outI was really excited about Sleaze (the relaunched Sleazenation) - although it's "anti-consumerist," "anti-celebrity" stance sounded a bit bombastic (who am I to judge?), it was nonetheless executed with a joyfully cheeky brit sensibility and ferocious adherence to style. It only lasted 3 issues, but had the hottest covers on the rack. Though completely modern, the covers harkened back to a distant time long, long ago when a cover was actually composed thoughtfully - not just littered with ugly cover-lines.

Beautiful Sleaze

Sleaze is really rocking me out right now. It is by far the best designed, most fun to read style magazine of the moment. It seems to be doing what others posture to do – embracing a true DIY, ‘zine aesthetic, while still being highly refined. The ‘zine influence got hardcore in the 90’s, but most mags had lost their way, like Sleazenation. They pantomimed the look, but forgot the true ethos. Sleazenation did what most cool mags SHOULD do – they scrapped it all and started over with Sleaze. Magazines have a very limited shelf life for capturing a zeitgeist – lets face it, Rolling Stone should have ended at the very latest in 1979. The Face should have called it quits at the very latest in 1995. Sleazenation realized their time had passed; now they’re creating the future zeitgeist. Sleaze is post (faux) irony – we can still want stuff, enjoy fashion and pop culture: but enough is enough, lets make a side note and get real; let’s not be manipulated by gross materialism. Let’s actually believe in something.

Sleaze merges style and content effortlessly, like a fabulous drag queen who has a lot to say, and says it well. Without a doubt, the May issue has the best cover I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s graphically beautiful, slick – yet totally raw and punk. It says everything about the magazine. A true aesthetic masterpiece.

Sleaze limits blurbs and eschews portraits on their covers. This is a classic design choice, but in today’s market, it’s revolutionary. Issue #3, “Work Sucks,” is a true graphic punch among the over-styled celebrities, lithe models and dreary typography we are presently bombarded with. However, Sleaze still cares about the power of glamour – observe the model’s perfectly manicured, jungle-red nails. This isn’t just some smelly, dull ‘anarchist’ saying “Work Sucks,” This is a fabulous, put together young woman, whose beauty is being put to waste. Not only must she be relegated to a fluorescent-lit cubicle, an ugly dirty beige/cream monitor dominates her workstation. Office work dominates and destroys beauty, not only through the banality of tasks, but also through the oppression of environment. It is not enough for a fabulous person to “fuck shit up;” The object of her oppression must be transformed into a thing of beauty through its well-lit, artfully composed destruction.

Cover blurbs are arranged as a classic grid in a digital typeface that seemed passé retro last year, but is now perfectly re-cast, seemingly as an afterthought on a neon international orange sticker - visually reminiscent of a Kinko’s photocopied flyer. This sticker shows a healthy disrespect for the slickness of the magazine, which underlies all editorial content. This is what makes Sleaze a masterpiece of design as well as an adroit cultural observer: idea is king. There is a philosophy behind the look; it isn’t just about arranging elements to look cool or about being practical. The old argument of form vs. content is irrelevant; at Sleaze, they are the same.

Comments (4)

It lasted for 4 issues, you should have seen the last one.. major dud, boring boring. But it did have a remarkable cover.

That's sad, Sad Blog. The problem is... nothing good ever lasts.

If you're wondering what Sleaze did next. You could try seeking out copies of the just as excellent 'Good For Nothing' which a free magazine for 'young londoners' which lasted for only 8 issues before folding (you can see some cover images here: http://nmca.boico.net/nmca_goodfornothing.htm ). Since then the Sleazenation team has been scattered all over the magosphere. Designer Patrick Duffy went onto Full Moon Empty Sports Bag (http://www.fullmoonemptysportsbag.com/), you can find other members of the Sleaze gang over at Super Super (http://www.thesupersuper.com/). Sleaze's nearest relation is possibly the new magazine for kids, Anarok (http://www.anorak-magazine.co.uk/).

Yeah, Good for nothing was just that... But even so, they know how to make a great cover, maybe that's about it. Sleazenation won awards for their edgy outstanding cover designs but the content got so washed down and boring towards its end. Sad, wonder what they'll try and come up next.

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