How are fashion and appearance central to the construction of social identities?
In Western societies, when we are born we are put on clothes of certain colour: blue for baby boys and pink for baby girls.
On the other hand, in any society, the perception or concept of femininity and masculinity does not depend on female or male genitals.
In the manner now being indicated, even though there are anatomical differences between the sexes, having a penis instead of a vagina has given a person a higher status throughout history therefore what we think it is masculine or feminine behaviour comes directly from society and cultural beliefs.
Gender crossing is so present that even genitalia by itself have never been a universal nor essential insignia of a lifelong gender. (V.L. Bullough and B. Bullough, 1993 : 360).
‘In some eras and in some cultures, cross dressing is associated with homosexuality or lesbianism, while in others it is seen as both a homosexual and heterosexual phenomenon. Dress traditionally has been a ubiquitous symbol of sexual differences, emphasizing social conceptions of masculinity and femininity. Cross-dressing, therefore, represents a symbolic incursion into territory that crosses gender boundaries’. (V.L. Bullough and B. Bullough, 1993 : 8).
LV does not stand for Louis Vuitton. It stands for Luis Venegas, and he stands out. Creative Director and editor in-chief of Fanzine 137, EY! Magateen, and Candy; three original, luxury and fear-less magazines.
Interviewed on Skype by Gsus Lopez for London College of Fashion.
Luis Venegas on EL PAÍS. 10th October 2010. (Photographed by Chus Antón)
Born in Vitoria, Spain, on 13th March 1979. Grew up in Barberá del Vallés (Barcelona).
Currently based between Madrid and Barcelona.
Gsus Lopez: Hello Luis, I have got the new issue of “Candy” in my hands… I have not red it deeply yet but the first impression is excellent.
I love the letter you have written for the readers. As you quote, taking as a reference Penelope Cruz’s Oscars speech: “I grew up in a place called Barberá del Vallés, where this was not a very realistic dream…”
What sort of advise would you give to people that come from small places but dream with making it big? What was your childhood dream?
Luis Venegas: The one and only way of making dreams come true is by working hard and believing that they are possible, you can do anything you wish. And above all things you have to realise that you live once, therefore it is totally up to you to make them come true.
The dreams that I had when I was little were different from the ones I have now but basically consisted in being happy.
GL: Firstly you made “Fanzine 137” (in 2004) which is the most intellectual of your three magazines. “EY! Magateen” (formerly known as “Electric Youth” in 2008) is, in my opinion, very erotic and aimed at gay guys. And in November 2009 “Candy” arrived, the first transversal style magazine ever made. Tell me more about them.
LV: Yes, “Fanzine 137” is definitely the most intellectual of the three. “EY!” is sexy but certainly not erotic. Eroticism is in the eyes of who looks at it that way; in other words, I have never had a wank looking at this magazine…! It is meant to be for teenager gay guys and their girlfriends.
There is still many things to be invented but I was the first person amazed with the fact that a transvestite style themed magazine had never been done before “Candy”.
GL: Do you consider your three self-published magazines to be some kind of three alter egos?
LV: Yes, the three magazines are so me! Most likely they are a reflection of what I am interested in at a personal level. Fanzine is related to culture and art, through images that I rescue and update from older archives.
At “EY!” I feature the most handsome teenagers (boys only from different countries) who are the future’s seed. And in Candy’s case, the transvestite theme is always related to fashion and style. Therefore the three magazines are a representation of different traits of my personality and stuff I am interested in, rather that three alter egos as I am neither a transvestite, nor a teenager nor an intellectual.
GL: What is the profile of a Candy?
LV: Candy is not only for transvestites like I hear sometimes! But also for a mix of people who are interested in the transversal world as well as for the readers of Fanzine who are highly interested in fashion, high quality images, vanguards and very personal projects. The age range would be between 18 and 40-something year olds that appreciate originality and exclusivity.
GL: Why is “Candy” such a limited edition (1,000 copies sold worldwide in selected stores) and why is it so expensive compared to other magazines?
LV: It is expensive precisely because there are only 1,000 copies for sale. I like it this way as it becomes a purpose of collecting and it is something you would like to keep forever.
GL: How do you start to do a magazine?
LV: The best is not to have much idea of what you have to do. Start slowly by asking for a budget, start working on it and it will come up eventually. Always bare in mind though what the magazine is about, its concept what exactly you want people to find there and then hopefully more and more people will get interested in it while it grows.
I had never studied journalism or anything like it, everything is self-thought by looking at other magazines. I am passionate about magazines.
GL: Besides looking forward to it, do you need a good contacts book?
LV: At the beginning you need a good base of contacts but nowadays it’s so much easier thanks to websites and social networks like Facebook, you can contact anyone!
GL: I have observed that in Candy (issue #2) there are many American “idols” and after experiencing so much success in U.S.A is this some kind of ‘living the American dream’ for you?
LV: Yes, in a way it is and I am really happy about it because I love and respect the United States, they treat me very well there. However it is more a Spanish dream even though Candy has appeared before in Ellen DeGeneres’ show (popular American TV Show) than in Ana Rosa Quintana’s (popular Spanish TV show).
GL: It has been relatively easy for me to approach you and do the interview. Do you consider yourself an easy guy?
LV: Yes, I am super easy! Well, I do not know actually. I consider myself open to be told stories, to listen to people and I like that. This is also why I do something for the public eye.
BELOW: (Spanish Original Version / Versión Original en español)
CANDY is the first fashion magazine ever completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transexuality, cross dressing and androgyny, in all its manifestations. Never before in history, have men and women had so many opportunities for body modification, or so many ways to change their appearance from head to toe: from the softest options like make up, to permanent transformations courtesy of the surgeons’ knife.
Now the 21st Century is truly underway, there’s no need to justify ourselves, only the ability and need to celebrate the diversity of lifestyles and options, the freedom to choose on every level. The possibilities are as infinite as the amount of people there are in this world. CANDY is a magazine for everybody. A space for individual freedom, and a publication that pushes people to take on the persona of what they always wanted to be.
LUIS VENEGAS (Founder and Editor in Chief)
Photographed by Juan Gatti
I love the whole idea of CANDY magazine. This is a celebration!
I have put up the words of Candy’s description above which describes briefly the concept and who the readers are or could be. I took it entirely from Luis Venegas’ website: byluisvenegas.com.
I have also selected a few photos from my internet research; I certainly shouldn’t spoil more than this about CANDY 2…
CANDY 2 TRIBUTE TO AMY WINEHOUSE
Ash Stymest photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth and styled by Robbie Spencer
CANDY 2 TRIBUTE TO LADY GAGA
And the cover star(s) actor and photographer resepctively: James Franco by Terry Richardson.
The second issue of CANDY is out, and it is expensive but definitely a good value for money, if you wish to buy it online then please get it from Luis Venega’s website by clicking on this link.
It’s also sold in special stores world wide:
ATHENAEUM BOEKHANDEL BV, Spui 14-16, 1012 XA
MICHAEL LETT, 478 Karangahape Road, Newton 1010
FREE TIME, La Rambla 114, 08002
KOWASA, Mallorca 235 Bajos, 08008
DO YOU READ ME?! GBR, Auguststraße 28, 10117
PRO-QM, Almstadtstrasse 48-50, 10119
PRINZ EISENHERZ BUCHLADEN, Lietzenburger Str. 9a
BUCHHANDLUNG WALTHER KÖNIG, Ehrenstr. 4
BUCHLADEN MÄNNERSCHWARM, Lange Reihe 102
WUNDER SHOP, Laivurinrinne 1, 00120
CLAIRE DE ROUEN BOOKS, 1st Floor, 121-125 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EW
DONLON BOOKS, 210 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9NQ
OPENING CEREMONY, 451 N. La Cienega Blvd., CA 90048
KIOSCO BARQUILLO, Barquillo 17, Esq. Augusto Figueroa, 28004
PANTA RHEI, Hernán Cortés, 7, 28004
10 CORSO COMO, Corso Como, 10, 20154
OPENING CEREMONY, 35 Howard St., NY 10013
ST MARKS, 31, 3rd Avenue, NY 10003
GAGOSIAN, 988 Madison Avenue, NY 10075
DASHWOOD BOOKS, 33 Bond Street, NY 10012-2495
BOOKMARC, 400 Bleecker Street, NY 10014
STANDARD, Crystagrand Building, 2-2-12, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-Ku, 5420086
TORPEDO KUNSTBOKHANDELEN, Hausmannsgate 42, 0182
COLETTE, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
OFR, 20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003
PALAIS DE TOKYO, 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116
LES MOTS A LA BOUCHE, 6 Rue Ste. Croix la Bretonnerie, 75004
AGORA PRESSE, 19 Rue Archives, 75004
WH SMITH, 248 Rue Rivoli, 75001
PAPERCUT, Krukmakargatan 24-26, 118 51
I’ve already gone to one of the stores in London but I can’t get my own copy until the 1st November, plus it’s a limited edition of 1000 copies!
It is a BIG PIECE of ART.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON.