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Meet BLAG Co-Founders, Sally A. Edwards & Sarah J. Edwards

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH J. EDWARDS, SALLY A. EDWARDS, MATT HOLYOAK & ELIOTT WATERS

Sally A. Edwards and Sarah J. Edwards Biography

 

 

BLAG • Brit Informal • Verb • 3. (1960s) to persuade, especially as in “blag in” or “blag into”, to talk one’s way into a party, concert etc. An act of clever talk.

BLAGGER • Noun • 1. A smooth talker, a persuasive person.

Welcome to the self-made, creative world of hard working, tenacious British twin sisters, Sally A. and Sarah J. Edwards and their—cutting edge yet sophisticated, 100% independent, cult magazine and brand BLAG.

 

Formative Years

 

Sally and Sarah, were raised in a strict environment in rural England and Scotland and went on to unwittingly change the publishing game. In order to inform themselves culturally, Sally and Sarah spent much of their childhood and art school years secretly relying on a crackling radio, untuned TVs, passed around mixtapes and magazines.

 

The Xerox Inception of BLAG

 

Started in the 90’s and working solely as a creative teenagers, Sally and Sarah armed themselves with fake id, a camera, typewriter, access to a payphone, one hour photoshop and after asking nicely—unofficially, an art college photocopier. BLAG...in its first guise was secretly born as a Xerox’d ‘zine, heavily inspired by deluxe glossy golden era style magazines. Mixing humorous interviews, posed photos and punchy graphics.

 

Within months of leaving home for London—with only £20 each, Sally and Sarah built BLAG, putting some of the world’s leading industry execs on their toes and upending stereotypes.

 

Music Industry

 

From their teens to early 20’s, Sally and Sarah maintained jobs in the music industry. Sally was one of the industry’s youngest female television pluggers. At 21, she independently represented several musicians, plus all Grand Royal Records artists for Beastie Boys. Her plugging efforts landed debut and some of the most infamous television appearances for musicians including At The Drive-In, Placebo and The Pharcyde to name a few.

 

Meanwhile, across town—thrown in at the deep end, Sarah was cutting her teeth as a publicist for many high profile artists including Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Foo Fighters, Slum Village and Muse. She soon jumped to the other side of the fence, when NME editors headhunted her to be their website Hip Hop Editor.

 

Modeling

 

On weekends, lunch breaks and days off, Sally and Sarah modelled for Japanese GQ, German Vogue and Dazed to Placebo’s ubiquitous album, Without You I’m Nothing—shot by Corinne Day. Sarah appeared on record sleeves for Ash’s Girl From Mars And Depth Charge’s The Legend of the Golden Snake EP. Sally modelled for Carhartt, Kangol, Levi’s and The Big Issue’s World’s Greatest City cover. They were subjects by celebrated photographers Rankin and Matt Holyoak.

 

These shoots inspired Sarah to develop her love of photography.

 

Glossy BLAG

 

The girls’ journey with BLAG led them from moonlighting creating cut ’n’ paste style ‘zines to being internationally acclaimed publishers and editors – taking on the majors via many inventive means, all the while bullseye future gazing artists and trends. Sally and Sarah collaborated with go-to design duo Yacht Associates on the first three glossy editions, the designers responsible for groundbreaking record sleeves for artists including Blur. Together, they gave BLAG its unique sense of humour via striking street style visuals, laced with subtle jokes and word play.

 

The underground began to buzz and soon BLAG the glossy would be distributed worldwide, with calls for copies from as far as Peru. Readers put pen to paper to send them letters from as far afield as Tokyo to New York City, Johannesburg and many place inbetween. Artists like Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, The Pharcyde, The Roots’ ?uestlove and Beck cite BLAG magazine as one of the early publications to give them covers and features. Bolstered by numerous rave reviews in major style and quality titles—finding its unique approach and voice refreshing, BLAG quickly captured a loyal and discerning audience.

 

Sally and Sarah used BLAG to break down media stereotypes, cross cultural boundaries and put themselves on the frontline to make a difference. They experienced undercover burnout and forged fortuitous friendships.

DJing

 

Deeply rooted in music, Sally and Sarah added DJing to their resume. They performed at launches and aftershows for artists and brands including Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and James Brown for their Wembley Arena and Hyde Park shows, to N.E.R.D, Y3 and Pharrell Williams and Nigo’s Billionaires Boys Club / Ice Cream London debut.

 

Writing, Photography and Film

 

Sally developed a reputation as the go-to, ahead of the curve writer. She was hired to contribute major features for titles including i-D, Dutch, Detour, Flaunt, Frank, Nova and NME.COM. Her many interviews included; Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper, to a then up-and-coming in the UK Mos Def and OutKast.

 

Likewise, Sarah’s photography got noticed and she received commissions from titles including; Rolling Stone, Vibe, Dazed & Confused, i-D and NME shooting the likes of John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Wu-Tang Clan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and The Hives.

 

Book Deal

 

Sally and Sarah were approached by cult art book publishers, Die Gestalten Verlag to create a BLAG book. They collaborated again with design duo Yacht Associates and took BLAG global, presenting their unique humorous approach juxtaposed with striking visuals of musicians and artists from around the world. Pages were packed with a huge variety of subjects from Parisian Designers and Russian B-Boys, to funny and honest Q&As with several of Hip Hop’s most influential artists, paintings, photography and illustrations.

 

Press reaction to the book was overwhelmingly positive and global: Nylon, Trace, The Times, Blueprint, Sleaze Nation, Echoes, Kiss FM and XFM all leant their support. Sally and Sarah produced major launch parties in London and New York. London’s bill included an early performance by Slum Village, while the New York party saw Public Enemy DJ and was attended by a wide spectrum of celebrities including; Pharrell Williams, Harold Hunter, Ben Lee, Claire Danes and Adrien Brody. Creating a blueprint for BLAG’s soon to be diverse and memorable fun parties.

 

Creative Endeavours

 

By dismissing traditional advertising and creating ‘sponsored integrated editorial’ with physical rollouts, Sally and Sarah were quickly invited by brand Executives to creatively spearhead national and international launches for them including: PlayStation, Mercedes Benz, Olympus, Motorola, Nike, Nokia, ABSOLUT and Pernod Riccard.

 

Writing and Directing

 

Always eager to expand their creative pallet, taking content off the page, Sally and Sarah began to experiment with commissioned video content, producing and directing documentaries with the likes of José Parlá, Futura 2000, WK Interact and Anthony Lister in collaboration with gallery and art dealers Elms Lesters Painting Rooms. They also wrote and directed a short love story ‘Take Me With You’ starring William Moseley and Chelsea Edge, narrated by Chuck D. Sally and Sarah were also commissioned to create films for Essie Nail Polish on Popsugar and creative work for Mercedes Benz.

 

Clothing

 

Picking up from their popular logo t-shirts of the ‘90s, worn by bands on television appearances including Top of the Pops and at major festival slots, Sally and Sarah created BLAG clothing. They designed and produced capsule collections of luxury made-to-order pieces featuring hand created artworks, including several in collaboration with Tom Hardy. The trio also designed an exclusive one-off collection for Selfridges Department Store, Men’s Contemporary in London, which sold out in its entirety.

 

Film & Television

 

From early spring 2017, Sally and Sarah began developing several film and television projects.

 

BLAG Today

 

Through BLAG, Sally and Sarah have supported and spurred on the careers of many of today’s most highly esteemed artists, giving life changing BLAG covers and features to those their publishing ‘peers’ wouldn’t dream of. BLAG boldly gave a young ?uestlove his debut cover, at a time when bikini clad supermodels and Hollywood icons were owning the style press. Questlove stated the cover “changed my life.”

 

With BLAG considered a best kept secret and “Vanity Fair’s Rebel Kid Sister” throughout the years, Sally and Sarah have quietly amassed an unprecedented cultural treasure trove of iconic work showcasing their photography, art direction, styling and legendary recordings. Too big for the confines of print, their work is now hosted via www.BLAGmagazine.com and longer form features on their deluxe content channel, www.BLAG.london.

 

 

BLAG covers include: André 3000, 50 Cent, Beastie Boys, Adrien Brody, Game, Cillian Murphy, Nelly Furtado, OutKast, Kasabian, James McAvoy, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, N*E*R*D, Rupert Grint, Franz Ferdinand, Julian Casablancas, Miike Snow, Slash, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Les Twins and Joey Bada$$. Features have included: Daft Punk, The Raconteurs, Amy Winehouse, Justice, MGMT, Phoenix, Malin Akerman, Ron English, Jeremy Renner, Andrew Garfield, Anthony Lister, Phil Frost, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Helen McCrory, Rizzle Kicks, Janelle Monáe and TroyBoi. Guest contributors to BLAG include: Chuck D, Questlove, Mark Ronson, Scott Weiland, Freddy Rodriguez, Mike D and The Game. Major BLAG.london stories include: Singer, Miguel, Artist, Daniel Arsham, Architect, Ben van Berkel and Chef, Michael Voltaggio.

 

To date the BLAG brand is still owned and operated purely by Sally A. Edwards and Sarah J. Edwards.

 

BLAG Timeline:

 

1992 - 1994

Style ‘zine

 

1998

Book Production

 

1999

Book Release UK/Europe

 

2000

Book Release Rest of the World

 

2003 - 2015

Glossy Magazine

2004 - 2008: Volume 2 Releases

2011 - 2015: Volume 3 Releases

 

2002 +

Magazine Website

BLAGmagazine.com

 

2009 +

Online Shop

BLAG.shop (originally WeAreBLAG.com)

 

2018 +

Premium Content Channel

BLAG.london

 

 

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