Zine Creamers: Dis Magazine
Exploring the hyper-arty, contrary webzine doing its best to work a mildly disturbing aesthetic.
DIS magazine is a hyper-arty, contrary webzine doing its best to work a mildly disturbing aesthetic. The trend section is called Distaste, the beauty section Dysmorphia, and there's a review section called Discussion. Unlike the vast majority of zines out there, DIS are actually trying to spearhead new fashions, from accessorising with nipple clamps through Z-CoiL shoes and Under Armour sports clothing. Shoots feature tween girls with what looks like chemo-induced balding, albinos, and planking. Best of all, the mag is a fantastic encyclopedia of interesting names we've never heard of before but might be profiling and working with soon, eh? Most disturbing of all, they ran with the Tevas-and-socks-might-be-sexy-almost zeitgeist and published the pics. The magazine is run on communal lines and they would only answer our questions communally too.
VICE: How did DIS come to be, and who is it?
DIS staff: DISmagazine.com launched in March 2010. DIS operates as an entity rather than a group of individuals but at the core of the collaboration is Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, Nick Scholl, and David Toro, but also includes a revolving-door cast of friends within and beyond the worlds of art, fashion, music, and technology.
“DIS” is a simplification of our earlier idea for a magazine in which every issue was a different dis-word and the inaugural issue was to be called Distaste. But, as things developed, we realized that the word didn’t quite reflect the scope of ideas and lifestyle expressions we were trying to explore and we kept finding ourselves talking about things like dystopia, dysmorphia, discussion, and then it just sort of struck us that we were dealing with a larger concept that was able to absorb and reapply a lot of content, like a sponge, and when we wrung it out, we were left with DIS, which is both a platform for an attitude towards product and image-making. It was strange—but ultimately incredibly helpful—to arrive at a prefix instead of starting with it.
The DIS staff sent this by way of explanation:
1 in verbs : to do the opposite of ▪ disagree ▪ disappear ▪ disapprove
2 in nouns: opposite or absence of ▪ disbelief ▪ discomfort ▪ distaste
3 in adjectives : not ▪ disagreeable ▪ disconnected ▪ disinterested"
Like the prefix, DIS is oppositional. In the beginning, it appeared that DIS would operate solely in the negative but as we grew we realized more and more that we wanted to offer alternatives and open doors.
Why is rebellion so important?
Rebellion isn't as important to us as questioning value systems. We want to raise issues and raise a voice against the prevailing ideas. We hope that DIS the zine and DIS the attitude can be something constructive.
Dis Summer Trends from their New Style Options section.
What have been your most constructive features?
Our Best and Worst are always pretty constructive. We like to do more than diss. We try to offer constructive criticism and suggest positive alternatives to disappointing collections. Our New Style Options section is devoted to that idea. It’s our ‘fashion’ section and it’s geared towards creating trends that are not necessarily market-driven.
Who else is disturbing in a positive way right now?
Multi-tiered marketing companies i.e., Herbalife, bodybuilders, tweens, CJ Fam, eBay photographers,The Sharpay Evans D-Signed Clothing Line exclusively for Target, Ce-web-rities, Ghetto Gothik, Miami.
Can you guys name your favorite shoots in DIS and tell us what you liked about them?
Our seasonal Trends features are always full of our friends, high-energy, voluntarism, and new style options. Recently, we went to Miami to shoot the all tween cast of Ryan Trecartin’s The Re'Search for a summer trends story we titled Best Tweens Forever.
Shoes in Shoes went really viral. Whether it's loafers in sandals or heels in boots, we say if the shoe in shoe fits, wear it. Martha Rosler commented, “Some people make revolutions, some feed the hungry, and others wear four shoes at once.” We loved that!
Shoulder Dysmorphia, Lanvin.
And if they're not the five most obviously disturbing/different can you list those and what you like about them?
Shoulder Dysmorphia—spring 2010—was a critique of the obsession with extreme shoulder shapes. We worked with an incredible post-production house to recreate the shoulder trends using the flesh and bones of our models.
While in Miami we visited the Fort Lauderdale home of 11-year-old former Ark Music factory star, CJ Fam. We filmed her singing half a dozen Top 40 hits. We quickly found out how inappropriate the lyrics, or maybe more so the messages, of these pop songs were for an 11-year-old. It was weird. That story was called Tweengirl FAMtasy.
Way back, we commissioned the NY-based jewelry label
Faux/Real to make a line of nipple clamp jewelry for a DIS editorial. The models, who happened to be albino, went through 8 hours of clamped nipple agony.
Trent Reznor on the cover of Issue 3 of STOP Magazine.
Where there any magazines that influenced what you've done with DIS?
STOP Magazine was very influential when we were forming what DIS would become. STOP was created by Walt Cessna in 1990. It was a fashion magazine but it was very disruptive. For one, it was funny—it didn’t take itself too seriously. They didn’t use models in their editorials, they used friends and New York characters. They reviewed designers like Andre Walker, as well as bigger labels like Donna Karen, but the reviews could be scathing. Also, early Coagula was pretty cutting. Just ripping the art world apart. Both art and fashion suffer from the same self-admiration and aggrandizement and Coagula and STOP kind of shut them down, in a way. MAX, which was another great early 90s magazine but from LA, was really amusing. It was full of portrait studio photography, but there was a weird fusion of amateur and professional qualities. Colors was, and kind of still is, amazing. With the tagline A Magazine About the Rest of the World, it really did serve to broaden the spectrum of multiculturalism. It was revealing how people live through images and the sparest amount of text and, more often, just pure statistics and graphs. Also 70s and 80s High Times. We love catalogs and magalogs - particularly J.Crew and International Male.
Which designers are the most DIS?
This season, Dirk Bikkembergs sent out towels, Olympic-style onesie swimwear, elongated goggles as necklaces, and anti-bacterial slides— he really goes deep with his lifestyle concepts. Christopher Kane is right on Miuccia's chunky heels. He is amazing at fusing a 7th Avenue wholesale aesthetic with highly sexualised luxury evening wear. Of course, we’ve always been huge fans of BLESS, Ann Sofie Back, and TELFAR, but lately it’s been all about Christian Audigier.
How did you guys come together?
Find out by watching Hooper Place, our scripted docu-reality soap.
How can anyone alive not get the if-it's-essentially-good-but-been-out-of-style-forever-then-it's gonna-come-right-back thing?
Fashion is cyclical to the extreme. Mod seems to come back every four years, but we’re not so sure that’s a good thing. It’s way more interesting to layer and modify styles. You can do 60s in a really 90s way that still reads NOW and isn’t nostalgic or obvious, but is just gross, grosser than gross, and that’s a real good thing.
Fashion lacks enfant terribles, why doesn't it encourage them?
Of course fashion does encourage them, the enfant terrible reaffirms the idea of genius and the aura of the author. It’s a fast way of increasing the price of the commodities. But really, the enfant terrible role - that of early McQueen or Galliano - is essentially over. An over the top, obvious spectacle isn’t as effective as it once was. Today it’s not about being the most sculptural or controversial. Those gestures of grandeur are over.
Tell us more about your contributors Aids 3D?
They’re really good dancers.
Culturally, who are your fellow travelers right now?
Lizzie Fitch, Fatima al Qadiri, Ryan Trecartin, Brad Troemel, HD Boyz, Chris Kasper, Mykki Blanco, Yemenwed, Heidi Montag, Physical Therapy, TELFAR, Aids 3D, Getto Gothik, Bidoun, Spicee Cajun, Nguzunguzu, Raul Denieves, Glasspopcorn, Eden Wood, Bai Ling, Xavier Cha, Coco-T, Timur Si-Qin, Pierre Bismuth, Lil B, Ghetto Gothik, Teengirl Fantasy, JW Anderson, Item Idem...
Why, in the future, will discussion prove a more powerful medium than pure dictation.
It always has. Movements and progress are group efforts.
How compromised are you in terms of being friends with PRs and how compromised will you be?
We’re definitely not compromised by PR companies. The only PRs we're in bed with are Skechers, Z-CoiLs, 2XU, Whole Foods, IKEA, Home Depot, and Under Armour.
Is DIS just for now or is it forever?
DIS is forever.
Can you get people to advertise and do you care if they don't?
We’ve had opportunities to advertise but it hasn’t been worth it. We’re not against it, we’re working on it. We are currently embracing experimental economic models.
What have you all got on? Why's that radical? Don't lie!
Z-CoiLs, Ed Hardy, Todd Oldham, 2XU compression, Under Armour, black Dickies scrubs, William Sonoma Apron. We’re not radical, we fill a weird creative space and sooner than later we’ll be consumed like any other product and become a commodity.
On August 31st DIS magazine are hosting PS1's Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever closing party.