The Story Behind Alister Mackie’s New Project, The Leopard

The stylist and creative director of Another Man discusses The Leopard, which brings together cult artists and people working today in a beautiful celebration of queer life

Alister Mackie is an integral part of the Dazed family. He began his career at Dazed & Confused and, some 15 years ago, launched Another Man with Dazed Media’s co-founder Jefferson Hack – which he still presides over as creative director, in addition to styling and consulting for fashion houses including Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen.

Today, he’s launching a new and separate project called The Leopard which, in its first iteration, takes the form of a magazine printed in a limited edition run of 1,500 copies. Working with Dazed’s art director Jamie Andrew Reid and writer Liam Hess, who came in as editor, The Leopard is the fruit of over a year of labour and a truly beautiful publication.

“It started out as a scrapbook,” he says, surveying proofs from the issue in his studio in Islington. Obviously, it’s more complex than that. Beginning as a zine, the finished product is more like annual, filled with self-portraits, stories, archive art, illustration, creative writing, and interviews – all aimed at celebrating queer life “in all of its creative, sensuality and DIY glamour”.

“I felt like there was a community on Instagram and I wanted to bring that together,” Mackie explains, “and that a nice way to do that was to bind it together in print.” This community, he says, includes the likes of Slovakian artist Andrej Dubravsky and British stylist Ibrahim Kamara, as well as photographers Michael Bailey Gates, Sharna Osborne, Brett Lloyd, Ethan James Green and Ryan McGinley.

In a special collaboration with @lgbt_history, the Instagram account run by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, McGinley has photographed a number of antique badges for the issue, pinning them to his own clothes and shooting them like that. “Those are guys I might never meet,” says Mackie of @lgbt_history. “But this was a way to connect.”

There’s also a feature with cult Swiss artist Luciano Castelli, who is known for his Cindy Sherman-like self-portraiture. Though Castelli and FMR editor Franco Maria Ricci belong to a different generation, they operate in a very similar spirit to Dubravsky et al – something that Mackie is keen to emphasise. “What I’m doing is drawing a line between this cult artwork or artists from the 70s, and what people are doing right now,” he says. “I’ve asked Michael Bailey-Gates to send us a self-portrait. It’s interesting that he used himself in a similar way to Luciano Castelli, though they’re decades apart.”

At its heart, The Leopard is, as Mackie says a scrapbook; a homage to the golden age of independent publishing, yes, but one firmly rooted in the present too; a rare object of beauty in what can sometimes feel like quite a bleak media landscape.

Launching on December 12, 2018, The Leopard will be available from Boutique Mags and distributed to specialist bookstores internationally.