T yler Brûlé arrives at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport looking remarkably fresh despite the fact that he's logged close to 15,000 kilometres in the past week flying from Toronto to Tokyo and back to London before touching down in Finland today. Wearing his trademark navy blazer, Brûlé seems right at home in the airport. This is not surprising given that the Wallpaper* founder's newest magazine Monocle caters to the international jet set those who spend more time travelling than at home. In addition to his role as Monocle's editor-in-chief, Brûlé runs design and creative agency Winkreative and pens a weekly travel column for the Financial Times. EXPANDING THE BRAND Brûlé and his team recently opened the Monocle Shop in London, a mini-shop just off Marylebone High Street that stocks a range of products produced in collaboration with high-end brands such as Comme des Garçons, Valextra and Artek. These include diaries, a fragrance, and knitwear, all of which appear in the editorial and advertorial pages of Monocle, a cross between the style bible Wallpaper* and thinky Economist. Naturally, the shop also stocks the Porter range of frequent traveller bags that Tyler has developed in co-operation with Japanese luggage firm Yoshida. "This is our first phase," says Brûlé of the Monocle Shop, which will open branches in Tokyo and Los Angeles during 2009. "The next step is kiosk newsstands in London that have formerly been branded by Newsweek or the Wall Street Journal. We already have two in London and we're buying up awnings in other cities and recasting them as Monocle kiosks." "Our view is that the web is not a great place to read anything." PRINT POSITIVE In these digitally dominated times when many newspapers and magazines are moving exclusively to the web, Brûlé is heading in an entirely different direction. The December 08January 09 issue of Monocle the magazine marks its second anniversary in February weighs in at 186 pages and looks more like a book, as it plays with design and different paper types and sizes. "The printed word and image on glossy or matte paper is a very effective way of getting a high-impact message across. Our view is that the web is not a great place to read anything, which is why most of our web content is video or audio-based," says Brûlé, 40, an Estonian-Canadian who grew up in Canada. When he's not travelling, which he does 250 days of the year, he divides his time between Switzerland (his official country of residence), London and a summer cottage in Sweden. In the last days of 2008, Brûlé launched "The Monocle Weekly," an audio bulletin on global affairs, business, design and consumer culture. Sponsored by BlackBerry, the radio program is anchored out of London, New York and Tokyo. The program will take up new topics and continue discussions of ideas that appear in the pages of Monocle. Features in the newest issue of the magazine billed as "the 2009 global forecast" range from a report on the spending power of Japan's seniors to an essay from British writer Alain de Botton on why money no longer equals happiness. The issue also includes a prediction on American president-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy plans, and the Travel Top Fifty list, which names Finnair's Ultima Thule line by iittala as the best inflight glassware. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport's Design Forum boutique is voted best airport gift shop. (Owing in part to airport expansion work, it closed its doors at the turn of the year.) "Monocle is the magazine that I always wanted to do," says Brûlé, who first cut his teeth in journalism as a BBC freelancer. After he was shot by a sniper in Afghanistan in 1994, he spent several months recuperating and came up with the idea for Wallpaper*, which went onto become a category breaker that paved the way for many other design and style magazines. In 1998, Brûlé sold Wallpaper* to Time Warner for 1.26 million euros and founded a design and creative agency, Wink Media (now Winkreative). In 2001, he became the youngest recipient of the British Society of Magazine Editors' Lifetime Achievement Award. "With Monocle, we're going to completely different parts of the world and investing in a level of journalism which I think is rapidly evaporating that's a view that's shared by both advertisers and consumers," he says. HIGH FLYERS The majority of Monocle's readers (it has 8,000 subscribers worldwide; the bulk of its 150,000 print run goes as single-copy newsstand sales) are men who work in the finance sector. This is a select group of people who want to read about trends before they become public and have access to exclusive cafés, hotels, restaurants, boutiques or ideas that are not on the mainstream map. "We're a premium product," says Brûlé of Monocle, which costs about 12 euros an issue on the newsstand. Brûlé is part of the media generation that has blurred the line between advertising and JANUARY 2009 BLUE WINGS 23
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