Dylan Jones

As editor of GQ magazine Dylan Jones is eminently qualified to comment on consumer, venue and style trends. Sat Bal chatted to him as he prepared to host the '09 Birmingham Style Awards. Topics included  the TV series Mad Men, the desirability of uniform...and a much-missed (by Dylan) band called Devil Bitch.

SB - Give us your view on iconic style.

DJ - I've always liked the mavericks with natural style who dress traditionally. Simple, direct and classic style. I'm a great advocate of people dressing smartly and I think it's great that people wear uniforms. Whether it's suits, uniforms in offices , the service industry or shop assistants I love the uniform look.

I think the coolest people at the moment are the ones who dress the guys on Mad Men. It’s the best looking show on televsion and probably the best written too. You only have to compare how they dress to other actors in programmes to see the difference. The clothes must be custom-made and they look beyond cool.

SB - What led to you hosting the Style Awards?

DJ - The organisers asked me to do the presenting and it was nice to be asked. I think this building, the  Birmingham Town Hall, is magnificent. I know that it's had a great deal of money spent on it. I think I was last in Birmingham on a project with David Cameron a couple of years ago.

SB - Does GQ  magazine often encounter provincial style? 

DJ - The short answer is 'yes'. We travel a lot for various reasons; political conferences, literary festivals and venue launches. I've been to Manchester twice this year, Newcastle, Cheltenham and, of course, we're in Birmingham now. I stayed at the Malmaison last time and that was a great hotel. I first came to Birmingham in 1985 when we had a night for i-D magazine. The city's changed beyond recognition.

There's a perception that magazines like GQ are very Londoncentric and to a certain extent that’s true and unavoidable but I think we need to go out of our way to see whats going on around the country, especially now. 

SB - Why is it so imperative now? 

DJ - Because the High Street so strong now compared to 10 years ago. Back then it was known for ripping off designers. Now so much great stuff comes from the High Street that it has its own identity and isn’t catwalk based. Power concentration isn’t healthy and you could say that London was a poor relation to Milan etc. but now it's undergone rejuvenation and become important again. If something's in Top Shop or H&M in London then the same item will be available across the nation.

SB - Did you find that style was an intrinsic part of Devil Bitch?
DJ – (Laughs) How did you know about that?? I started  Devil Bitch around 25 years ago. It was a heavy-metal band and I can't believe that songs like Love is a Machete didn't get due recognition. But we’re coming back, we're going to reform so watch out!
In that world (heavy metal) it's important to look the same as everone else, every day of  the year.

SB - So it's back to uniform?

DJ - Yes, it's always back to uniform!

The CV:

Dylan studied design and photography at Chelsea School of Art and St. Martins School of Art in London before becoming the editor of i-D magazine in 1984. 

1984: i-D, Editor

1987: The Face, Contributing Editor

1988: Arena, Editor

1992: The Observer Magazine, Associate Editor

1993: The Sunday Times Magazine, Associate Editor

1996: The Face, Arena, Arena Homme Plus, Group Editor

1997: The Sunday Times, Editor-At-Large

1999: GQ, Editor


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