Katie Grand
Episode
46

Katie Grand on Magazine-Making: “I like Observing Change”

Show Notes

Summary

Editor-in-chief, stylist, and creative consultant Katie Grand is renowned for her relentless creativity and influential contributions to the fashion and print industries. Born in the UK, Grand’s visionary approach propelled her to the forefront of fashion journalism, where she served as the editor-in-chief of renowned publications, such as POP, Conde Nast’s biannual Love magazine,and most recently Perfect. Her collaborations and innate ability to spot emerging talent landed her roles as a creative consultant for major fashion houses and solidified her status as a tastemaker. Long at the forefront of what’s contemporary and experimental, today, she continues to shape the landscape of contemporary fashion with a perspective that often upends the industry’s cyclical norms.

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Episode Highlights
  • Grand is a marathon runner; she sees fitness and endurance as ways to expand her interests outside of fashion.
  • She came into “nerdy” or “outsider” friendships in Birmingham, growing up ice skating and attending cultural events together; through this scene, she found out about publications like The Face and i-D.
  • Her father brought her to London as a child to shop.
  • What’s kept her on the pulse of the fashion world—from social media revenue to the evolution of print magazines—has been following her instincts and respecting when she finds herself feeling bored with something.
  • Grand talks about balancing the support of working under a big corporation with a need to collaborate with people who share her lack of rigidity and need for freedom.
  • She discusses the difference between magazines like Dazed, The Face, and i-D, biannuals, and monthlies, and working on different production timelines.
  • Grand cites putting Beth Ditto on the cover of Love as something akin to putting Kendall Jenner on a Marc Jacobs runway, in that both changed the industry dramatically and immediately.
  • Highly invested in social media engagement and quantitative measures of viewership, Grand notes that the evolution of print has been toward more and more careful renderings of the medium, down to the investment in paper quality.
  • Speaking about future generations in fashion, Grand remarks that she’s optimistic about their opportunities given social media’s reach but cautious and concerned about the use of AI cutting artists out of their work.
  • When asked what’s contemporary now, Grand says, “AI.”

Notable Quotes:

  • “I like observing change. There’s a Shaun Ryder quote, ‘Change is good; I just don’t like it.’ But, I think it’s important to meet new people, listen to people, and see what other people are doing, and be influenced by it or not be influenced by it. But there’s a choice there. Someone’s made you look at something differently.” —Katie Grand
  • “Even at Love, with the numbers that we had, we wouldn’t get celebrities unless there was print attached, and the same now, it still means something.”—Katie Grand
  • “I think I always had a lot of endurance for doing fashion shows. And it’s just, doing a marathon is the same endurance as working on a big show. They’re quite similar. I think you go into it with a similar mindset of—it’s a single-minded mindset.” —Katie Grand
  • “I think I always pretty much always followed my instincts. I’m not much of a five-year planner.” —Katie Grand
  • “When you’ve got your feet in youth culture, no matter how old you are, there’s a certain thing where you need to rejuvenate or you need to change. I think what I’ve always done with magazines is I’ve changed the title or where the office is or who’s publishing it. Those are the things that I’ve done for the last 30 years.” —Katie Grand
  • “I’m a great believer of, if you throw a lot of stuff at a wall, so having a voraciousness and the energy to be rejected, to ask ten people to do ten things and figuring that probably half of that will happen.” —Katie Grand
  • “Nothing’s ever failed. I think, you know, financially, magazine-wise, I’ve always kind of—they’ve always been financially successful, which was important to me. I never wanted to do something that was just neat that no one looked at.” —Katie Grand
  • “London and New York, they’re at similar places with inclusivity. And generally, if you go out to a fashion event, it’s a very varied group of people that are sat around a table.” —Katie Grand
  • On having long-term teams: “Especially when you actively want to work with new people, I think it’s quite nice to have that safety net of, my art director I’ve worked with since The Face, Murray Healy, who’s my senior editor, I’ve worked with since The Face. It just means that everything’s very easy walking into a room doing production when there’s a lot of fragile egos involved, or there’s just a lot of work and hours involved.” —Katie Grand
  • “I’ve always said when people have said, ‘What’s your least favorite period of time?’ I always say ‘the future.’” —Katie Grand
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