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In Conversation With


16 Jul 2020

 We recently had the pleasure of shooting with Dominique Malinowska @berrymalinowska who is the owner of Disco Magazine. She’s also a Stylist, Art Director and an all round Girl Boss! We just had to catch up with her for a quick Q&A just for you guys as she’s one inspirational lady!

When do you start Disco magazine?

I started The Disco Mag last year as my final major project at university. My original idea failed and I had an hour to come up with something new, so I decided to work on a more personal project which I would enjoy rather than something which would look good for the examiners. I submitted it in May and then redesigned during the summer to officially launch by the end of it.

Who works on the magazine and how long does each magazine take from start to finish?

The Disco originated as a mostly a one woman show. After releasing the first issue two of my closest friends got involved, Kamila who does all the text editing and Wojciech who is my right hand in terms of all the shoots and creative decisions. They are an excellent addition to the team.  Time wise, it would be possible to finish it within two months but considering that we all have other jobs, we give ourselves five to six months per issue. In the end we always have delays due to people suddenly not answering emails but for us it’s just a part of the learning process.

What made you decide to do print rather than digital?

Personally I’m quite anti all that fancy technology. I love traditional media and the tactility of print and paper. What I loved about magazines was the fact that they are an experience, and being able to hold it, is a major part of experiencing the content inside. For me the whole process of printing is another exciting part, you never know how the images will print, whether the colours will look like you want them to look. I always get a bit of an adrenaline kick when we receive the magazines from the printers.

What’s been your favourite feature / shoot you have worked on for the magazine so far? 

It’s hard to have a favourite because everything we shot was 100% my creative vision. In issue #1 we shot my friend May in a rented airbnb. She has this rare rock n roll personality that transferred so well into the photos. I usually hate shooting on locations because of the logistics but this was an amazing experience. From issue #2 it was definitely the interview with Mia Williams the owner of MadSeventies. She’s just an amazing personality, the interview went so smoothly and there’s nothing better than featuring inspiring people.

What advice would you give to others wanting to start there own independent magazine?

Just do it! I always wanted to start a magazine but my experience in London and in the industry made me think that it’s just impossible. My lecturers thought this magazine would fail but I did it anyways and here we are at issue #2. In the end I always have an open approach and if something doesn’t work out, at least you would have learned a valuable lesson for the future. I think the key to success is to be fully involved in the magazine, I see so many people starting new titles and then never releasing the second issue or not being active in between issues. A lot of people expect to sell 1000 copies of their first issue but it rarely happens and you shouldn’t get discouraged by this.

Secondly, find a team of people who share the same interest and are willing to put their heart out into this magazine. It can get extremely lonely if you try to do something this big by yourself. At the same time something I’m really bad at, but networking!!! It’s extremely hard to get your magazine out there if no one knows who you are or never heard about the magazine. Go to panels, talks, zine fairs, launch events and just have a chat with everyone.

We know your a huge vintage fan and you have the most beautiful style, when and how did you first get into buying vintage?

I’m from the Tumblr generation so my main vintage inspirations came from there. I was always into the idea of vintage but being from Poland I don’t think we had a single proper vintage store in the country, at the same time “second-hand” clothing had a rather negative opinion back then. I think I was about 13 when I discovered vintage shops in Paris when visiting my aunt and my whole experience started with 3 pairs of vintage Levi’s shorts in black, navy and blue. After Paris I discovered Brick Lane, charity shops, Depop and eBay.

What era would you say most influences you and why? 

Definitely the late 60’s / early 70’s . Probably because of the music scene of the time. Music was always my thing and reading biographies of musicians (or their groupies) got me really obsessed with the whole vibe and style. I am a huge daydreamer so the idea of living in this carefree community of likeminded creatives was something that always resonated with me.

Who’s your muse past or present?

Barbara Hulanicki, founder of Biba. As much as I love the stories of groupies and their style, Barbara was the ultimate girlboss. Also as a Polish woman myself it’s incredibly important to have another Polish woman that I can relate to from the whole 60’s/70’s crowd. She’s an absolute icon and made history by something she created rather than by dating another rock’n’roll star. It would be an absolute dream to meet her one day, I’m sure we would click straight away.

What’s your favourite piece / pieces in your wardrobe?

I got this funky blue suede jacket with a cowboy fringe last year for £5 on ebay and have been obsessed with it ever since. It just has such an unusual colour of blue and makes all outfits look instantly cool. Because I’m not the tallest gal I also really cherish my Free People flares, might be because that’s the only pair that fits me but they really have an amazing retro bell bottom and I could honestly sleep in them, that’s how comfortable they are.

What’s next in the pipeline for you and for the magazine?

We just released issue #2 so we’re having a bit of a break to gather new inspirations and ideas, so that we can start working on the next issue around January.  At the moment, we are developing the digital side of it as we realised that we also want to be a destination for promoting all creatives who have a retro/vintage style. It’s so hard to get your work out there these days, so we just want to offer a space where we can publish everyones editorials or other creative projects. Personally, this year is all about The Disco Mag for me, finishing my masters degree and figuring out what’s next for me. The whole industry can be very stressful and confusing so I’m just taking it slow for a change and we’ll see what happens.

Grab your copy of the magazine HERE 


Photography: Morgane Maurice @morganetheunicorn_photography
Model: Dominique Malinowska @berrymalinowska
Location: Battersea Flower Station, London @batterseaflowerstation
Styling: Naomi Hession @naomihession 
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