Alastair McKimm on Celebrating i-D Magazine’s 40 Years of Legacy

LONDON — I-D magazine, a pioneer of youth culture, releases a special edition on Wednesday to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The issue comes with seven different covers and a limited-edition hardback version featuring artwork by graffiti artist Futura 2000 on the cover, to be released later this year.

The seven covers feature duos of certain relationships: Kendrick Lamar and his mentee Baby Keem; boundary-defying pop icons from different generations Björk and Arca; mother-daughter model duo Kristen and Lily McMenamy; Ned Sims photographed by his father, and long time collaborator of the magazine David Sims; contributing editor and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser and her younger siblings Sage and Ama.

The remaining two covers feature creative duo Willy Vanderperre and Olivier Rizzo’s re-creation of one of i-D’s most memorable covers from The Inspiration Issue, February 2001, and Steffan from Nigel Shafran’s “Teenage Precinct Shoppers” series, a previously unpublished cover from 1990.

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He aims to highlight the ideas of community, family, mentorship, cross-generational conversations and the philosophy of “learn and pass it on” with the issue.

“It’s like each one teaches one, where it’s very much about the Establishment shining a light on a new generation,” he said. “That’s why when it came to the cover stories for this issue, I wanted to focus on cover stars from the past, with cover stars from the present and the future.”

McKimm said he loves the idea of having multiple people on the covers as “it feels like we’re also kind of isolated and it’s really nice to see that kind of real-life aspect of what it stands for, especially in 2020 and especially at this time.”

The issue has been a work in progress all year long. He got in touch with Terry and Tricia Jones, founders of the magazine, in January to discuss preliminary ideas for the celebration.

​Bj​ö​rk, and ​Arca​ on the cover of i-D magazine’s 40th-anniversary issue. Courtesy

“I wanted to give them enough time to consider if we could collaborate on a project together. So, that conversation with Terry and Tricia was like reimagining the archives through Terry’s eyes in his tabletop collages. That sort of inspired the whole section of the magazine — 40 Winks — a truly iconic journey through i-D’s 40-year history that inspired the entire archive section of the issue,” he said.

The 65-page archive portfolio also features a series of unpublished imagery from photographers Tyrone Lebon, Mark Lebon, Nigel Shafran, Jason Evans, and Takashi Homma, and conversations between McKimm and Jane How; Simon Foxton​ and Elgar Johnson, who began his styling career as Foxton’s assistant, and Adwoa Aboah and ​i-D’s former editor in chief ​Holly Shackleton ​on collaborating together for i-D’s ​The Female Gaze Issue​ in 2016, and a tribute to the late Judy Blame by Juergen Teller and Kim Jones.

McKimm is proud to see that i-D has become a cultural establishment over the years, and has evolved into a modern media company with a presence in print and digital.

“We’re not a magazine anymore. I-D is a media company and we really try to do our best to balance everything out across the board, whether it’s social, digital, or magazine,” he said.

As an employee of the magazine for 20 years, working his way up from an assistant under Edward Enninful, McKimm has spent half of his life at i-D. He used to read the magazine in Nottingham, where he went to university to study fashion design, and he has collected every issue since the first copy he bought after leaving Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1997.

A limited-edition hardback version of i-D magazine’s 40th-anniversary issue featuring artwork by New York graffiti artist ​Futura 2000. Coutresy

“From the first moment I saw the magazine, I really related to it because it spoke to me much more than any other magazine. I was like an 18-year-old kid who was into skating, surfing, hip-hop, punk and street culture. I could see kids in the magazine that looked like me, it wasn’t all like high-fashion models and it wasn’t the glitz and glamour you would see in your mom’s fashion magazine,” he said.

He loved it so much that when he graduated, working for i-D became his mission of life. “I didn’t even think it could be possible to have this position because I was only able to predict that, like, one day I would be able to do a 10-page fashion story in i-D. That was really my last career goal,” he added.

Fast-forward to today: I-D is in a different position to influence a new younger generation worldwide. After being acquired by Vice in 2012, the magazine has expanded into 11 international editions and launched i-D Asia, a dedicated channel to celebrate fashion, culture, identity and youth in Asia.

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