New independent magazines are fairly common, but few people try
launching a glossy, high-quality style and design magazine without the
weight of a big publishing company behind them.
Unfazed, 27-year-old Canadian Tyler Brule has done just that. The first
issue of the bi-monthly Wallpaper hit newsstands two weeks ago screaming
class, impeccable contacts, and top-notch advertising on each of its 162
There isn’t an inch of chintz to be found in any of the immaculately
styled pages which credit the manufacturers for every product used in
the shoots, including the shirts on the back of the models reclining in
designer chairs and the Harvey Nichols designer food. Everyone gets a
Wallpaper is a celebrity-free zone - no houses of the rich and famous
here - except of course for editor-in-chief Brule’s whose lounge room is
featured on page 69. Indeed, it was his Chelsea house that inspired the
launch of Wallpaper. The idea came to Brule when he spent a year
recovering from gunshot wounds he received in both arms while covering a
popular culture story on Medecin Sans Frontiers in Afghanistan.
‘I was sitting at home recovering, flicking through magazines and there
was nothing that talked to me - I didn’t have dogs, a Range Rover parked
in the drive, I didn’t live in the country - apart from Elle Decoration
there was very little that appealed,’ he says. ‘There were a lot of gaps
in the market, but I thought I could fill them with one magazine.
Wallpaper is for people in their 30s who have a cupboard full of the
right clothes, but who are more interested in their environment than
what they wear.’
The ravages of Afghanistan seems a long way from the excess of a style
magazine. But Brule has packed a lot into his seven years in journalism,
carving out a niche as a popular culture writer on issues as wide
ranging as Beirut, the Paris and Milan fashion show and Russian
prostitutes in Dubai.
Brule dropped out of Toronto College, where he was studying political
science and journalism, to take a job on BBC 2’s Reportage as a
researcher. His six months was followed by other short stints, including
Elle and, significantly, series editor of a design and popular culture
programme on European Business News. ‘It was an amazing time to
network,’ he says.
Future issues will be beefed up with popular culture reportage and more
travel pages, because he ‘feels cheated by the two to three travel pages
in Vogue’. He has no plans to go monthly, believing that a 200 page bi-
monthly gives readers ‘something to look forward to’. He also wants his
company, Wallpaper Media, to become an international brand and says he
is interested in moving into contract publishing.
For a man used to changing country and jobs every couple of months,
Brule admits that being saddled with a company and staff is ‘quite
terrifying and a frightening responsibility’. The burden should be eased
by having a magazine that allows him to exercise his passions of pop
culture writing, travel, food and interiors.
1989 Reporter, Reportage
1990 Researcher, Good Morning America
1991 Bureau chief, London, Fox Television.
1992 Contributing editor, Elle
1995 Series editor, EBN
1996 Founder and editor-in-chief, Wallpaper