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5 Minutes with our Heroes: Kirsty Allison

In the lead up to our From Zero to Hero! event on September 22nd at Rich Mix, we’re celebrating each of our panelists and speakers.

Next up, we have Kirsty Allison founder of the Sylvia Plath Fan Club, and editor & publisher of Cold Lips.  She is also the books, film and arts editor at DJ Magazine.

Give us your elevator pitch… 

Cold Lips is a beautiful proposition against gagged and bound society – there simply wasn’t the place to get commissions on the people I wanted to write about.  So I started something.  Cold Lips grew from my anti-literary night, the Sylvia Plath Fan Club, but pulls in the best people from fashion, art, and music.

Now explain it to your Mother in Law… 

It’s an Instagram-shaped zine, published with four different types of paper, in a kind of Paris 1969 student uprising / Situationist-style.  It gets compared to early i-D a lot.  (My mother in law and I split before the first edition, she’d never have got those last refs.) There are conversations, quotes, profiles, illustration, photography, writing, excerpts, art and portraits.  It’s deeply pro-female but features guys too, and is bought by a wide demographic.

What inspired you to start Cold Lips?


Who’s the team behind Cold Lips?

Jason McGlade is an amazing photographer. We worked together on the Making Something Out Of Nothing book for Red Gallery, and on other projects – so we know we work well together.  Also delighted that Kedge from Tomato stepped onboard as art director, we’ve worked on numerous art catalogues and projects – he bought in Laurence Dorrington and Ed Rivers who made it look amazing.  Total free reign to them.  Beyond that – brilliant writing, art, make-up and fashion from incredibly talented people.

Honoured to have an amazing intern currently, Angelica Barbarossa.  I buy her lunch in members clubs a day a week, before she goes to work…we’re looking forward to the next edition…

What’s your top tip for getting a project off the ground?


What can we expect to hear from you at our From Zero to Hero event?

Media and art are very separate things, without sponsorship, London is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, and survive in.  I see Cold Lips as art, although it takes in my experience of working in the media since I was a teenager…Doing something that relates to squat culture, in a culture where squatting is banned, means we’re in times when the printing press is more powerful than ever.  I believe we’re in similar times to when John Donne stood against licensing of any printed materials going to the church, this time around, the presses are zealously drowning the majority in consumer propaganda, so it’s good to be able to offer an alternative

…especially when digital content is such memeful prey, and again, what started as a horizontal medium is at war with people trying to sell us a lifestyle that supports the golden few.

I want to publish some more beautiful editions, and projects –  things which aren’t catered for elsewhere, but enable others in every way to do what they want.

You can find Kirsty on Twitter at @kirstyallison

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