Oyin Akande Talks to Deputy Editor of i-D, Lynette Nylander

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1 of 2 i-D Fall 2016 Covers: ‘The Game-Changing’ issue featuring Stormzy

Not many people can command a room like Lynette Nylander can. Confident, self-assured and fashion-savvy, the 27 year old navigated her way amongst the world’s fashion elites to become the deputy editor of i-D magazine, the 36 year old fashion title.

Tell us about yourself.

So, I grew up in East London (far east) and I went to school in Essex. It was really kind of strange and not very exciting because there weren’t many people who were creative. I was really starved and I bonded really closely with the people who were creative and different. My friend Becca was my savior. We would explore London together and try to get our creative fix outside of school. We would spend a lot of time at Camden Lock and around East London and just people-watch. I was also very lucky to have had opportunities to travel as a kid. Wherever I was, I was fascinated to see people dressing differently and saying something with their look. I would say I am nosey and inquisitive about people who are different from myself.

I didn’t go to a school that really nurtured creativity so I always say I cultivate my own fashion education with magazines and the Internet, which was just becoming a thing. The fashion icons at the time where people Paris Hitlon and Nicole Richie, which was funny. On the street, styles were starting to explode. On one side, you could find the latter age Pete Dohertys and Kate Mosses while on the other side you could see the new wave of street style emerging.

You studied Fashion Design but you never practiced. Why is that?

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Lotte Anderson and Lynette

I went to school to Fashion Design and Marketing but I was a really bad designer- and this is self-confessed. I knew how to convey the ideas but I could not execute it myself. I was very creative and great at marketing side. So what I did was I would team up with girls who were proficient designers and work on the communication. I also never wanted to be mediocre. If I was going to be a designer, I wanted to be good at it.

But studying fashion taught me a lot. I recognize good craftsmanship. I can tell when I look at fabrics which will age better. My job has also given me such an appreciation for design and designers. They sacrifice so much to work and create in an industry that is unappreciative, particularly the young designers.

You’ve said before that you’ve read i-D since you were young. Why did it appeal to you so much then?

If you grew up in London, you couldn’t help but be hyper-aware of i-D and its legacy. I remember the first time I picked it up and I saw people who looked like me. It was the first magazine I’d seen that had heterogeneous people. Before that, I saw publications that really created this “us and them” divide. When I read i-D, I understood it.

What about the magazine has changed in that time and what would you say is a constant?

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-19-32-24We have to remember that Terry Jones started the magazine to be a magazine. He wasn’t thinking about building it into a big media company. Now the magazine has diversified. And the industry has change. We now have competitors like Dazed and Wonderland, which didn’t exist 35+ years ago. Society and technology has change. We consumer culture and information differently now. People know the magazine through their iPads. They think it’s a website not a magazine.

It’s evolved a lot since it was the subcultural zine of the 80s (Kay still talks about the importance it had for her-she’s done nine i-D covers). What would you say is the relevance of i-D today?

As long as there are people exist- particularly young, creative people-  there will be a conversation. i-D is about nurturing that conversation. So many people use their the dress to communicate themselves to world and that is a constant whether it was in the 80s, 90s or now. Our archive is the myriad of people we give the opportunity for self-expression. And, we are in the age where an unknown can be on the magazine and sell as much as or more than a celebrity cover.

i-D maintains a strong sense of individuality as a publication. When working with big names, how do you balance the identity of the publication with their own individual identities?

So I can only speak for myself on this one. With me, I always want to put that subject first. I’ve known the magazine since I was young. I grew up on it so I try and put it forward through myself. I also want to respect that they’re working with the magazine and that they have their own identity. So my subject matter is always mindful of ethos of i-D and I guide the conversation with the questions I ask.

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And how about yourself? Who are you inside i-D and how different is that from you outside i-D?

I try to be me 100% of the time. I hate experiences and situations where I feel compromised. I close in and feel uncomfortable when I am not myself. I know what I like. As an editor, it is a key talent to have. The job requires you fight your corners, defend your decisions and hold to your convictions.

The beauty of i-D is that we all have different viewpoints so there will be conflicts of interest. You have to be confident in what you’re doing.

I always say that if I’m going to do something, I am doing it 100%.

 I’ve heard you speak about personal confidence. Where would you say is the source of your confidence? Have you always been so self-assured?Lynette Nylander ThandieKay

No, not at all. I’m outwardly confident but actually really shy. I appear loud and boisterous but that’s with people I know and with things I know about. I suffer with anxiety. I was not taught at school to be my true self and or to be creative. I didn’t ever think this ‘weird’ knowledge and interest I had in fashion would amount to anything. My parents were proud of me and they were great but they didn’t know anything about fashion and couldn’t encourage me or foster it properly. But, I knew that I would work hard. I knew that if you are passionate about something you can make it into something great.

So its seems like your living your dream. You fell in love with the magazine when you were young and now you’re the Deputy Editor. Would you have done anything differently?

I am living out one of my dreams. Looking back at how I got here, everything that happened literally set me off on this path  that led to where I am now. I went to LCC and then to LCF. All sorts of things happened and that’s why I am here today. So, I wouldn’t change anything.

Is there anything else you’d like to do in future?

 Of course! I want to do so much. I’m also not sure I can bank my career on the magazine industry, which has a tentative future. My job requires me to consult with brands and it’s something I really enjoy. What I’ve learnt from i-D is how much brands want to talk to the youth and I already do this everyday. I think that it would be a great thing to explore.

I would like to write a book. Fashion PR Mandi Lennard once said to me I really just want to get paid to open my mouth’ and I thought that was so brilliant.

Lynette with positive body image advocate Naomi Shimada

Lynette with positive body image advocate Naomi Shimada

I enjoy speaking to people and giving advice. I get asked a lot more for advice nowadays. I also mentor two children. If I could somehow marry all these things into one job, that’s what I’d do.

And these are things I want to do now. Who knows when I hit 30, I might want to do something completely different.

So you don’t see a long future for magazines?

No, but obviously that’s true to different extents for different magazines. What you’re seeing is the middle being squashed out. And the upper and lower tiers are keeping their foothold and growing into the middle. Magazines like Radio Times and Take a Break are some of the best selling titles but they’re obviously low brow and don’t require a large financial commitment.

“i-D is strong because we are the only ones doing what we are doing to this level.”

Lynette Lola Coca ThandieKay

Lynette and musician Lola Coca

But the digital is exploding and has so many consequences. We just are not consuming culture the same way. The other day I was sat on the bus and no one on the top deck of the 48 bus did not have a screen in front of them.

What advice would you give someone who wants to work in your industry?

Work and know your stuff. You’d be surprised how many people say they want to work in fashion and can’t tell me their favourite show at fashion week r that they want to write and have written anything yet. You need to have experience. I did internships since I was 14. Some of them sucked but you have to suck it up and stick it out. Make sure you’re getting an education out of it. and make sure people actually know your name. You can’t be the intern that never introduces yourself because no one will remember who you were.


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