Self-proclaimed mermaid with the winged-eyeliner, Esme Rose, creator of Hook Magazine – a zine that is culturally awakening and raw; the first issue, The Tarot, she describes it as “Magic, future and anti-establishment.” At 16, she created a fashion blog (also called Hook), where she started reporting on catwalk shows and the good, the bad and the ugly of fashion. The launch issue is one as mystical as the illustrations by Meryl Ranzer inside; featuring Anna Wise, who has worked alongside Kendrick Lamar – and the owner of the coolest tattoo parlour in Sheffield, Hannah Pixie Snowden. In the words of Esme Rose: “This issue is a fuck you to fashion’s hierarchies and a hello to something I actually care about.”
Who are you?
I am currently a student, but I’ve always sort of had my head and heart set on doing a lot things outside of my course. In a way doing fashion journalism has always been secondary to what I have wanted to do, which has always been making a magazine. But its never hindered that, always worked alongside making a magazine, it has really helped me this year. 
Who is your favourite fashion designer and why?
Anyone that knows me knows that Vivienne Westwood is my favourite fashion designer. She is just a revolutionary in her own right. She’s an activist; her activism is like ever-changing, she started off with the Punk movement and she has moved onto climate change, she is tackling everything. She’s just an icon, I know that’s such an overused phrase, but it can be quite misused, but she is just a national treasure; she is just a legend really. I cried when I met her. And I probably will every time I meet her, if I hopefully get to meet her again.
Are you inspired by other magazines?
As a general rule, I’m very inspired by the zine community because it welcomed me where high publications have not. I have always been inspired by Mushpit, Sister and Polyester. I’ve been looking at zine archives and it is interesting to see where they have been inspired from. It is all a cycle. They are what I aspire to be.
What is your favourite magazine?
My favourite magazine is probably Sabat – they’re last issue was stunning visually, they had this flip book effect that illustrated the different phases of the moon when you flicked through the issue. The content in itself is the biggest attraction for me though: spirituality, witchcraft and all my biggest loves. I also love The Mushpit because it’s the magazine that basically gave me the courage to start my own. It’s political yet silly and basically the perspective you need to survive in this mad ass publishing world.
What is your favourite film?
The Little Mermaid and Interstellar; a mix between the ocean and space. Two kinda gulfs that fascinate me but also two things I feel really connected to. Who knew I could give deep reasoning behind The Little Mermaid.
You have a very bright and exquisite wardrobe. Where is your favourite places to shop?
I buy 90% of my clothes from eBay or Depop. I struggle to ever find anything I like when I’m out shopping or um-and-ah too much so I’m better off going out on a whim and buying something second hand that probably won’t end up fitting me. I just bought an amazing woollen Sadie Williams skirt in two sizes too small, so I’m looking forward to that mission. Trying not to preach Dame Viv, but I think it’s also very important to reuse.
Have you ever felt you had to hide behind alter egos and big concepts?
I’ve never tried to hide or sugar-coat who I really am or what my work is about. I think The Tarot Issue of Hook might've shocked a few people who've had preconceived ideas about me and my true interests but really, I flipped it and put something out that is solely myself and what I really care about. I think there’s this misconception a few people might have, who’ve known me in the past or whatever that I’m this big fashion girl, and yeah, I probably once was but you have to let go of things if they aren't your true passion anymore otherwise things become unenjoyable. So I don't think I've ever had to put on a facade with my work. If at any time it’s come across that way, it’s really not the case, I just become more and more comfortable in my own skin and with who I am to peal back another layer of me for the world to see; ones that have always been there. If you don’t know, don't worry.
What is a misconception of Yorkshire, where you are from?
I’m from a tiny weeny place that sits in between Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, so basically in the middle of fucking nowhere. No misconceptions, we call dinner ‘tea’, yes.
When did fashion interest you? And how is it different from North of England compared to London?
I think like most people in the game, fashion has always interested me. I don't remember a time it didn’t. I remember one fashion week I was walking down the corridors at school, weaving in and out of people, not looking up from my phone because I was live streaming Miu Miu from Paris. I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed a difference between north and south in the way people actually dress but then I’ve never really taken much notice of what’s trendy and where. I’ve probably had more funny looks in the Wetherspoons back home than I do here in London, but it’s never fazed me – I still dress exactly the same and have exactly the same attitude wherever I am.
Are there any future projects you are working on?
I’m cracking on with the second issue of Hook – The Healing Issue. I’m really excited to really consume myself in it all and get loads of people I admire involved. So far, it’s pretty deep but I’ve got some weird shoots and piss-takes planned too. It’s all about the awakening of who you really are, mainly through spiritual, mystical and energy practice. If any other collaborations come in the mean time, I’m all ears.
What past projects have you worked on?
2016 was mainly about creating Hook so I could take my time and put something out I was really proud of. It had to be right being a brand new publication or people won’t put their money into something they don't believe in. I had to be confident about my concept for it to be a success. I did some zine fairs which were amazing to meet so many interesting and wonderful faces who I now consider friends. I think the zine community honestly restored my faith in not only fashion and publishing but in a world that’s currently so full of distress and malign. Before that, I was just running Hook’s website posting all sorts of musings from fashion show reviews to articles talking about fashions that look like food. See for yourself.
What got you into fashion?
If I had to pinpoint a moment, it would be when I first saw John Galliano Autumn/Winter 2009. The show with the iridescent snowstorm on the runway and all the Russian folk costume. I wanted to be Sasha Pivovarova when I grew up for years.
Apart from fashion, what other career would you have liked to pursue?
I’d like to one day write a book along with carrying on writing about where my interests take me. In fact, I’ll just nerd you out completely and say one of my dreams is to publish my own dictionary of all of my favourite words. I started it years ago and continue to add to it. No one would ever buy such a thing, but I’d be happy. That or dive back into the ocean forever.
How did Hook Magazine begin?
I started off with a blog, I started it when I was 16, and then from there. I always knew I wanted to make a print publication. I had topics I wanted to discover, I had all these different ideas of what I wanted my first publication to be. It never transpired until I came up with The Tarot Issue, because I think it’s one subject topic that has always been with me and the spirituality, I guess it was there for me more than fashion was. It was an area I thought I could explore within publishing, that hasn’t really been explored before. I wanted to make something that I was genuinely interested in. I’ve always written about fashion, but I wanted to break out of that and actually write something that really reflected me.
What pushed you to creating a magazine in particular?
I feel like when I made Hook Magazine, I actually kind of stayed away from liking fashion, because I made the magazine out of being fucked off with the industry, annoyed by the system, I’ve sort of had internships and worked at magazines and I’ve never been happy with the way they treat you. It’s the hierarchy that I didn’t like, it kind of made me resent fashion. But it will always be in the centre of what I do, but I kind of made the magazine to reject fashion.
What was the process of creating Hook? And how did you choose your theme and come about creating it?
I’ve always been interested in tarot, and not a lot of people know about it in present day culture, and I thought it would be great to bring in present interoperations to the cards, I gave a theme around each of The Major Arcana, and I sort selected societal issues, and stuff to question about these cards, and then I ended up making a body of work that reflected how I feel about today’s society through tarot card.
Which one is your favourite tarot card and why?
My favourite tarot card is probably the death tarot card, because it is actually not a negative card. It symbolises rebirth, change and re-growth. I would also say aesthetically my favourite card is the queen of cups, she looks like a mermaid and that’s just me. I really want a tattoo of the queen of cups.
What was the process of choosing who to include in Hook Magazine?
Everyone who I approached was different in their own right, but it was a really humbling experience. I went to everyone with such a clear vision of what I wanted and I think they saw the confidence in my idea. They were all willing to come on board straight away and I was really overwhelmed with that. I worked with an illustrator and artist called, Meryl Ranzer, she has a tarot deck; she illustrated the whole magazine, she’s such an amazing human, she has so many different traits; she’s like a life-coach as well as an artist. I got to interview some of my favourite singers and artists, which was such a great experience, Nicole Dollanganger, she has a huge online following, but she’s actually not that well known for her music, it was really great to see what she was like as a person. It was more interesting to see, I didn’t really ask these people about their work, I specifically asked them about a topic or subject that their tarot card was about.
How did you assign everyone a tarot card?
They were sort of approached in different ways, I mean with Nicole Dollanganger, I gave her the death card because in her music she talks about death a lot, so I thought that was appropriate. With Anna Wise, I sort of again looked at her music and thought about what her music represented; she was about rejecting social standards women are bound to, so I gave her The Hierophant, which is all about hierarchy and breaking against the norm. and some I just let my contributors pick – they all came by in different ways.
What was the process of creating Hook?
It probably took me about four months and it took me this long because it was a one-woman-show. A lot of the pages and concepts changed through each tarot card, as time went on things got more or less relevant. I ended up making it whilst living in three different houses, which was interesting. I started off with all the ideas in one place, then I made a lot of it in an other place, then I ended up going through the technical stuff in another place; which kind of represented the different times of making the magazine.
What was your favourite part of making the magazine?
The favourite part was putting it together because a lot of it was made by hand, I drew, painted or collaged every page. I was self taught throughout making the magazine. That was the most enjoyable part really.
What is the future for Hook Magazine?
The future for Hook is to carry on making magazines with different themes, I really want to stay on the path of magic and healing. I am hoping for my next issue to be the healing issue – follow the same structure and philosophy, get bigger and better.
How would you describe Hook Magazine in three words?
Magic, future and anti-establishment.
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Art by Emily Jones & Lauren Corless
Meryl   Laughing Pussies 2.jpg
Art by Meryl Ranzer of Laughing Pussies
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Art by Meryl Ranzer of Laughing Pussies
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Art and photography by Esme Rose
Art by Esme Rose