The idea of The Mushpit magazine appeared as a reaction to mainstream “women’s media”, which has been propagandizing the beauty standards, values, behavior and lifestyle for young girls. In 2011 journalist Bertie Brandes and a stylist Charlotte Roberts founded a feminist magazine to cover the topics that they really worry about.


The publishing startup

Bertie and Charlotte had a prominent career and an impressive portfolio of works for the giants, such The Guardian, New York Times, SHOWstudio, Vice and others. But they both faced with the typical problems of young women in the modern world and had so much to say. Girls decided to create something new that will cater at all ladies, who also tired of glamorous photos and silly advices. The Mushpit is called like this because of the nickname for the rented flat in a Dalston on Kingsland High Street. There the duo was brainstorming new issues for their alternative project to highlight the problems making them angry.

Publication’s design was inspired by popular in 90s/00s magazine Cheap Date filled with anti-fashion content. It was decided to use ‘bad taste’ as a protest against the male perception of how women should be. The pursued aim was to show the world how women really are, even if the reader will be confused.

The founders took the anarchic approach for The Mushpit, but did it completely glossy even on a limited budget. Brandes and Roberts released it for their own money refusing any ads, besides a derisive fake ads, that parody both the teen magazines they grew up on and the fashion industry in which they has been working. Their first copies and feminist ideas was disseminating on the dancefloor of The Alibi club near home.

Why you will definitely like it

The indie zine quick made a name for itself among a generation 20-something-year-olds. Unique satirical wit, agony aunt advice, strict no ads policy, specific Insta-cultural references and quizzes on the pages, there is everything that millennials are fond of. Contradictions like a fashion and politics, humor and seriousness are organically combined in the DIY ethos.

It’s impossible to be a magazine publisher and not to be engaged into politics and other cultural trends in a meaningful way. Bertie and Charlotte as a joke call their ideological agenda like a “Vodka Lime Socialism” and express political statements without being overly earnest or preachy. They trying to release an informative, honest and thought-provoking content, but make it daring, comical way.


Personal crisis as a source of inspiration

All the zine’s issues take the themes of relevant troubles young women are actually facing. Each crisis which Brandes and Roberts are experiences they turn into the topics. That’s purposed to evince that making mistakes is okay and girls don’t have to be perfect. Eventually you learning that ups and downs are just a journey everyone has to take.

These girls also have showed us that there was a space lacking in publishing for magazines which representing variety and liberalism. The Mushpit is a kind of response to a mainstream media that marginalise and shrug off subcultures such as the transgender, feminists, immigrants, and nudist’s community. This is one more try to make everyone’s voice heard and balance up the ratio of naked girls to naked guys in zines.

The platform is not a commercial product and you’re unlikely to see famous celebrities or models decorating the cover or the pages. More appropriate determination is the modern day diary of a woman in her late teens to mid twenties. Rather, there will be stories of The Mushpit’s readers with their pictures taken by professionals from the worlds of art. Don’t you forget that it’s made in glossy format? Bertie and Charlotte often attract to the project their friends from the worlds of art.

Some previous covers have been shot by Tyrone LeBon, Alice Neale, Marques Almeida and Claire Barrow. Also they did some collaboration with London’s bright young things Dexter Lander, Raphy Bliss, Victoria Higgs, and a childhood hero of ours Toby Mott. Their activities is an inspiring example of creating a community that have the physical version in the form of a magazine through your ardor, like-minded people and friends.


Feminism is an impossibility of being silent

No secret that nowadays the feminism ideas commercialized and actively using by a mainstream brands and a large-circulation media outlets. This is a really good thing to change an unrealistic representation of women, even if it happens in order to increase interest and sales among teens. Have you ever thought about the fact that for inspired generation of young female creators it isn’t a money-making exercise but their personal need?

Internet gives a chance to everyone to realize any project and quickly get recognition and followers. Bertie Brandes and Charlotte Roberts took the essence of online culture as a very safe space, where girls could interact with each other and converted it into the print, because even on-screen colors differ from the printed ones. The result has turned out rather amusing: the statement-making and hilarious magazine with tumblr-style mood board and self-written content. The duo periodically host parties to finance the next production run, where you definitely will have a good time.

Maybe you will fall in love with The Mushpit for the 90’s nostalgia aesthetic with the particular mood specific to London, or for high-quality original content. Also it is possible that you will be horrified by its subversive tone (the founders expect such a reaction). Anyway, The Mushpit should be commended for coverage of whole heap of important things in its own independent way. Modern press sorely needs an alternative and honest voice for young women. No one could do it better than those who extremely need to express themselves, like Bertie and Charlotte.


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