With the world at your fingertips (thanks to your cell phone), the last decade has seen no shortage of headlines declaring the death of print media. The digitisation of media has led to numerous publications across a myriad of topics to unfortunately fold. Well, to counteract this Bottega Veneta has made it their mission to support cultural magazines. Last year they partnered up with the cult gay men’s magazine Butt, which hadn’t been in circulation for the entire decade prior. Now the luxury Italian label is teaming up with Air Afrique magazine.
The burgeoning publication was founded by a young collective in Paris, including creative director Lamine DIaoune, editor-in-chief Amandine Nada, and co-founders Djiby Kebe and Jeremy Konko. Putting African talent at the forefront the team also includes editors Zhedy Nuentsa and Ahmadou-Bamba Thuam and graphic designer Azel Pelletanche. Inspired by pan-African magazines of the 20th century, the publication’s name comes from the pan-African airline Air Afrique which operated from 1961 to 2002.
‘We want to revive the African transcendence that Air Afrique represented. Our mission is to preserve this heritage, to put Air Afrique back in the cultural conversation, and to build on their example of cultural engagement’, said Diaoune.
Bottega Veneta’s decision to invest in print stems from its long history of utilising magazines for cultural engagement. In 1972 when the brand opened its first-ever store on Madison Avenue in New York City it quickly became a favourite of the downtown scene including Andy Warhol. This, of course, led to the iconic ‘When Your Own Initials Are Enough’ advertising campaign launched in 1978 by Warhol which was plastered in magazines all over the world.
Hoping to capture that same cultural reverence in a time when print media is constantly under threat, Bottega Veneta’s support of independent magazines has already been proven wildly successful due to Butt’s regained popularity within the queer community. Not just slapping their advertising campaigns in said magazines, Bottega Veneta has also hosted numerous events including a launch as part of Paris Fashion Week for Air Afrique Magazine. They are also releasing a limited-edition series of blankets by Franco-Sudaniese designer Abdel El Tayeb, specially commissioned by creative director Matthieu Blazy as part of the launch.