In With the Old, Out With the New. In Conversation with Loma-Ann Marks of Reclaim Magazine
When it comes to styling your home, choosing vintage and upcycled pieces is a movement these days rather than a trend. Reclaim is fast becoming to that movement what Vogue is to fashion – the bible.
Editor-in-Chief Loma-Ann Marks is seeing homeowners realise that carefully made objects and pieces with provenance are an antidote to all things bland and mass-produced, and that they turn our homes into creative sanctuaries from the faceless, fast-moving highways of digital corporatism.
Reclaim was launched in 2016 – what was the vision for the magazine then and how has it developed in the past six years?
The vision was about celebrating salvage, antique, vintage products and lifestyle while focusing on people in the industry, enthusiasts, markets and events. But it gradually became about homes and interiors, and it thrives in that space now with a group of regular expert columnists, including Micaela Sharp (Interior Design Masters, Changing Rooms) and Laura Jane Clark (Your Home Made Perfect, Ugly House to Lovely House) who show how to be confident with your own creativity and how to incorporate upcycling, crafts and eco products into your home.
Just as a home’s story is important to us, provenance is at the heart of Reclaim’s love of vintage products. What part do stories and history play in interior styling?
A huge part. Choosing older pieces, or things that have been carefully created, leads to a more storied and layered home. Provenance is what increasingly attracts us to vintage, whether the piece personally resonates, or we’re drawn to the story behind it.
© Tamsyn Morgans/ Reclaim
Provenance offers a valuable counterpoint to the fast-paced, unpredictable world both on and offline. It’s an opportunity to slow down and find comfort and beauty in the careful and familiar.
Who buys Reclaim? How would you describe your community?
Interior designers, enthusiasts and influencers, creatives, salvage yard hunters, antiques buffs, the eco-conscious, home renovators, upcyclers, the creative and the curious. We have a loyal and engaged community for our print magazine and on Instagram. Jay Blades was recently our first ever guest editor, and he is a good representation of our community: eco-conscious, creative and friendly.
Has re-using objects and materials morphed from being a style choice to an eco-essential way of life?
Reclaim started out as a niche title, but I knew from the outset that buying consciously and wanting a more individual home would be the next step in this market. There’s been an explosion in the demand by homeowners for vintage, upcycling, traditional processes and crafts, saving thousands of tonnes of previously unwanted pieces from landfill and discovering well-made pieces created from eco materials. It’s a real rejection of the bland and the mass-produced. With less disposable income for many, people take longer when making a purchase and want to make a conscious choice for something they’ll love for a long time.
How can London homeowners who want to renovate or re-style using vintage and upcycled products get the best from Reclaim?
We offer advice and inspiration. Reclaim has five main pillars: vintage, antiques, upcycling, salvage and eco. As well as the Display & Design section and the Cherish section, Spirit of Salvage is an indispensable directory of the best salvage sources in the UK. The House Tours are inspirational, with lots of imagery and style tips, whilst Insider goes behind-the-scenes in a maker’s workshop. We always have a roundup of markets, courses and events, plus a featured exhibition, an artist interview focussing on someone who uses old or vintage materials in their work, as well as a travel piece and a regular decorating feature.
Each issue is a 360 on incorporating older, storied and characterful pieces into your home, and where to find them. Our Instagram and Facebook have visual inspiration, competitions, subscriber deals and links to our contributors and resources.
As Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief, what places and resources (visual and cultural) inspire you and feed your ideas?
I have always loved fashion magazines and photography and still have the very first issue of Grazia. I often look back at 90s copies of Vogue or Harpers for inspiration. I once interviewed Terry O’Neill and the stories behind each of his iconic images were fascinating. Music and art are huge influences for me, not just the work but the artist – what they’re saying, their videos, what they’re wearing, their process. Altogether – looking at all the arts and the range of creative expression – even advertising – I start to see patterns and trends, or something resonates, and I ask myself why; what is it about that piece of music, or that outfit, or that composition that makes it work? And it is that thought process that sparks my own ideas.
© Tamsyn Morgans/ Reclaim
When did you move to London?
After university in Sussex and growing up in Hampshire. I landed in Chiswick, then lived in Hammersmith, Fulham and now Putney. I think the area you first arrive in is where you stay!
What do you love about home and the time you spend there?
Home has always been extremely important to me, and even before I began working on Reclaim I loved vintage, interiors and making my home the most inspiring place it could be. When I was in halls at university, I plastered the walls with Pre-Raphaelite postcards and covered every available surface in antique lace doilies. For me, home is where I can be myself, fully relax and feel safe. I don’t love clutter, so home for me is quite tidy, with lots of art, photographs, collections, candles and books.
Describe your relationship with London.
I see London as a character that has never let me down. Because I’ve lived in London for so long, I have a memory or association with most parts of the city, from performing in a play at a pub theatre in Cockfosters, to dancing at Sunny Side Up in Victoria, serving Kylie Minogue at Wagamama in Soho, to doing one of those open top bus tours with my mum on a boiling hot July day and learning that the Dragon statues are the entrance to The City. These memories, and new ones I make each day, deepen my relationship with London.
What parts of London inspire you?
The river, first and foremost. I live quite close to it, so walk there regularly. I love the South Bank for the same reason, Bankside and Rotherhithe. And the bridges, Albert Bridge and Waterloo especially. The river is often described as liquid history, and I very much feel that.
© Tamsyn Morgans/ Reclaim
How do you like to enjoy London?
London is a constant source of stimulation to me and when I’m walking around the city, sitting on the bus or taking the tube, I never stop looking – at what people wear, the adverts and billboards, the architecture old and new. I look up all the time, and see sculptures, ghost signs, a roof garden, someone in their window gazing down at the street below.
I love all the main galleries: the V&A (I try to go to all of their exhibitions), the National Gallery, the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, the Turner collection at Tate Britain, the Royal Academy. I like taking the Uber Boat to Embankment, crossing Hungerford Bridge and mooching around the South Bank. I’m a member there, and the view from the member’s room is so beautiful.
I love heritage properties and their gardens; Leighton House, Somerset House and Fulham Palace – the café there is very nice! But probably my favourite café in London is Maison Bertaux in Soho. A great place to people-watch, the cakes are amazing, it’s steeped in history and the décor is really charming and, of course, a vintage gem.
Offering an alternative to the mass produced, Reclaim magazine is published monthly.