Edited by Hillary Frazier
(photos by Kris Kidd)
Four months ago a bunch of my favorite people to follow on Twitter were filling up my feed with news of a new magazine. ‘Check out @clichemagazine!’ so I did. I headed over to the site and saw the clean format of their first issue with Cody Kennedy on the cover, and started e-flipping through to pages, reading articles, and seeing photos from some of my favorite photographers. From then on, I became a huge fan of Cliché, an online magazine based out of California that publishes monthly, and features spreads and content that you aren’t going to find anywhere else on the web, or at any store, for that matter. I continued to check back monthly to see Brittany Flickinger on the cover, and an entirely green issue, all complete with great feature stories, interviews, street style photos, and spreads from the Cliché staff; but then I realized: outside of the photographers I already follow, I have no idea who is behind this magazine.
Naturally, I scoured the internet to figure things out and found the editor-in-chief’s name, Jeremy Fall, and I made one of those emails to a general address to try and get ahold of Jeremy in order to figure out just what goes on behind the scenes at Cliché. After long chains of emails and iChat conversations, Jeremy and I have grown to be great friends (I’ve even heard him talk on the phone in French…it’s actually his first language), and I’ve learn that Cliché is definitely a magazine that is here to stay, and here to join Fashion Indie’s digital revolution by creating the ‘print is dead’ campaign.
See what Jeremy had to say on the start and growth of Cliché, and why the internet is way better than Condé Nast:
FASHIONINDIE: Where were you at before Cliché?
JEREMY FALL: Before starting Cliché, I had an event production & artist management agency in LA called Mad City Entertainment. I started with that when I was sixteen, and we mainly produced all ages events in clubs around the city and represented artists from around the world. I also organized private events on the side ranging from fashion shows to corporate events to birthdays.
FI: Once you got the idea (and how did that even happen?), where did you go next?
JF: No one ever believes me when I answer this question, but I got the idea for Cliché at 5 AM when I couldn’t sleep. I suddenly felt the need to take on another project and always thought that there weren’t many magazines out there that take a completely different approach to their themes. I was looking through a few issues the other day at Barnes & Noble and found one with an “up and coming talent” theme. The issue consisted of 100 little biographies of people that no one has ever heard of, and it just seemed like the creators were crossing their fingers that at least one person of their choice would someday blow up and give them credibility. As for Cliché, I’m not saying that we don’t go for up and coming talent, I think that’s great, we just prefer showing different things in our issues. For example, in our July rising stars issue, we also showed a merging city, growing hotels, different types of designers, etc.. Sorry I might be getting a little off topic, to answer your second question, once I had the idea for the mag I immediately started looking for photographers and writers over the Internet and through people that I knew. This was probably the hardest part and I admit that I didn’t have any experience in creating magazines. It took about a month to completely assemble our team and then we started creating issues. The name was an easy pick for me, with my French heritage (where the é comes from), but also because I promised myself the magazine would be anything BUT a Cliché…meaning, the only thing Cliché about it would be the name (ha ha ha).
FI: Is this something you always wanted to do?
JF: Being the editor-in-chief of a magazine was something that I had never thought of doing. I’ve always had a passion for management and when everything started coming together, I fell in love with the idea.
FI: Did you anticipate it would grow so quickly?
JF: A lot of people ask me that too actually, and honestly I really didn’t expect this at all. I’m so grateful for all of our readers and the attention that Cliché’s been getting. I had projected around 100,000 readers monthly by January 2010 thinking that I was crazy for aiming so high, and we’re at over 600,000 monthly now. I definitely think that it’s not done growing yet and that there are still many improvements to be made.
FI: Where do you plan to take Cliché, assuming it continues to grow exponentially in viewers?
JF: I never say never but I really don’t think that we’ll ever become a printed magazine. In 10 years, glossy magazines will be considered luxurious items and everyone else will have theirs available online. The way technology’s growing right now, it would be surprising if the Internet didn’t take over printed publications, but you can never know, that’s just my opinion.
FI: Do you think you’ll ever switch to a daily update format, or just stick with the monthly issue?
JF: Actually, we’re in the process of integrating a blog called Kitsch on our site to give a more “frequent update format”. This should be out soon and we really want to give our fans a more personal feel and interaction with who’s behind the mag. The goal right now is to make it daily, we’re just figuring out if that’s going to start right away. As far as the issues, those will remain monthly.
FI: We love you for it, but why jump on the ‘print is dead’ bandwagon? And why did you decide to turn your magazine entirely ‘green’?
JF: (laughs) The “print is dead” bandwagon, like I said earlier, is something that’s really growing exponentially. I honestly don’t see what the point of printing is aside from making it “look pretty”. I mean, I do agree on the fact that holding a mag in your hands on the plane or at the dentist is a nice feeling (when its a good publication) but in the end, the result is the same as when it’s online. In a few years from now, you won’t remember how nice it was to flip the pages, but how interesting an article was. Whether you read it online or on paper, you retain information the same way. Sometimes it is scary to see how technology is quickly taking over, but we also can’t live in the past when new mediums are being developed everyday. If you still don’t agree with me, take a look at how blogs have grown and how you mostly read the news online now, or how you’re sending e-mail more than paper letters, or how you text instead of sending notes (for high schoolers), or how you’re reading this interview on Fashion Indie. The list goes on and on and on.
FI: How do you decide on a theme for each month?
JF: Honestly this might really sound cliche but I really get inspired from anything that happens around me! I know that everyone always says that but its seriously true in my case. I don’t sit in a field pondering for hours but themes come to me at random times throughout the day. Usually it starts when I’m reminded of a topic that interests me a lot and then I develop it from there and find a way to turn it into an issue. It can get hard sometimes, but I try to think ahead.
FI: Tell us a bit about the rest of your staff, you’ve got some younger talent working for you, do you think young people are taking over the industry?
JF: Our staff for the most part is pretty young. I definitely think that we are taking over the industry and feel like the generations to come will start even younger.
FI: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with?
JF: I truly think that every single person I work with strongly contributes to the mag. Now, I’m not just saying this because they’re going to be reading this interview, but honestly everyone has helped a lot. Its actually really cool because the team that you see now was built really quickly, most people have been around since day one.
One of the best additions to our crew was definitely Dirk Mai (www.dirkmai.com), one of our main photographers. He’s an amazing artist and one of the best people to work with. You’ll find his work throughout every single issue that we’ve done so far and I honestly believe that Cliché wouldn’t be what it is today without his contribution.
FI: What has been your favorite part about this experience?
JF: My favorite part about this experience is seeing the number of readers grow and communicating and being able to directly communicate with them. I do as much as I can to be in contact with our fans and love hearing feedback, that’s really the only way to get better.
FI: What are some of your favorite magazines?
JF: I actually didn’t read many magazines before starting mine. If I had to pick one to read for the rest of my life, it’d have to be Vanity Fair. The reason being that it’s probably the most intelligent mag available in the US and the photography you find is truly amazing. I also read Nylon monthly and open GQ when I stumble upon it.
FI: If Condé Nast offered to print Cliché, but you had to give them full ownership of it and would only collect royalties, would you?
JF: I would never do that, it would completely negate everything I just said in this interview, and make me look like an idiot.
FI: You’ve got 1 hour until stores close and $500 dollars to spend, where do you head first?
JF: I’d probably head to a restaurant first to eat, and then with whatever I have left head to Alexander McQueen (my favorite designer).
FI: Any secrets you can give away?
JF: I can’t really say anything except for the fact that we’re going to be getting better and better. We have our new site launching very soon, created by my wonderful web designer Michael Gramling (http://www.thevintageskeleton.com), new amazing writers and photographers. You’ll have to take a look to see what I mean. I’m also working on building my own social networking platform outside of the magazine, so keep a look out for that, too.
And that’s what you should do! Check out the new issue of Cliché that is out TODAY on their site, see the new webisode on Cliché TV, and follow them, and Jeremy Fall on Twitter to keep updated on their world takeover(I smell a blog coming soon??!).