Stephen Malbon at Frank 151


Stephen Malbon at Frank 151

"Frank 151" is a free booklet being read globally and is based in New York, issued four times a year. On every issue, they have a guest curator, and has continued to introduce lifestyles and cultures of all around the world from a unique point of view for more than 10 years. Today, we have got to interview the founder Stephen Malbon! He told us how "Frank 151" started, his success story and his future plans.

ーFirst tell us how Frank 151 started.

Stephen:I used to live in Atlanta, Georgia and I took an electronic print class at an art school. In class, I learned how to make magazines on computers but we made files of magazines just for practice. At the time in Atlanta, there wasn't any magazines that would cover under ground music and cool art scenes, so I decided to make one for the school. Then eventually for general.  Frank 151 is my first layout project in art school. My major was Visual Communication / Graphic Design. I started Frank 151 in 1999.

ーWhere does the name Frank 151 come from?

Stephen:When I was thinking of the name, I couldn't come up with anything cool so I talked to my sister Katherine about it. I was thinking of a random name like Frank or Tony. But my sister told me that the name "Frank" has many meanings. For example, "Frankly speaking", "Benjamin Franklin", Frank White (the main character of "King of New York")" etc. I really liked the name Frank and I didn't really think ahead. Actually it was just an art project for my school. But when I think about it now, I'm glad I named it Frank and it's an easy name to remember. Number "151" is the address where Frank 151 started when I lived in Atlanta (151 Standish Avenue Apartment 1).

I started the magazine in 1999 and at first, it was distributed only in Atlanta. But I sent samples to NY and LA to get advertisements. Especially because LA has many surfing and skateboarding companies. As a result, people in NY and LA liked it more than the people in Atlanta. I thought this magazine was a good product but I wasn't targeting the right people. So now, it's not only Atlanta. And then, I moved to New York in 2003.

ーWhat other countries besides US are you distributing the book to?

Stephen:Besides LA and NY, Tokyo, Seoul, Sidney, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Our office is based in NY, but now we have branches in Tokyo, LA and Barcelona.

ーThat's around the world! We have a distribution in Japan but when did you start the business in Japan and how did it start?

Stephen:Around 2000, my friends Futura, SSUR, Greg from Situation Normal and etc. had street wear brands. They were based in NY but sold a lot in Japan. I sold T-shirts in Japan at first too. We send the books directly from China to Japan. I've been having business in Japan for quite a long time. I think I started in 2004 when I moved to NY.


DATE : 04.10.2012 | CATEGORY : CULTURE @en