The Rake: A Real Style Magazine

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Finally. A magazine that professes to be about men’s style and actually dedicates most of its content to that topic.

Finally. A magazine that takes men’s style seriously enough to include a regular section on tailoring, how it works and how it should fit.

Finally, a magazine for me.

The Rake, a new magazine launched from Singapore at the end of last year, fills many of the gaps in menswear journalism that I have bemoaned on several occasions – most specifically in the post No Magazines for Me.

Indeed, it was that post that spurred editor Christian Barker to send me the first two issues of The Rake, explaining that similar feelings about menswear journalism had led him to launch it.

Christian asked me for some feedback, so hear it is.

The Academy section, which tackled the shape and tailoring of a coat in the first issue and trousers in the second, shows some good depth and benefits enormously from Scott Schuman’s photographs, on licence from The Sartorialist website. Let’s face it, very few if any magazine photo shoots are as inspiring as Scott’s street photography.

The commissioned shoots are pretty good too though. I was a particular fan of the Richard Anderson Glen plaid suit with pink stripe apparently owned by the staff of The Rake. And thank God that, unlike every ‘fashion’ magazine, you can actually see the clothes.

The profile of Anderson & Sheppard did something more than just sing the tailor’s praises, which was refreshing. Most profiles sound like they were written by the company in question and wouldn’t be out of place in their marketing material.

While this A&S piece didn’t actually criticise the tailor in any way, it did feel free enough to poke fun at the tailor’s snooty past and suggest to readers that the English-drape house style may not be for them.

Equally, the personal experience of having bespoke Berluti shoes made was a nice way in to a profile of the company and the product. A personal recommendation means so much more than an interview or marketing puff, and will nearly always have a unique slant on the topic. Here, that angle was the parallel between creating shoes and creating watches.

Another unique column is the Pocket Guide – what one stylish man carries around in his pockets. Honest, personal and no puff in sight.

The one constructive criticism I would make is that there is little opinion in The Rake. Good journalism is intelligent and investigative on the one hand, and opinionated on the other (in news and columns, respectively).

Menswear is full of opinions and disagreement, as the various online forums attest. But little of it is intelligent, eloquent and entertaining. At most it is one of these, in turns. An opinionated column, by someone with obvious knowledge of the subject and an ability to turn a phrase, would be welcome. Why driving shoes are so inelegant, for example, or Why bright socks are for people without personality.

As with newspaper columns, arguments like this would be interesting even if you disagreed with the point. Indeed, they may be more interesting as they force you to consider why you hold a particular view. How much of it is rational and how much a product of the people that surround you?

There is some puff in The Rake – the column Cherchez La Femme and the profile of Ermenegildo Zegna Couture for example. The latter spends most of a full page trying to find different ways to say ‘this suit fits like a glove’ again and again.

But it is a great magazine. Extremely high production values, a lot for your money and finally, something that takes classic style seriously.

The magazine is bi-monthly (every two months, rather than twice a month – strictly speaking that phrase can mean either) and distributed in Hong Kong and Singapore at present. It costs SGD10, roughly US$6.50.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.

Comments

  1. Thom says:

    Is this all in English?

  2. Simon Crompton says:

    Yes, it is Thom.

    Simon

  3. Chris says:

    Now

    How can I get my hands on these….I bought EX in the past but not being able to understand Japanese….this would be perfect

  4. Chris says:

    I leave in Australia that is….as such my question

  5. Simon Crompton says:

    Hi Chris – I don’t know much about the magazine’s distribution outside Hong Kong and Singapore, but I know the editor, Christian, reads this website so he can fill in the details.

    If I hear elsewhere I will also post the information here

    Simon

  6. Christian Barker @ The Rake says:

    Firstly, Simon, immense thanks for the wonderful write-up, your balanced, considered constructive criticism and feedback. I shall email you shortly to discuss the matters you raised.
    Chris, Thom, and anyone else interested in learning more about The Rake, subscribing/obtaining copies and so forth, do not hesitate to email me: christian@revolution-press.com

    –Christian