A chat with Becky Smith of Twin magazine and studio
Having left university with a degree in graphic design, Becky Smith honed her skills at magazines like i-D, Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper* and Elle, including a significant stint after i-D at British Vogue. From there, she went on to launch the magazine Lula in 2004.
Within five years of starting Lula, Becky had founded a second magazine, Twin. Twin is a beautifully produced hardback biannual fashion, culture, art and photography magazine. In parallel, Becky set up Twin Studio, an independent creative agency for fashion and art-driven brands, which has worked with clients including Victoria Beckham Beauty, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Stella McCartney.
Becky’s personal skill set includes graphic design, creative direction, film-making and digital content creation.
We caught up with Becky to find out more about the many strings on her bow.
Which came first, an interest in design or one in fashion?
Did you always have a sense that the way things were presented was important?
100%. It’s a disease like OCD that eats you up and keeps you awake at night.
How did you get your first break into working in graphic design?
i-D magazine assisting Edward Enninful who was Fashion Director. I was also helping in the art dept too with small design and research tasks. Also getting the coffee, obviously!
Had you always intended to work in magazines?
Yes, I was totally obsessed – and still am.
How important was working at Vogue in defining your sense of aesthetics?
It was a great start. To work with the best contributors, photographers, stylists and artists. It was also so cool to have Kate Moss just pop in! I started as a designer but learnt photography through the still lives, then I did the beauty sections. I worked on every part eventually. Understanding the power of minimalism and the importance of a good edit was a key lesson. I also made a lot of good friends there. That remain great friends.
Did Lula lead directly to you deciding to start Twin magazine?
I had copyright issues at Lula – where I had designed logos and collateral that was taken from me. I was burnt by the situation, but it was a great learning lesson for later in life and for bigger licensing projects I have come across more recently.
Basically it’s always good to have a lawyer – because if you are creative people try to steal from you.
What made you decide to start both a magazine and a design studio under the name Twin?
The two things are totally symbiotic. With the magazine we work with the world’s biggest brands. From the magazine we get offered paid work which makes the studio exist. Both are needed to work hand-in-hand in the current climate.
How much of your personal sense of style and design underpins the magazine and the agency?
A lot. You are essentially hired for living and breathing your own brand. YOU! I can be a chameleon depending on who the collaborator or client is. Fashion, beauty or tech… I can adapt and change to get the job done – and essentially make sure everyone is happy. That’s the sign of a good job. :))
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
Minimal, less is more, pared-back elegance. Sometimes bold and powerful at heart. Adaptable depending on the brief. Always passionate!
Creative direction by Becky Smith (Twin Studio)
Model Aweng Ade-Chuol (IMG Models) shot by Hans Neumann.
Styling by Flora Huddart, Alfie Sackett, Erin Green, Julia Dias Culietta, Clémence Orozco Bello, Lock Studios.