Q&A: Peter Lundgren of T-Post
Two of the most unstable industries, fashion and publishing, are in the midst of a fiscally motivated identity crisis and somehow, a Swedish start-up has managed to combine the two into a creative, bustling business. T-Post, an offbeat news magazine, sends an exclusively designed tee to subscribers along with their issue. Covers and spreads used to be the typical artistic interpretational route from editorial to art. T-Post prefers a more abstract approach, allowing readers to wear their issue’s mission, even when they’re nowhere near their mag. Peter Lundgren, Editor in Chief of T-Post, took time out of his busy day to tell LadyLUX the story behind the first t-shirt magazine.
LadyLUX: So how did T-Post start?
Peter Lundgren: The idea was born back in 2004. During that year it was just a fun project that we did in between other clients at our ad agency. I always saw great potential in the project, but realized that I needed to focus on it 100% to get it to take off. In the beginning of 2006, I handed over the agency to my partner so I was able to give T-post the attention it deserved. My goal was to not take any investors along the way. This left me with six months to get the number of subscribers from 300 to a 1000 to keep my job. After about two months we got a centerfold article in one of the biggest newspapers in the Netherlands. Soon thereafter, T-post got its own life in newspapers and on the internet.
How did you come up with the idea of combining print and tees?
PL: We just wanted to change the way we communicate news and a t-shirt seemed like an ideal media for doing so. Being a serious t-shirt junkie might have helped (he laughs).
Obviously T-Post is unique, what do you hope to bring to the table that other mags aren't?
PL: T-shirts inspire conversation. When you add a story behind them, you get people thinking. By combining a news magazine subscription with a t-shirt, we’re able to utilize the attention accustom to the “fashion world” while communicating interesting news topics. By putting the written story on the inside of the tee, just for the subscriber to read, the reader is really the one communicating the story and getting it to spread outside the T-post circle.
How do you choose the designers?
PL: We're keeping a constantly expanding library of who we think have the most interesting looks. When we've written the editorial piece then we choose which designer we think could best portray that particular story.
What subjects interest T-Post?
PL: The best stories for us are the ones that really engage people. When I read a story that I just can’t stop thinking of and want to grab someone off the street, simply to hear his or her opinion on it… Those are the kind of stories I'm striving to put on our issues.
What's your favorite “issue” and why?
PL: My all time favorite is our issue 51, Higher Education. We used a new technique called Augmented Reality to make the issue more interactive. It's the issue that has caused the most interaction and engagement out of all issues we've made so far.
What's interesting about issue 51?
PL: This issue is about how college education has taken a strange turn. From exotic dancer research and marijuana horticulture to popular TV show logic and, you guessed it, underwater basket weaving. College just isn't what it used to be. It used to be that sex, drugs, and recreation were extracurricular activities. Today, they are part of the actual coursework.
How is T-Post received in Sweden?
PL: We've gotten great local support and the response has been good not only in Sweden, but everywhere we go. We've been very fortunate that way. Today we're sending our issues to over 50 countries, but Sweden is by far our biggest market.
Q: How do you spread the word?
PL: We've always laid our focus on doing interesting and nice looking issues. I guess people have liked what we've done and they've told more people. We are yet to put our first advertisement.
Q: What do you anticipate for T-Post as it grows?
PL: Our next step is to give all fans the chance to suggest designers and news stories, and rate them live on the site. I'm not saying that it will be up to our subscribers to choose the topics and designers… But this will open the door and let them be part of the process.
Joanna Clay is the Senior Editor of LadyLUX. You can follow her @joannaclay.