From starting off as a small-town Gloucestershire girl and moving to Croydon at the tender age of 17, Tahliah Debrett Barnett (better known as FKA Twigs) has been making waves ever since. After dropping a few mixtapes, this girl went on to her first self-released album in 2014, doing sell-out tours and is now an influential style icon (as well as having a previous relationship with British heartthrob Robert Pattinson). At the age of 29, you could say she hasn’t done too bad for herself.
With a successful music career behind her, FKA has now started a brand-new project that is close to her heart, and this month she has finally shared it with us. Released earlier this month by the name of AVANTGarden, FKA has released a digital magazine curated and produced by herself. Issue one (named ‘Roots, Shock, Beauty’) is innovatively designed, celebrating the beauty of African and Caribbean hair in the form of cornrows, beads and shape-ups. Inspired by her years spent living in South London, FKA states that her inspiration for this issue comes from traditional black barber shops, with faded and peeling postcards displaying hairstyle options in shop fronts. It must be said that there’s something understatedly beautiful and organic about the way she has presented this magazine- everything from the hand-drawn illustrations of Afro-combs to the muted colour palette running throughout.
Even though our current generation is mainly consuming media content online, FKA is still one step ahead of the game. The magazine is presented on her personal Instagram account as one long continuous image that the viewer can slide through, as if “flicking” through a magazine. Not only is she one of the first to think of this format for a magazine, but also put it together on the humble space of her kitchen table. Kudos to you, girl.
Since being harassed on social media in 2014 for her ethnicity, she is finally back and standing stronger than ever. The idea for the magazine originated with FKA asking her fans on Twitter about how having braids makes them feel- with responses of nostalgia, pride and a sense of connectivity within their families. On social media, she expressed that: ‘it started off as something fun but became a self-explorative artistic expression, it made me think about and question… my relationship with my exterior shell in a way that made me want to create more and connect with you [her fans] on this subject.’
FKA reminds us all that you don’t necessarily need a spacious studio to make magic happen- if you want to make something badly enough, it can be done from the comfort of your own home. Due to the success of the post from October, FKA plans to release a new issue of her Insta-zine on a monthly basis… Roll on November.