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A Magazine Minus the Conventions

Amfi’s latest fashion magazine, Mint,  is set up like a guerilla company. Its launch doubles as its farewell party and marks the release of the strictly-limited 2000 copies that this year will reach select stores across Europe, the States and Australia. 

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 03-06-2009

Every year, 3rd and 4th year students at Amfi can sign up for a course in fashion magazines. Under the guidance of mentor and lecturer Frank Jurgen Wijlens, the students spend twenty weeks producing every facet of a real magazine.  This year it is called Mint and copies are scheduled to hit stores on the 26th June.

“They do it all themselves," Wijlens says.  "The original concept, all the content, the advertising, points of sale, a website, products and an event.  It's like reality school." Now in its 3rd cycle in this format, the magazine is breaking-even with a print run of 2000. Last year Colophon, the independent magazine symposium held in Luxembourg, invited Wijlens and his students to present as a success story.  

“Of course this is a ridiculous way to make a magazine,” he says.  “Everything has to be very last minute, and nobody is building on any experience, but that can also work as our strength. The students are very eager and not at all limited by conventions.”

Last year’s publication, Your Biggest Bang, focused on sustainability. Mint is more the anti-fashion edition and focuses on the very personal relationship people enjoy with their clothes.

The students (quite literally) let the clothes speak.  With a reliance on illustration (by Tara Dougans and stand-out Australian teenager Caitlin Shearer), features include “Girls and their Dresses,” a monologue by a dress to her potential owner; “Underneath It All," an article about the clothes that we probably should throw away, but can’t bear to part with, and “When Dad was Rad,” a photo feature of teenagers overlaid with transparent paper printed with pictures of their own parents as teenagers.  The contrast between the images is remarkably non-existent.  “The point might be that style is in your genes,” Wijlens says.

An abundance of white space and fine-line illustrations gives Mint the sort of whimsical atmosphere popular in the Japanese print industry. “I think this edition goes beyond aesthetics though,” Wijlens says.  “It is not about trends, but rather tells stories about clothes, which is something quite different for a fashion magazine.”

Accompanying the magazine launch are various products that will be available through the Mint website – a sun hat that zips closed into a clutch bag, an illustrated tote bag, and old glass frames bound with colourful thread that can be used as a belt or a necklace.

Mint has been a huge undertaking but one that Wijlens calls successful.  “I don't believe in kicking students,” he says of his method to get the best out of them.  “I’m different to those art school teachers you hear about who use a harsh approach to really break students down.  I believe in encouraging them to get good results.  Of course there are a few tears along the way because in this course they are playing for real.  There is no room for student errors. This is so much more than just an in-house student publication ...  It goes out to the world.” 

Cover illustration by
Tara Dougans
small from top -
Photographer: Monique Teunissen, production & styling Kara Hornland
Photography & styling: Robbie Augspurger
Illustration by Tara Dougans
Illustration by Allyson Melberg
Illustration by Patrick Gildersleeves

Illustration by Caitlin Shearer

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