Fantastic Man AW 08 – Tyler Br

There are plenty of reasons to pick up the latest issue of Fantastic Man, which has been out on the shelf now for a while, but one bright spot in particular is its feature on Tyler Brûlé, editor of Monocle. If you don’t live near a newsstand or specialty bookstore that carries it (I’ve had luck at Atlantic News on 3rd and 12th and St. Mark’s Bookshop), it’s worth tracking down online — try Colette or American Apparel.

Mr. Brûlé’s been a man to watch since he brought Wallpaper* Magazine to international prominence by promoting a new brand of aspirational living. The Fantastic Man feature and interview tracks his path from there to when he left the magazine in 2002 to focus on his design and branding agency (now known as Winkreative) to the creation of Monocle, perhaps the most-lauded new publication of the last few years for its strong international coverage (Monocle has its own bureaux around the globe), style-conscious eye, inventive online presence and Economist-style musings, often from Mr. Brûlé himself who also writes a weekly column for the London Financial Times.

The piece does its part to get into the head of Mr. Brûlé, an editor whose idea of a celebrity is Peter Jennings and who — as Fantastic Man puts it — wouldn’t know what to do with Lindsay Lohan if you gave her to him.

But Tyler Brûlé’s always thought about things a little bit differently than the rest of the world, making business decisions which have caused their fair share of raised eyebrows in the past; for example, running a shot of an anonymous Japanese helicopter pilot as the cover on the Monocle debut issue, an editorial choice Mr. Brûlé addresses in the FM interview.

Consider also offbeat partnerships, such as Monocle’s scent collaboration with Comme des Garcons, Scent One: Hinoki. Along with the bold decision to set a subscription rate that’s 50% higher than its cover price (but which gains subscribers access to exclusive online content) and the opening of a physical Monocle retail store in London to sell its goods this past year, there’s been plenty of room for doubt. But there’s one thing you learn after spending some time following the man and his work: never bet against Brûlé.


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