Today, our favorite outer-dimensional being FKA Twigs launched a new Instagram-only magazine entitled AVANTgarden, with a premiere issue that celebrates the cultural importance and beauty of braids in black culture. In an interview with DAZED, Twigs explained that the idea for the magazine came from her desire to find a way she felt comfortable communicating on social media that felt honest but wouldn't be "a cringe," while building an artistic community. The topic of the first issue is a personal one, because Twigs has a "complicated relationship with [her] hair" that fits within a larger conversation about hair texture for people of color:
I've heard horrific stories of girls going into school with braids and teachers telling them to take them out, or even cutting girl's braids out in the classroom. Even the conversation around the latest Dove advert, it was found that they produced a cream for 'normal to dark skin'. It's the same thing with hair texture – what people perceive 'abnormal' is something that needs to be tamed. So I think for me, braids as a protective hairstyle and something that's been passed down through our heritage, is amazing to embrace. To be able to embrace your natural hair texture and also embrace things that protect your hair from the weather.
The magazine's aesthetic is a loving homage to the style boards in the barber shops Twigs would see growing up in South London. "The posters would always be old, faded and peeling off the wall. You'd pick 'number four'," she explains. "It seems quite romantic to me, the way those photos are taken. There's always a certain amount of aspiration, romance and hope. Those pictures we've all grown up with are so strong and hopeful, inspired by romance and pride."
Twigs plans to release issues monthly-ish (she's trying not to be too rigid about it) and she's open to the idea of it stepping off of social media. She explains, "I would love to make it into a physical thing eventually, or it can be put in a gallery, or it can be on a website."
Check out the premiere issue of AVANTgarden below...