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Eastside L.A. fashion and culture magazine Them Rag debuts

November 27, 2009 |  2:34 pm

LEAD Echo Park's creative set has always been a collaborative lot -- and now a handful of Eastside designers, photographers and stylists are pooling their efforts to create a new fashion and culture magazine.

Them Rag, a photo-driven magazine helmed by designer Brian Kim (of L.A. brand Them Atelier and formerly Work denim), launched with a party last week at the Eighth Veil gallery in West Hollywood.

The biannual publication -- which debuts as stalwart titles of the magazine world come crashing down around us -- seeks to cover the "underground" scene in L.A. The idea came to Kim after corralling a large group of his friends (including the designers David Hershberger of Endovanera and Annie Costello Brown) for a Them Atelier photo shoot.

"We realized how many of us there were, creating and surviving through unconventional and non-mainstream means," said Kim. "Looking around the shoot, we realized L.A. can form a very resilient and honorable individual. We felt that they should be presented together in more depth, hence the magazine. Since, it has led us to think about what it means to be underground in today's world of mass information."

"Underground" is a word one might ascribe to a collective living in an abandoned loft and running off communist broadsheets on an old mimeograph. But Kim uses it unabashedly to describe his crew of creative pals. "We feel that there are communities like this all over that are dealing with today's overstimulation, dystopia and speed of change," he said. "Our goal is to find them and present them in a way that reveals the dignity and strength of the current cultural renegade."

Iffy labels aside, there's no denying the beauty of the photography within Them Rag's dark, matte pages. The photo shoots -- which straddle the line between fashion and art brilliantly -- capture the edgy side of modern fashion in whimsical, unexpected ways. Contributing photographers include Mia Kirby, ACB, Todd Weaver and Eliot Lee Hazel.

The $12 magazine is currently available at Front Street (Endovanera's storefront) and Cerre. Don't look for it in Borders any time soon -- the plan is to eventually circulate it to fashion-forward boutiques of the Colette/Opening Ceremony ilk the world over.

--Emili Vesilind

A striking art-cum-fashion image from the first issue of Them Rag, by Eliot Lee Hazel.