Proper is the love-child of it’s two editors, Neil and Mark, and very much the product of their shared experiences and interests. Definitely a work in progress, each issue a bit better than the last. As they describe it themselves, it’s a publication centred on clothes, not fashion. Not only clothes though, throw in music, culture and seemingly random topics. I suspect the intended audience for the magazine is men a little like themself (and I’m going out on a limb here), grown up children of the early 90’s Madchester scene. I’m sure I’ll be promptly corrected on several social mediums if I’m very mistaken!
Issues may have an overall theme (most recently Hikerdelia and Surfing), or just be a collection of whatever material was available or what they fancied wiring about. There is a clear obsession with clothes and shoes, and certain brands thereof, so if you’re at least partially aligned with their taste you’ll find material of interest here.
Issue 12 delved deep into the lads fascination with Hikerdelia, i.e. hiking and outdoor gear, mainly of the more vintage and collectable sort. Not everyone’s Thermos of milky coffee maybe, but there are plenty of other articles to read apart from the main theme, such as an interview with the creator of Folk clothing, Oak Street Bootmakers, Hickoree’s etc. Plus an article on the Italian Paninaro movement that so influenced the clothing style of a certain group of British men (a movement that incidentally appeared to adore the worst of 80’s British pop music).
The current issue, the freshly off the press #13 is the big surfing issue. Surfing? British surfing? Seriously? Well, apparently so. And not a terrible topic either, mainly due to it being so unexpected. While not something I’m normally that interested in, I’m always interested in hearing about people doing things Different To The Norm, and this issue is better on the actual reading material than previous issues. A magazine like that has to be more than a 5-minute browse for it to be worth the money, and I think that in this respect it’s the best issue yet. Throw in a interview with the legendary music producer/artist Andrew Weatherall, including a most excellent collection of photos him taken in the Vintage Showroom.
For me though, the best bits are the “Coming of age” stories, which are quite evocative, real and from a time I can relate to myself (I’m guessing I’m around the same age as the editors, as we have a fair amount of common references). This also reminded me that I was sort of there myself, as a student in Manchester in the early 90’s, standing next to 808 State at the Hacienda etc.
The worst piece in this issue is probably the return of Our Legacy for a new interview only two issues after the previous one. The lack of substance illustrates perfectly how hard it is to get clothes designers to actually say anything of any importance or interest (like sports interviews really). I’m not really singling out Our Legacy here, as they’re clever enough Swedish guys (I have a couple of their shirts), they just aren’t very interesting. Someone like Tokihito Yoshida, who was interviewed in #11 is a little more interesting. Thankfully this text doesn’t take up a major portion of the magazine, and even in these articles there can be photos of interest.
All in all, a proper read and content you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
Worth noting is also that they have a quite busy website, with lots of material that doesn’t make the magazine. Find it at www.propermag.com