Magazine B - Issue 50 (Ver.2) Seoul
Welcome to the newly revised 50th edition of B.
Two years ago, we launched a Seoul issue in October 2016 in celebration of B’s five-year anniversary. And since then, we have published another 20 new issues. Being introduced to new brands, new people, and new perspectives every month is the most valuable part of the job as an editor. It’s also rewarding to discover and deliver to readers the dynamic shifts in the world and tips to addressing the changes, or the philosophies that have lasted through the times. However, B’s role shouldn’t be limited to plain discovery. For a magazine, or any brand, to have a life of its own, it’s just as important to look back as it is to move forward. This is not to say that we should cling to our past or duplicate our past successes. It’s to say that we should be able to advance while also recognizing the path we’ve walked. Since B is an achronological magazine and its past issues are constantly in distribution, we have more opportunities to look back on our trail. On a superficial, logistical level, we reprint sold-out issues, and on a more substantial level, we carry out projects that examine our past works from a different angle to present them in new forms. The two issues of B’s sister publication Balance, launched in 2014 and 2016, and our first official podcast channel “B Cast” are examples of the latter.
The decision to revise the Seoul issue of B follows this spirit. A good brand is one that retains its core value or philosophy while adapting to and evolving with the changing times and environment. It seemed only fitting that we chose a city, specifically Seoul where we live, instead of a commercial brand, as the subject for our first reflection back into the past. Seoul has been renewing itself day after day for the past two years; new elements have been added and new terrains have formed across the culture and lifestyle sectors. It’s true that I have been highly critical about Seoul’s propensity for fast and drastic change. I often snickered at creative attempts in Seoul, comparing it with European cities like Paris and London or Tokyo, and such belittlement of Seoul’s budding culture has often seemed to be testifying to my refined or sophisticated cultural taste. Even as we began this revision, I wasn’t completely free of prejudices against Seoul myself. I had my doubts as to whether I would be able to locate any meaningful change in the city, whether I would become too caught up on the sole aspect of change and other less important aspects of the city, or whom to look into in order to accurately pinpoint what’s changed. Thankfully, the people we’ve met and interviewed through this issue put these concerns to bed once and for all. Every single one of the creators in the six business fields of fashion, lifestyle & design, hospitality, music, dining, and coffee had more affection than cynicism toward the city, proposing new potential and a hard boiled perspective on the sediments of time remaining in Seoul. Their ideas focus more on what Seoul offers at any given moment rather than insisting on tradition or spearheading new trends. What’s even more inspiring is that they see Seoul’s deficiencies as their creative foundation. This tendency is evident not only in fashion and food, but also in interior design and architecture. The old downtown areas like Myeong- dong and Euljiro—and relatively underdeveloped neighborhoods like Seongsu-dong, Sangsu-dong, and Yeonhui-dong—are emerging as next-generation hotspots, while restaurants, cafés, and lifestyle stores present consumers with ingenuous and gimmick-free images as narrators of the next wave of success stories.
It’s truly enthralling to observe and trace the web of connections and lay them out on the pages. For B to be able to update the records of meaningful moments for the many brands and cities it’s covered, we would have to learn to embrace things “just as they are” without judgment or bias, just as creators in Seoul have done. I believe that learning to do so would yield creative energy, not just in producing magazines but in life in general.
Content & Editorial Director