Making Science Sexy?
A brand new magazine has arrived with the expressed desire to “make science sexy”. Yes, welcome into the world, Mist magazine: a “quantum leap in the reinvention of how we as consumers perceive science.” Like many debutantes, announcing their first steps into society, it is young, ambitious and really rather brazen.
Editor and creator Ankit Love describes Mist as “a lady of crystal character, a refined beauty of mysterious potential.” With carefully chosen fonts and slick design, Mist pauses only on the beautiful models swathed by high-fashion designers and a high-fashion life. The content matches the design, with the initial issue covering, as promised, both fashion and science. Glossy geek chic shoots, Google Glass, Nike Bands, and 3D printing are all covered as expected. Science is explored in more depth through features on bees and the stem cell technology of bone regrowth. But the main focus is on cutting edge technology and high-end fashion.
This new project is clearly a major passion for Love. He tells me he’s producing a magazine for the future generation: a generation he sees as half-human, half-cyborg, and connected in the ether through a network of apps, technology and social media. He sees himself as helping to revolutionise the dispersal of new knowledge in a medium he sees as light, limitless and unbound by paper. “It’s a magazine for the meta-modern age,” says Love.
Does science need fashion to make it sexy?
But does science need fashion to make it sexy? Or is Mist using science to make fashion sexier? Certainly recent catwalk trends have embraced a scientific aesthetic. Christopher Kane’s AW 2013 collection, for example, features prints based on MRI brain scans. Many new designers have also embraced science in their creation of smart fabrics with medicinal properties, eco-friendly fibres and collections boasting electronic features. The likes of Hussein Chalayan have been incorporating the latest technological developments into fashion for years now.
And what is science getting in return? Mist is a woman-focused magazine and certainly there is a current desire to raise the profile of women in science. But do the women in science aspire to wear Swarovski-coated glasses in the lab? Apart from the obvious practical and health and safety issues, I suppose, why not?
With such an ambitious debut issue, the second, based on the theme of Discovery and Exploration, and expected in December, has a lot to live up to. If Love’s vision of the future turns out to be accurate, then it will be beautiful, wrapped in Louis Vuitton, and very expensive. Scientists may well have to rethink their trusty safety specs and baggy old white coats…