With a neon pink cover and a title named after a nut, we fell in love with PECAN the minute we came across it on Instagram (@pecanmag). Fast forward a few months, and we’re so honoured to be its first stockists in Singapore – and to have Chapter One as our fourth installation of MagSpy, no less. Each issue looks at a different city, but you’d be nuts (sorry, couldn’t help it) if you’re expecting a Top 10 list of places to visit. Just look at its take on Paris – you’ll find pages devoted to neon pink storefronts, vignettes of abandoned homes, scans of waxed paper bags formerly containing French pastries, ” that obligatory piece on coffee”, and so.much.more. PECAN’s editor Jaimie Stettin takes us through how the magazine came to be … and why you need to get your hands on Chapter One, stat.
PECAN is an unexpected name for a travel magazine. How did it come about?
The legend goes as such: a couple of years ago, my dear friend (now mag partner and PECAN designer) Hanah Chung and I were brunching at Suji’s in Seoul, discussing a handful of creative ideas. We had a slice of pecan pie for dessert, and from then on “pecan” became the catchall term for our ideas, or the name for our virtual folder of future creative projects. When this mag idea developed, it was a natural choice. We like to say that we’re like two pecans in a pie, serving you up slices of life around the world. In the early stages, we threw around things like “The Pecan Perspective,” but we tend to pare things down, and we settled on PECAN. We’d also briefly discussed using “L VE M TEL,” the name of our previous, single-issue publication based in Korea, but that was really a stand-alone thing. So, PECAN.
What is your vision for the magazine, and how did you arrive at it?
Our vision for the magazine evolved, and I think it will continue to do so. It’s part magazine, part art book, part guidebook. Each issue is a collection of creative work made by people who call (or called) the feature city home, effectively a “lyrical guidebook” to a place. PECAN is about sharing various visions of a city. Flipping through each issue or “chapter” should feel like you have a really cool friend or group of friends showing you around their city.
What is the selection criteria for the featured cities in each Chapter?
I’ll start off by saying that we have no official criteria. That said, we do like to pick cities that don’t usually get the kind of exposure and attention that they could. Take Paris for instance – yes, it’s a global tourist destination – but otherwise it’s known more for its past than its present and we wanted to show the world some 21st century Paris. Each year, we’ll keep to a nice, transcontinental spread and we will go where the wind and our whims take us. For our first year, we chose cities in which we have strong networks, and I think we’ll get bolder with every year.
Could you describe how the Paris issue came together?
The Paris issue was a whirlwind! We started seriously discussing PECAN in April 2014 while Hanah was visiting me in Paris. We did some scouting and brainstorming, then continued to work remotely for a bit. We reached out to the creatives we wanted to feature in Chapter One and things really started coming together in the summer when Hanah came back to Paris for a month. After that, there were many frenzied screenshares and googlehangs until I got to Seoul in early September. (That’s where we print and that’s where Hanah was at the time.) We stayed up late, sitting side by side, sipping matcha lattes, and finalising things. Hanah is amazing to work with. And we always have a good time when we work together. The last week before printing was crazy, of course, but we went to print! And we were pretty pleased with our mag. For more details on our PECAN adventure, read our blog: http://pecanpecan.com/journal/
Describe your own perfect day in Paris, including what activities it would entail, and the places you’d visit.
A perfect day in Paris for me is mostly walking, biking, and coffee. First though, I would start with a run to and through the lovely Buttes Chaumont park, followed by a morning coffee at Lomi in the 18th, with a book or with friends. Then, I’d bike to the 3rd for some wandering and thrifting among some of the oldest (and most medieval) parts of the city. If I didn’t cave and get a falafel on the Rue des Rosiers, I’d meander to the upper Marais and eat Moroccan or Japanese food at the Marché des Enfants Rouges. For coffee, I’d mosey over to Boot or Fondation and grab a coffee to go, then browse books and mags at 0fr and LO/A, and maybe see some galleries. I’d also head towards the canal to check out Artazart’s book selection. On the way, I’d definitely stop at Du Pain et Des Idees – one of the best bakeries in town – for a little treat, before walking along the canal and visiting the Iranian cultural center for a tea and a moment of peace and quiet. Eventually, I’d wind up at Prune for drinks with a friend, then have dinner somewhere around the canal. (Cambodian food or Italian pizza most likely.) And there’s always time for one more drink. Then, bonne nuit.
Magazine aside, which countries are on your must-go list for 2015?
Magazine aside, my 2015 will be exciting. First, Iceland! Heading to Reykjavik in January. And I’ll get to Portugal, finally. Those are definites. Otherwise, it’s time to explore more of France and I would not say no to another visit to Turkey. The summer would be a great time to visit Latvia or Estonia. I could go on…
What are some of your current favourite independent magazines?
There are so many amazing indie publications out there (which is why I read magazine blogs and frequent book stores). Of course, Cereal is a beautiful publication, and The Gentlewoman is a favourite. There’s also hello mr., Boys by Girls, apartamento, Pin-Up, Bad Day. In other words, I lovingly flip through many a magazine.
With a name like PECAN, we can only assume you’re a foodie at heart. What’s your favourite way to consume pecans?
Is pecan pie too obvious?