Thursday, March 28, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

My preview copy of The Hunger's Rita Ora cover
Rankin is a hard man to keep up with, seemingly spinning a million different projects at once. One of them is The Hunger, his monster-sized biannual magazine full of fashion and everything you need to know about the cultural zeitgeist, from high to low. For example, in the new issue there are articles on Topman, Phillip Schofield, photojournalism in Botswana , erotic jewellery designer Betony Vernon and copper artist Alice Anderson. Talk about variety.

Phillip Schofield and Abbey Clancy in a whole new light in The Hunger
Disparity is no bad thing but there is actually a very strong theme which runs through the latest issue of The Hunger, that is, for want of a less Spice Girly phrase, Girl Power. In fact, the name of the issue is Girls Girls Girls, which sums it up pretty succinctly.  It features some of the most prominent young women in music today on 7 different covers including Rita Ora, Grimes and Jessie J.  Rankin begins his editors letter saying:

"Over the last year or so, I had begun to notice a pattern emerging in film and fashion, but most notably in music; where people (most obviously, young women) were taking control of their creative lives and output in a way I hadn't seen before".

All this echoes one of the main themes of Beyonce's interview in The Gentlewoman, which I wrote about last week. It's definitely happening, but The Hunger's issue properly records it by shouting about it. The notion of a female singer being a bit gobby and controversial is hardly new, in fact it's what plenty of the best built their brand on, think Madonna and Spice Girls. As Rankin observes though, there's a whole new level of outspokenness open to today's big players; "the new mediation definitely has a lot to do with social media, but also a great deal to do with being born into this era. This wave of young women know that they are individuals" he writes.

Crystal Renn frolicking on the beach with  a shark for The Hunger
I think those go hand in hand. Surely a big part of the reason we now all feel like our opinions are valued and matter is that social media has made a commodity of them? When I look at my Facebook thread and see inane posts about someone's disappointing sandwich, I understand that everyone knows their view matters which is definitely something to celebrate, even if we do have to put up with those annoyances. What Ora, Jessie J et al do so so well is using social media to their advantage and building a brand and identity from it which links them directly to their fans. Doing that well is no easy feat, just look at Azealia Banks who was so hot not so long ago and now seems to have pissed off so many people with her controversial tweets. There's a line. But if you work it to your advantage, it pays off. As Gabrielle Aplin puts, quite simply, in her interview "I still have all control" while Grimes explains "I directed all the videos; did all the album art; wrote and produced all the songs. To a degree, I was aware of the fact I was playing the game, but that's part of the fun, I guess". Girls doing it for themselves.

Great fashion in The Hunger
The shoot with Crystal Renn ties up the spirit of the issue into a powerful visual message. Renn, as you probably know, is the supermodel who has been all body shapes from plus size to miniscule average model. Now she looks like she's at a happy medium (though you should never assume you know how someone feels from the size of their body). She appears in bikinis on a beach in Malibu with lots of huge inflatable animals. She and The Hunger team decided to give her images only minimal retouching so that her thighs look, well, normal. Slim and toned, but definitely not impossibly skinny. Very refreshing indeed.

The Hunger issue 4 is out on 4th April

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