OutKast, Beastie Boys, and Cillian Murphy are just some of the famous names to have graced the cover of BLAG magazine, but the glitz and gloss of the A-listers belie the publication’s more humble beginnings at an art college in Lincoln.
The brainchild of twin sisters, Sarah J. and Sally A. Edwards, BLAG began life as a fanzine in the early 1990’s as the pair studied at Lincoln Art College.
It was at the College, now a part of the University of Lincoln, UK, that Sarah and Sally were able to secure access to the photocopier that would spawn the first issues of BLAG; inspired by their studies in Fashion and Graphic Design, as well as contemporary deluxe glossy style magazines.
Alongside the magazine the pair began establishing careers in the music industry, with Sally becoming one industry’s youngest female television pluggers, securing debut television appearances for musicians such as At The Drive In and The Pharcyde. Meanwhile Sarah worked as a publicist for high profile artists including Public Enemy, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys and Muse.
When they weren’t working the pair turned to modelling, appearing in international issues of publications including GQ and Vogue, and the cover of Placebo’s platinum selling album, Without You I’m Nothing.
Having become firmly established within the industry, the sisters were also able to begin BLAG’s next chapter; evolving it from a cut and paste ‘zine to a glossy mag. Having found their own unique style and voice within the industry it wasn’t long before the magazine started selling internationally and became known as a publication willing to support now major artists with covers and features.
With BLAG going from strength to strength, the twins were able to undertake further creative pursuits, including DJing for a variety of A-list launches and afterparties, as well as writing and photography; with Sally securing major features in Flaunt, i-D, and NME, and Sarah receiving photography commissions from the likes of Rolling Stone, Vibe, and Dazed.
Reflecting on her highlights of working on BLAG, Sally said: “Every time we decide on a cover star, I love seeing it come to fruition, like Adrien Brody in Paris and James McAvoy in London. I thoroughly enjoy the entire production, getting to meet and work with so many creative people, there’s nothing like it.”
Sarah added: “I’ve had more fun on shoots and interviews than I could ever imagine. Laughing until you cry with some many fun artists, which you’d never expect. OutKast were so much fun, our friends Beastie Boys, we were all in stitches. That’s what it’s about, the entertainment and the pure joy. They’re the rewards of all the hard work of a production.”
With an impressive body of work now behind them and with BLAG recently hitting it’s 30 year anniversary, Sarah and Sally are celebrating by issuing three retrospective books, collecting the Best Of their work since starting the publication and looking back on the highlights of having worked with some of the biggest names in music, art, and cinema.
Editions focused on Art and Hip Hop are currently available and will soon be followed up by a further book on Music.
As for what’s next for the two of them, the pair said: “We’re relaunching the print edition of BLAG magazine, since lockdown made it impossible! We also have some original stories covering urgent matter that affect us all. We will be presenting these in unique and very creative ways.”
Cover Photo: Sarah (Left) and Sally (Right)