A La Champfest magazine was first released back in April and we were stoked to see a nice mix of illustration, bike stuff, photography and lifestyle bits and bobs. Monique and Jo Kawecki - based in London and Melbourne respectively - put it together and it contains a pretty unique cross-hemisphere flavour. We caught up with Monique to let us know how it all goes down...
CH: By the look of your email signature, it seems you’ve been busy involved in a lot of different things as well as Ala Champfest- Champ press, 14Bikeco and Fixed Magazine...
MK: Joanna and I have our Champ Press publishing company which we create Champfest under. In the future we will publishing other people' work. There are already a few under way.
I also work at a bike store (14BikeCo) in the Truman Brewery, London. We hand build frames and it is really refreshing to escape to another place where you basically just hangout with friends.
Fixed Magazine is another independent publication which I write and organize distribution for. The guys who created it have such passion and drive for it - and its great to be a part of that. Its put together so well, in terms of content and also layout - above all its free. Sweet.
What’s your creative background? How did Ala Champfest come about?
We've both loved printed matter for forever now. Always collecting and discovering new publications. We knew it wouldn't be easy - I had to learn design programs to create the magazine itself. And Joanna and I have both learnt everything from distribution, to advertising, marketing and PR! We've always been hands on - learning from doing. Now that we know how much hard work goes into a single issue, it's even more exciting discovering a new magazine. Especially an independent one.
Where did the name come from?
Randomly created, and we both loved it. Now we relate it to the 'Champions' we interview in each city: the creators, the movers + shakers of our time.
What’s the ethos of the magazine, what’s it all about?
An ever-relevant capture of the best photographers, artists and illustrators going round. We travel quite a bit, so it's perfect for finding and interviewing well-known or emerging artists, and producing a beautiful printed document for the rest of the world to enjoy!
Each interview and each issue of Champ, we equally admire the work of everyone we feature!
So many people creating, movin' and shakin'...
But it's always exciting to meet someone you've long admired, and hanging with them in their city whether its Tokyo, Berlin or Paris.
How do you go about choosing the contributors?
At the moment we have photographers Ryan Hopkinson and Jonathan Winstone joining us for shoots. We really believe in them - they are both great photographers. Its an honour to have them working with us as they are already established in their own fields.
We like to keep our team quite close-knit. Of course our contributors are also everyone featured in the magazine.
Any particular favourites so far?
We know exactly who we would like to interview and involve with Champ, but it also depends on the city we're visiting at the time. Creating friendships over a coffee or beer...
You collaborate with your twin on the publication- is Ala Champfest your first joint project? What’s the dynamic like/ does it make the creative process easier/harder collaborating with some one so close?
We're really lucky in that we have a similar vision for the mag, and the occasional objections only make it better. Living on different sides of the hemisphere we view some things differently, but this allow us to be diverse and always creating new ideas...
Joanna was saying she lives in Melbourne- so it really is an international magazine! How does this long distance collab work? Do you each have different roles within the publication?
We speak almost every day through Skype. And being in different cities gives us an excuse to travel, and meet up in a new city... somewhere in the middle...
We recently caught up in Tokyo, and then Joanna came over to Europe and we travelled around a bit here too, visiting stockists and interviewing some people.
What's your relationship with advertisement? Does it influence your content? Do you care about advertising-driven-editorials?
Producing anything printed has always been costly, but you've just got to remain confident with your vision and that others will dig it. We've been really lucky in that we do exactly what we aspire, who to include in Champ, and it only gets more and more interest.
Issue 2 is full of Tokyo based creative types, how did this come about? Did you notice a distinct creative difference between East and West ?
Joanna + I were visiting Tokyo this year and met some really great people who we just had to get into Champfest. The bilingual thought came from some great publications we found that were solely in Japanese, incorporating this lack into Champ, where both common languages are found. But really, we see so much great stuff coming outta every city of the globe... each as different and just as good as the other.
Are there any other publications other than Ala Champfest that you collect?
Fixed Magazine from London, +81 from Tokyo, Hamburger Eyes from San Fran, Lodown Magazine from Berlin, VNA Magazine from London, Wooooo Mag from NYC, Paperplane Mag from Sydney (RIP) and i-D from London...
You recently took Ala Champfest on a touring exhibition across the globe- how did it go?
Really well!! Both the London and Berlin exhibitions were a lot of fun, but also a great chance for people to check out some great international art + prints!! We had such a great turnout - its great to see so many people
Was it always the intention of the magazine to merge the editorial with events?
Not at all, but once think of a great idea, always go through with it! Nothing good comes from easy work...
Issue 2 is out now, looking back- what have you learnt since the first issue? And what can we expect in the future?
Ah we're really stoked with how Champ has grown, this year is hectic!
But ofcourse reaching 100+ issues, and continuing to do our thing, in turn inspiring others to create!
You can get hold of A La Champfest Issue 2 here