The magic numbers give a fashion collective something to say to the Shoreditch scene

Nick & Chris © ∂å

AS YOU buzz around Shoreditch-Dalston or, as some see it, the coolest spot on the globe, you may have picked up 55pages, a free, handbag-size magazine.
It started this summer, from 55factory, a small collective that a few months earlier launched 55tv, an online channel.

The allusion to the Factory, the Sixties creative base of Andy Warhol, is probably not accidental, and 55factory, which seems to be located on two below-ground floors at no 55 on a street in Camden, may one day earn a reputation to justify the allusion.
If not, it can settle for  “transmedia”, which members of the collective are tickled to have been called.

Christopher George Sims, of 55factory, and colleague Nick, told Loving Dalston: “We had been doing 55tv for about four months and we were bored.” So they started the magazine, in June, working “really hard commercially to support ourselves, along with supporting 55factory”.

“We were also sick of doing fashion shoots for other magazines that didn’t seem to have any idea about laying them out — far too many mags have no concept of designing a magazine to be complementary to images, squeezing them in to odd spaces, cropping them incorrectly.

Asked how the 55 people support yourselves, Sims said they are funded by “55bosses”.
“It’s not that expensive to publish 55pages in a limited run,” he said. “We get some commissions for 55factory via the pages and 55tv. For example, we produced and made a fashion film for a designer at London Fashion Week this year.”

“We work seven days a week on several projects, some commercial and some creative. The commercial funds the creative and the creative is essential for the commercial and the soul of the group.”

Much of what they do comes from their background in performance art. And  brutalism is “key in their background”, Sims said, because he was brought up “in a council England and in a council tower block. It was my life — brutalism I know emotionally and personally”.

The magazine and the TV channel are able to call on friends in the fashion business to provide or work as models, which adds to the high production values of this most stylish of love letters to London and all that is fashionable.

Sims admits that “it could all fall to bits tomorrow; we could split into other groups doing other projects. That’s how it works, though.

“We have ideas involving Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo and a possible film. This is the kind of thing 55employees talk about when they get together and offer another project to 55bosses.”

Whether or not the chiefs will add it to their budget is apparently another matter. Undeterred, however, Sims is off to Los Angeles this week to spread the 55word.

* Hackneyites can pick up 55pages at Idea Generation Gallery and Jaguar Shoes, both in  Shoreditch; Fox and Cutlass, Dalston, and at art-exhibition launches in conjunction with 55tv. You can order it online via Above: Christopher Sims, left, and Nick at a party in Shoreditch

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