We recently rounded up 10 of the most inventive fashion magazines we’ve come across, and Bite Me, though not necessarily a style-centric title, got a call out for its quirky, refreshing perspective when it comes to photoshoots and style stories.
Known for its tongue-in-cheek attitude, past issues of this Hong Kong title have focused on the bum, the hair, and the mouth. Their fourth magazine is dedicated to the hand, and we asked co-founders Katrina Tran and Jason Schlabach to tell us about some of the features inside, which includes a very special project collaborating with their close friend, photographer Ren Hang, who recently passed away.
1. IBS (or the International Beauty Show)
“We’ve worked with Kathryn Lefroy several times and love her spin on stories — she always brings the ‘funny’. Her trip to the International Beauty Show (IBS lol!) in Vegas was the pinnacle of over-the-topness and she handled it perfectly – the story had us in stitches while putting it together. Our favourite part is how she balanced a scathingly accurate send-up of the bedazzled world of nail art with an empathetic portrayal of the colourful characters in it.”
2. Toilet Paper
“We’re magazine fans at heart and that’s the reason we started Bite Me. At the top of our own heap of titles in the studio is Toilet Paper. We love their humour, the visual puns and just how much fun they have with it. We printed this feature as a sign of our admiration – especially given how often hands show up in their work in the most ingenious ways.”
3. Tiny Hands
“This story went through a huge shift just before going to print! It was pitched as a tiny-handed poke at a day in the life of Candidate Trump, from eating tacos to buying bronzer. The morning of November 9th made it clear that we couldn’t see any humour in the prospect of President Trump cruising through a sunny day, so we stripped him from the story and made it about grabbing life by the short and curlies.”
4. Michèle Lamy, shot by Ren Hang
“The twin stories that ground this issue are interviews with Michèle Lamy and Rick Owens. They were so generous and we are so glad that we brought them together with our friend, photographer Ren Hang, to shoot both stories and this issue’s cover photo of Rick. Ren’s brilliance was unmistakable to anyone who ever saw him with a camera or the final results in one of the zines he was continually putting out. He saw beyond the surface and could always imagine what was possible if we just pushed past reality. He passed this February.
While his absence leaves the world poorer, we hold on to the memory of him crouching over a prone Michèle in a tiny changing room of the posh Rick Owens store while crowds of their fans gathered outside. Ren had just convinced her to pose with a bloody pig’s eyeball placed on her forehead and was confidently snapping away – once again chasing a vision that only he could fully see. We’re grateful that he shared his beauty and talent with us.”
5. Photographer Jesus Manongdo
“When we started on the theme of hands we knew we wanted to feature the power of hands. Nothing does that better than black and white photography – up close and personal. The work-hardened hands and interlaced poses were exactly the image of personal strength that we had in mind when we started work on this issue.”
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