menu

Online Mag Wages War On Modern Culture

Online Mag Wages War On Modern Culture
Advertising

Not Vogue's founder, Steve Oklyn chats about his inspiration, motivations and why it's not always necessary to be nice.

Arthur Soleimanpour
  • 8 february 2013

With nothing more than carefully selected images and a few poignant words the mysterious man known as Steve Okyln has the fashion world chatting, clicking, gawking, laughing and fuming. Maybe if the world knew who he was people would have a place to direct their anger, but his anonymity is clearly one of his strongest weapons. The rest of his artillery is left up to the unique manner in which he communicates his ideas. Oklyn’s posts are terse rebukes of modern culture and he’s chosen the fashion world as the main subject for what he calls “the beginning of a revolution.”

Oklyn touches on contemporary art as well. Judging from what people have said to me in private and the few articles written about his online publication notvogue.com, Oklyn is getting what he wants; people to think about how modern culture shapes us and, in his opinion, keeps us from being free. His philosophy is heavily influenced by Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilo and other thinkers from the early 50’s and 60’s and it’s evident in posts where he quotes them. They were convinced media would rob people of the experience of living “the real.” Oklyn proudly declares that he has taken the “red pill” and won’t stop until the rest of society wakes up out of the matrix.

I was able to chat with him about the way this intriguing site is put together. This is his first interview ever and what I hope is the beginning of a series of interviews between the two of us.

 

Alexa Chung
What was the motivation for creating NOT VOGUE?

At the beginning I was not completely clear as to my what my motivation was. The name evolved out of a statement by Carine Roitfeld in Fall 2010 when she was still Editor-in-Chief of VOGUE PARIS. She said: “You are VOGUE, or you’re not VOGUE”. I loved the idea of a NOT VOGUE. So I bought the domain www.notvogue.com. Then a few months went by and I had this image in my head of Anna Wintour sitting in a front row at a fashion show with her sunglasses on with Colonel Gadaffi next to her with his sunglasses also on. THE DICTATORS logo was designed. The project began slowly in Spring 2011. After a few months I began to sense from a few responses to the posts that maybe this was more than the sum of its parts. I intellectually committed myself.

The answer to the motivation question is that it gives me an opportunity to explore my version of the fashion, art and society story of our current time: the second decade of the 21st century. Since I have been both a participant and an observer since the 1960s and not a member of any one team or tribe or clique I can stand apart, observe the play of personalities and events and with, I hope, a clear head assemble a more reasoned report than those involved presently. I do not attend any of the events. I view everything online and then using their image of the events and the people themselves author a report post by post and page by page.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of research. Is there a method to how the posts come together? Do you go looking for assets that will help you make a specific statement or are you influenced by what you come across as you are surfing?

The method in the development of the new posts is very open ended. For about nine or ten months the post structure is always the same. One page with five individual posts. Now, how the page is created is truly an intriguing process even for myself. I am constantly reading both online and print materials. The construction of a single post is 100% intuitive at first. Something just clicks. A word. A sentence. An image. Sometimes I can sense the relationship of the page construction both the text [headlines] and the photographs/films/music tracks as a totality.

On other occasions it is a process of construction. Very physical. In certain cases I might view hundreds of images just searching for the decisive one. It can get physically painful. My right arm has gone numb a few times. I am endlessly exploring new ways to compose a page. One page is a film. One page is a play. The ordering on the posts also is a factor. That is also a very dream like part of the overall page construction process. Every aspect of a page, the images, the texts, the order has a place in the overall meaning. The challenge is constructing a page with a beginning middle and end (why I use posts per page) and also the ability for a person engaged with the site to pull any individual post that resonates for them positively or negatively. In close to 1,000 individual posts not a single image or headline has been repeated. You can say the totality is so wide and so deep that single elements retain the meaning of the whole. A form of intellectual DNA.

Speaking of posts resonating positively or negatively, I cringe when I see someone I know in a photo, fearing you will make an example of them with a very combative headline. However, I sometimes find you have very encouraging things to say and even in what appears to be an endorsement of a person, brand or principle you are still critiquing culture. Do you find it necessary to have negative posts when you manage to get your point across so well in the more sympathetic headlines?

I am dealing with that issue with the authorship of each individual post. The NOT VOGUE logo sets the intellectual tone of the project. A knowing, satirical, blunt weapon. The goal, if there is one, is to create cracks in a reflective surface of power. You can say they always lead with a hard right followed by left joke. I am very clear about an overall positive vs. negative balance. CRINGE. That is a perfect first response (said while smiling).

Thanks Steve!

Advertising
Trending

Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Advertising
Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Advertising

See All
Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Related Expert

Alison Klayman

Filmmaking, Journalism

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Yesterday

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Yesterday

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Technology Yesterday

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better

Travel Yesterday

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

No search results found.