Where West Meets East: Elsewhere is a new, free English and Chinese zine, covering cutting-edge fashion and providing a platform for creatives
The internet is an amazing tool we often take for granted as a way to serendipitously discover new information about the global creative community. During a recent and serious image search session for yet another report, an amazing bilingual and free (score!) English and Chinese zine popped up on the radar with some serious insider content about up-and-coming brands and creatives.
As our newest must read we got in touch with Editor-in-Chief Istvan Szucs for the lowdown about Elsewhere magazine.
How and when did elsewhere magazine get started?
Istvan: I already had this idea back in 2013 after spending some time in China to start an independent zine providing a different platform for creatives to build a bridge between the west and the east. There was not much planning involved, because then I would have figured out all those obstacles that China provides for publications and probably elsewhere would be nowhere.
How did you come up with the name?
Istvan: I was going through my folders of creative ideas on my computer and bumped into this file that had my handwritten version of the word ‘elsewhere’. Then I put some thoughts into it and figured it would make such a great name for a magazine.
It stands for the concept of the magazine: digital, having different team members from different places of the world, content being created in every part of the world. Everything happens elsewhere.
Also my story is kind of representing this: a Hungarian guy ending up in China, starting a magazine in English and Chinese from scratch with zero funding…doesn’t happen too often.
Who is currently part of the core content team?
Istvan: Our core team consists of David Yang (@d.avidyang), the Managing Editor; Annachiara Biondi (@instapini_) and Deak Rostochil (@thevelvetscientist), Fashion Editors; Hebe Chen (@hebemaybe), Chinese Editor; Summer Yeh (@someryeh), Marketing Executive and Moran Chen (@mungchan), graphic designer and myself.
Everyone in the team has their own full time occupation / studies and is working on several other projects besides this, but they are the dream team for me without whom the issues wouldn’t be happening.
How do you develop the theme for each issue?
Istvan: It depends on what we’d like to work on. We throw in some ideas and then pick the one that moves the team. For us it’s really important to love what we do so we wouldn’t want to have a theme that comes from something that we don’t feel inspired by. For example, our latest issue, MEGA was the idea of Annachiara who suggested to do a theme about urbanism and us, humans interacting with metropolises.
Also, giving it to different people in the team to come up with a theme is a good way to make that person feel that it’s his or her own baby a bit more than the others.
Of course me, as a ‘mother’ I’m always there to help guide them, but I like to give creative freedom within the limits of our principles and concept that sets our direction.
Our next theme is not figured yet, as we are trying to turn the magazine into a biannual version…like a coffee table book: strongly curated, high-quality content with a cool yet clean layout. We are seeking funding for that, so let’s see.
Who reads the magazine?
Istvan: We are targeting those cool kids who are fashion forward, culturally conscious and curious. They want to know a bit more about China’s creative and cultural scene.
Our 5 main countries of readership are the UK, China, the States, Hong Kong and France. It is because we interact with creatives the most from these locations.
We want to keep this edgy, raw and real tone with our issues because we believe that’s what missing from the Chinese market.
Where do you plan to take the free digital zine? Is a commercial project or a love project?
Istvan: I started it out of passion. No commercial purposes as I’m more a creative person than a business man. Although after all these years now we are starting to reach out to brands and try to engage with long term collaborations that could be financially beneficial.
After our latest issue we are doing some updates with the website to be more dynamic and user friendly. We have some great ideas how we could be monetised yet innovative in the market amongst those big glossy magazines.