Fashion from
I believe PF is less commercial in comparison to all the other
fashion magazines here in Ukraine. And we are the only fashion
magazine of its kind in the post-Soviet states working with leading
young photographers from all over the world, shooting the best
models and producing competitive content against other big publications.
Is there a certain “look” that best embodies the magazine?
An interesting question. Let me choose our March cover of Denisa
Dvorakova wearing Prada. It is playful, but still there is a huge
amount of work behind this look – the pose, the hair, the makeup.
When you look at it, it all looks so simple, but it is tough work
for the team.
A lot of magazines feature celebrity profiles in photoshoots.
Do you see Playing Fashion heading in a more mainstream
PF has always been about fashion, even when we feature celebrities.
We had Poppy Delevigne and Amber Le Bon. They are celebrities, but
they have a strong link to the industry. Maybe because they are less
mainstream than Britney or Kylie, they are more suitable for us.
And this is the direction we are going to follow.
Your casting has varied from a variety of different girls
including Alla Kostromicheva and Poppy Delevigne. When picking
your cover girls, what kind of girl(s) do you look for?
We always look for personality, whether it is style, like in
Poppy’s case or unique strong beauty, like in Alla’s case.
With your reach and sales now expanding to the US, what more
can we expect from the magazine?
Fashion! It will definitely be something big, interesting and cool.