Orienteer is the brainchild of Jack West and Rory Griffin, two London-based creatives with an eye for editorial and functional clothing. The self-styled ‘Mapazine’ is, as the name implies, something of a hybrid between a magazine and a map—a format that lends itself naturally to Orienteer’s outdoor theme. To celebrate the launch of Issue 3, we got in touch to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.
Garbstore: First things first, could you introduce yourselves and give a summary of Orienteer for those who aren’t already in the know?
J: I'm Jack and I'm a stylist from London. Orienteer Mapazine is essentially a magazine focusing on outdoor activities, fashion, and lifestyle. It takes the shape of an OS map that has to be folded out and can be viewed in lots of different ways.
R: I’m Rory and I’m a freelance photographer from just outside of London. The Mapazine was inspired by vintage OS maps to give it a nostalgic feel of exploration and finding new adventures, and also to encourage people to get outdoors. Although we are quite fashion orientated, we also include lifestyle pieces and interviews.
Garbstore: How did the two of you meet, and also, how did each of you become interested in outdoor clothing in the first place?
J: Rory and myself have known each other for quite a while and used to see each other out and about at events, but we became a lot closer when we went to university together, which is where we came up with the idea for Orienteer. For me, I’ve always been interested in outdoor clothing and how it's used by different subcultures for activities that are, a lot of the time, outside of what the clothes are actually designed for.
R: We were studying fashion together at university where our ideas collided, and Orienteer was born. Although we didn’t know it at the beginning, the magazine was already brewing from our first projects, which were based on London subcultures and outdoor/sportswear fashion. I used to be part of a Scout group when I was younger and I grew up on a canal boat, so I’ve always been immersed in the outdoors. I lost touch with it for a while but then regained an interest and started visiting Snowdonia and Scotland when I could drive.
Garbstore: We really like the Mapazine layout, and the design is reminiscent of the way in which a lot of legendary graphic designers like Barney Bubbles and Storm Thorgerson have played with the format of gatefold record sleeves. Be it non-fashion publications or the work of other graphic designers, do you take much inspiration from further afield? Also, how did you settle on the Mapazine concept itself?
J: We knew we wanted to do a publication that focused on the outdoors, and we really wanted to think of new ways to push this concept further—not just with the content inside the publication, but also with the layout. I remember looking at a book by Ed Ruscha called Every Building on the Sunset Strip, which could be viewed either by flicking through the pages like a book or fully folded out. This guided us to start looking at old OS and A-Z maps and how they folded out when you opened them. We thought this could be a really cool way to present Orienteer.
R: It was key that we could share something very relatable, tangible and nostalgic so that whoever picks up the Mapazine instantly links it to some kind of emotion. I love the way that there is a real wear and tear to maps. Each Mapazine is hand-folded, so each one is unique. We hope they will be collectibles for some whilst others use them as posters on their walls.
Garbstore: There’s something charmingly DIY and zine-like to that handmade aspect of Orienteer. Did either of you grow up with an interest in zine culture, and is Orienteer your first foray into the world of indie publishing?
J: I’ve always been interested in magazines and smaller print publications like zines, as a lot of my friends make them. Orienteer is my first time going into print and indie publishing. It’s been really fun so far but has definitely had its challenges. It took us a long time to find the right printers.
R: I have always loved magazines and zines. I really live for print media and we want to keep it alive!
Garbstore: On the topic of styling, are there any brands that you find yourselves returning to frequently, or, more generally, any brands that you feel like more people should get to know?
J: There are a few brands I always find myself going back to, like Arc’teryx and Klattermusen, but since doing Orienteer, it’s been really great discovering and learning about loads of upcoming designers and brands that focus on or reference the outdoors in some way. In Issue 3, we feature the upcoming designer Jean-Luc, whose clothes we really love.
R: Like Jack mentioned, Jean-Luc is one to watch for sure! Another one to watch is Middle Distance by Robert Newman, whom we worked with on Issue 1.
Garbstore: For Issues 1 and 2 you pledged 20% of the proceeds to charities, the first for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and the second for FareShare. Considering the way in which you also focus on promoting the work of other designers and creatives, the magazine seems almost like a community-minded passion project more than anything else. What kind of work do each of you do alongside the magazine, and do you envisage Orienteer becoming a primary focus of yours in the future?
J: I think that ‘community’ feel is something we really want to continue pushing forward in any way we can. It’s important to highlight issues happening outside of the magazine and help where possible. Outside of Orienteer, I’m a freelance stylist, which goes hand in hand with the magazine, as I work hands-on with a lot of the shoots we do. A lot of our time goes into Orienteer, so it’s already becoming a primary focus, and we hope to also do more projects not specifically for the magazine but just together as well.
R: You hit the nail on the head really! We would love to keep building a community around us. Everyone is so helpful and enthusiastic—it's great. Through art and fashion, we should all be able to come together and help each other.
Garbstore: Be it the British countryside or the Tube, you’ve made use of both natural and urban environments in past editorials. We'd be interested to hear what your favourite outdoor spots are here in the UK.
J: Orienteer is about showing that the outdoors means different things to different people. You can get this feel of exploration in many different ways, with some places often being more accessible than people think. This is why we've tried to use different locations for editorials like the ones you’ve mentioned. For Issue 3, we shot an editorial in the Lake District at the Old Man Of Coniston—this quickly became one of my favourite outdoor spots in the UK.
R: Haha that’s a good one! I’m always encouraging people to get outdoors, whether it be city trails or nature hikes. I love Rickmansworth, which is where I’m from—very close to London and great nature spots. I also love the Cairngorms, Snowdon, Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor, Peak District, Lake District and New Forest. The one I would suggest everyone to visit, thoughh, is Dartmoor. There’s something quite breathtaking and mystical about it.
Garbstore: Can you say a few words on some of the features inside Issue 3, and also, looking ahead, are there any future plans/projects we can look forward to?
J: We recently produced a campaign for Berghaus Dean Street. We’re really excited for people to see it and it should be out soon!
R: Yeah, we can’t wait. We worked with some great people on it and it was good fun.
@orienteermapazine Issue 3, is out now