V for Victory

Undone are unashamed advocates of good books and magazines, so were beyond delighted to hear that our fellow creative Adam Bryce was launching a very cool new bookstore – Victory Books – both online and out of Eugenie (one of the most knock-out, forward-thinking, directional fashion boutiques we’ve been to) in Ponsonby, Auckland. With an incredible edit of rare, very special secondhand and hard-to-find new books and mags the likes of which has never before been available in New Zealand, we thought we’d better get the inside scoop for our fellow Undone book groupies…

Hey Adam, what’s Victory Books all about?
Since I was young I always wanted a book shop. I thought it might be something I did when I got old – either I’m old now, or it happened sooner than I thought. I wanted to open a space where people in Auckland could access all the great photo books, art books, fashion books and magazines that weren’t available here. There is so much cool independent publishing right now and being so far away we often miss out. I hoped I could help make that happen, for myself if not anyone else.

What’s so great about books?
As a photographer I’m obsessed with archives of old magazines, rare old books etc. I’m researching always and much of what is really great isn’t on the internet. I’ve collected magazines and books since I was really young. I was the only 10 year old reading Vogue, probably the only 14-year-old asking their mum for Purple for their birthday too. For me books are a resource to learn, the internet gives you access to what everyone else has access to, books you have to hunt down which has a great feeling about it, and I feeling you have something unique.

Where do you source your stock?
I would say 50 percent of what we opened with came from my own collection, then I spent a few months buying special books from auctions, friends and getting in touch with distributors all around the world. I wanted to make sure we only really offered what wasn’t already available, we were adding to the retail landscape, not just competing with what was out there. Victory is about selling rare and collectable books and magazines, new and old. In a way I want it to be a research centre for artists, stylists, photographers and anyone interested in this culture.

What are some of your favourites currently up for grabs?
We just got the cult followed Marfa Journal in, it’s the first time it’s been available in New Zealand. It’s probably the magazine I think is really breaking ground right now… its lighthearted approach, its rawness and genuine creativity and integrity… I remember when issue 1 came out, they sold out really quickly and were selling on eBay for hundreds, it really made me want to know what was so great about it. I bought issue 2 and now we’re happy to be able to bring you issue 6 and will continue to bring it in.

We also just got the first issue of Fanpages, a magazine by the amazing Bay Garnett, the UK Vogue fashion editor. The magazine is this genuine collection of ideas but packed full of big names too, like Stella Tennant, Joe McKenna and Chloe Sevigny.

Your top five favourite books of all time and why?
If there was one book I recommend anyone interested in fashion or art read and own it’s The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes. Edited by Raf Simons in the early 2000’s, it’s an examination of adolescent behaviour. It’s a pretty hard book to get your hands on these days, we had a copy that sold instantly in the store. Almost everyone I know who has gone on to do significant things in communications and fashion from my generation lives by what they learnt from this.

I also love Matthew Barney’s The Cremaster Cycle; it’s the series of works that really connected with me early on and made me interested in art, it made me realise art didn’t have to always be what you expect and it’s much more personal.

Juergen Teller’s Go See’s, might sound like a cliche, but it really is that good.

I pretty much buy anything by Wolfgang Tillmans, so you can put any of his titles on my list.

And if I had to narrow it down to five, I would include Nigel Shafran’s Ruth on the Phone. When I managed to get a copy for the store, I was really excited, every day I turn up and it’s still there haha.

Books/magazines you’d love to get your hands on?
I’d love to get all the original Purple magazines, I had them all, and want them back. I would love to get Joe’s Issue 1, it was Joe McKenna’s magazine from the 90s, there were only two issues ever made, and McKenna is a hero of mine.

You’ve also done some merchandise, tell us a bit about that..
I wanted to make merchandise for fans of the culture. Imagine you’re at a gig and there’s a stand of tees, caps, posters, mugs, pins, etc for your favourite band… then imagine your favourite band is this sort of counter-culture of anti-fashion and art. I’m releasing small numbers of products every month – once we sell out, we do something else. I wanted to test the market in a way, I wanted to know if people would be into it and see if it was worth selling online and in other retail stores, it’s being really well received so while still keeping it in its lighthearted tone, I want to make a little more now and will sell at a few other stores around the world and online soon.

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