Andre Walker is best described as a creative maverick. As a style maven for over 20 years, Walker has navigated the fashion capitals of New York, London and Paris as an industry insider, while also designing for Willi Smith and his own eponymous line of clothes. Walker currently works as a secret weapon of a design consultant for several brands but has also recently turned to magazine land with Tiwimuta. We’re please to have an exclusive discussion about the launch (officially next month) of the hotly anticipated publication, which has in-the-know fashionistas dying for a peek. Walker answers our probing inquiry about the inception of this new creative effort and the next steps for his imaginative vision.
JC Report: Tell us about the title and meaning of your new magazine, Tiwimuta.
Andre Walker: Tiwimuta is a contraction of “this is what it made us think about.” I chose the title because of its uncanny relation to the fact that I did not know or desire to know what our perspective contributors would submit.
JCR: With all the magazines out there, why do you think you have
something new to add to the mix? Is Tiwimuta a fashion magazine?
AW: Tiwimuta is a “melodramagazine” in that it is entirely unexpected and its goal is simply a pretext to unite a variation of thought in aid of an unknown end. Tiwimuta is a thought suspension forum and a voyeurist endeavor—like an exhibition or performance. It is not a fashion magazine—its collaborators come from various artistic vocations and backgrounds.
JCR: Were the contributors solely from your pool of friends, or did you reach out to talents you particularly admired?
AW: Tiwimuta is evidence of individual effort within a contained structure. All of the participants’ work comprise their exclusive desires and impulses regarding the project. So, yes, my admiration for the contributor(s) was often sustained within the extension of the invitation. At other times there was a distinct circumstantial admiration surrounding the invitation.
JCR: Tell us about some of the talents and their contribution.
AW: John Robinson is an actor and photographer. Pierre Francillon is a butterfly photographer and a painter who has an unexpected intimacy in his portraits. Assa Youssif is a stylist who gave us a blueprint of the s/s ’08 collections before they took place via a collaboration with photographer Phillipe Migeat. And Marc Jacobs hooked in with Jean Paul Goude for some fun portraits.
JCR: Do you have an established business plan for Tiwimuta—issues per year, distribution model, advertising, etc?
AW: I honestly believe that Tiwimuta must be an annual publication. Advertisers are chosen/invited like the contributors. We have distibution for the US and Europe.
JCR: Tiwimuta is a big magazine with over 200 pages and really has a thud factor, why so ambitious?
AW: No need to judge a book by its weight. This first issue is simply an accumulation of invitations extended to guests/contributors.
Luckily, [creative editor Carlos Taylor] told me when to stop or it might have been heavier. The magazine sincerley blossomed via word of mouth and my frenzied over-excitement. Imagine, at least ten tentative guests didn’t make the deadline. My invitations were more about some kind of objective, creative urgency than quantitive ambition.
JCR: Who comprised your team in pulling off this project?
AW: Carlos, Carlos, and Carlos!!! He pulled in most of our team and allowed me to remain a hermit/gurgling creative type. He persuaded Mac Folkes to deal with my steadfast disposition and circumlocution concerning the layout. Mac stuck it out until the end. For this he must be congratulated.
JCR: The magazine is really tactile, I can’t imagine it being a web product. Do you have a special sentiment for print magazines?
AW: The web is simply a port of access to our extremely tactile magazine and its contents. Yes, I love magazines and am surprised by the Fahrenheit 451 stance of “Pro Websters.” Olivier Zahm explains it effortlessly in the new Purple. It’s not really an issue or a concern. That’s why we have the splash page, so it can grow accordingly to demand. When the magazine’s distribution is complete, there will be more activity/presence within the Tiwimuta site.
JCR: Who are you targeting with this magazine?
AW: All enthusiasts and insiders of the applied arts.
JCR: Tiwimuta is very visual but what is the power of the written word in the magazine?
AW: Some contributors write, others don’t. I make a minor assessment of observations/desires in the editorial. Tiwimuta is a “Thought Suspension Forum.” I find that words provoke visuals and vice versa resulting in the intersticial residue that often leads to creation. That’s what Tiwimuta is all about.
JCR: Does Tiwimuta reflect all the different roles you’ve had in fashion over the years?
AW: Not yet.
This interview was conducted by Jason Campbell.