LM Woman #53 / ANNIKA HEIN
LM WOMAN #53 / ANNIKA HEIN
Annika Hein is a tour de force, an advocate for the ‘slow art movement’ and fiercely creative in her desire to challenge accepted norms. Alongside JANE magazine co-founder Odin Wilde, they have crafted a creative culture by setting up the framework for themed issues that demands a strong aesthetic response in terms of photography, poetry, art and storytelling. Always keen to push boundaries and be challenged, the goal of JANE’s content is to share a diversity of perspectives, to excite alternative points of view and showcase imagery and words that are utterly free from the constraints of commerciality. It comes then as no surprise that Annika is of the ‘buy once, buy well’ school of dressing . “You get to truly know your clothes and allow them to be an authentic representation of yourself, rather than one that’s potentially swayed or guided by impulse purchases,” she says.
You describe JANE as a' slow art movement'. Can you expand on that notion?
We created JANE as a response to the media landscape at the time. Our intention was to build a publication and a community that considered and challenged the dialogue around creative intention and consumption. The purpose behind JANE was always to become more than a magazine. Over the past four years we’ve shaped it to be a slow art movement, something that goes beyond the pages and champions an overarching change. This aspect of the brand is something that we’re very proud of and my hope is that both the publication and the movement can act as a support system that works to unite us through words and art while we explore alternative versions, and speeds, of consumption.
In terms of print and digital publishing you are the very definition of a creative entrepreneaur. How did you end up here?
Through a combination of sheer determination, love, and belief in what we wanted to create. Once we worked on and developed our voice, our values and our aesthetic, I we realized we needed to do everything in our power to maintain our integrity - without compromise. In other words, we had to protect and advocate for our vision. As we’ve grown and evolved holding true to our vision and voice has remained our priority, which is why I believe we have such a strong and recognizable aesthetic. We’re not trying to be everything for everyone and I think that adds value to the content we produce. It allows our content and creative direction to be inclusive, interesting and diverse, but avoids the need to engage in marketing hacks and hype campaigns that are driven by corporate agendas and often have little consideration for artistic intention.
Your co-founder is Odin Wilde - how do you define your roles - or do they merge?
Our roles can be quite fluid in most instances, especially when speaking to the creative nature and big picture mapping out of the themes of an issue. However, once we have the framework signed off our roles certainly become more defined. Odin moves into the space of art direction and I work within the role of an editor. All production and final design sign offs are done as a team, as is the cover artwork.
As a brand the expression of your creative community plays a key role. Why is that so defining of the way you operate?
Because our goal was always to give creatives a platform to express freely without commercial restraint, all our teams work around a brief that we produce and direct, but once the concept and team is signed off on it is their individual interpretation that guides how the idea is brought to life. That kind of freedom in the fashion and publishing world, to my knowledge, is quite rare and I think the fact that we can give that level of autonomy speaks to the strength, relevancy, and resonance of our overarching creative vision as well as our desire to engage in true collaborative partnerships. It also goes both ways. To a certain extent we want our community to challenge and disrupt our work and our creative views – and if that is not happening then we really ought to be reconsidering who we’re including in that community. This model is not just about comfortable collaboration that is coming from a singular perspective. Rather it’s about creating a radical movement that has the ability to present many different points of view in a way that is aesthetically cohesive for a reader to identify with, dissect and understand.
Do you find you perceive beauty in unusal places?
Yes, I think that's where true beauty has always resided.
What is significant to you in terms of definining a home?
Do the same principals apply to how you dress?
In a way, yes. My approach to dressing is minimal, refined, and built to last. My wardrobe is a mostly a black, white and grey selection of fiercely edited pieces and one that’s added to very rarely these days. I think owning less and investing in particular pieces that you build a relationship with makes for a far more adaptable, timeless, and sustainable wardrobe. You get to truly know your clothes and allow them to be an authentic representation of yourself, rather than one that’s potentially swayed or guided by impulse purchases. I would consider myself a uniform dresser and tend to steer clear of the expectation that new clothes should be considered a routine purchase.
If you had to descibe your attitude to life in 5 words what would they be?
Live with love and light.
I like this phrase - "the abundance of knowledge that's embedded in our bones". Do you feel we have lost the ability to be intuative and trust something fundamental within us? And what do you have for unlocking that?
I don’t think we have lost the ability to hear or trust our intuition, however at the same time I don’t think our current landscape or environment is conducive to letting that intuition lead us as it may have once done. So, it’s not really lost, but rather somewhat silenced. To that point, I’d like to share something I wrote on the subject for our seventh issue: We’re All Alive Together. “The most important and fulfilling work we as humans can do on this planet at this time, ‘ said Julia Pelvin, ‘ is to reconnect to ourselves, to one another, and to the natural world.’
But coming out of a commercial coma takes time and an unwavering commitment to the cause. Met with distractions and deviate detours, our relationship with our natural environment, and as such with ourselves has become a reflection of learnt priorities. Weak and weighted down by waste, we’ve become slow and sloppy, stuck in the selfish sewers of superficiality, gasping beneath the rough and unforgiving grips of greed. Displaced and isolated against the plastic and artificially illuminated wasteland we’ve created on our journey in search of a life well lived the barren landscapes we now call home taunt and tease our flailing attempts to sooth our shaky selves with the slave of trivial shallowness.
In the crooked face of consumerism, we have pitted ourselves against the Earth. Her soul aches, sending out harsh and harrowing warning signs. Her blue and midnight hair looks down in despair, struggling to see beneath the smog. Her watery veins spit up sludge and slop, crying out in congested calls of concern. But her limbs hold strong and stoic against the face of destruction, gasping for air amongst the arid ashes, their bark begging for us to just grab hold, desperately trying to prove the power of nature’s persistence, the power of peaceful revolution.
And so, we must return. Rewire. Reconnect. Reboot. Go back to the root, to ourselves, to the Earth we’ve been treading so heavily upon. Readjust our focus with the understanding that we are interconnected, interdependent and inter-existent. ‘We are one coherent ecosystem,’ said the great Sir David Attenborough, ‘It’s not just a question of beauty, or interest, or wonder—the essential ingredient of human life is a healthy planet. We are in danger of wrecking that. We are destroying the natural world and with it ourselves.’ It’s said that everything we need to know can be traced back to the bush, so perhaps what we really need in the face of greed, and want, and waste is in fact a type of natural tenderness. To stare down the insincere spoils of corporate clutter with the sacraments of slower living and the riches of a circular economy, considering with critical trepidation that everything we purchase, produce, or consume returns to Earth as either food or poison and that the enormity of our effect is our collective burden to behold.
So, buy good things and own them a long time, plant some posies for our pollinators, live beneath your means, grown some organic vegetables, go without. Ignore the grinding gears of a broken system acting out for attention because as an anti-dote to consumerism surely it should be enough to simply feel the earth beneath your feet? To connect again to the coarse grains of the soil, breathe in the air, and watch the pale blue-sky light up with magnificent molten silver each night? Surely it should be enough?
What is next for you, Odin and JANE?
You never know... When the timing is right I'm sure our next steps will reveal themselves.