Brutal Darlings
GQ Style|Fall 2017
For 16 years, the German magazine 032c has been the  fashion insider’s bible,but recently founder joerg koch expanded his vision, got down with Kanye, and started selling T-shirts. The changes are raising eyebrows in the industry, but no matter—‘032c’ has become a full-blown movement.
Noah Johnson

Joerg and Maria Koch are in Paris at Silencio, the semi-private nightclub conceived by David Lynch. It’s a subterranean labyrinth of rooms, intended to be a place for creative types to exchange ideas, like the Parisian literary salons of the 18th century or Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, where Dadaists hung out in the early 1900s, or Studio 54. But tonight it’s simply the best party in town—perhaps the best party on the planet—and the Kochs are hosting. It’s a Paris Fashion Week get-down. Bella Hadid is here. So is A$AP Rocky. Virgil Abloh is DJ’ing. Outside, the crowd is twice as large as the crowd inside, and it’s growing. But Joerg and Maria can’t stay long. They’re getting up early to see their friend and business partner, Justin O’Shea, launch SSS World Corp with a guerrilla fashion show on the street outside the Ritz Hotel. Then it’s back to Berlin, to St. Agnes, the 1960s brutalist church where they live with their kids and dog, Toastie, to work on all things 032c: the magazine, the apparel brand, and the cultural instigation mechanism they run together.

032c is like our last name,” Maria told me when I was visiting them at St. Agnes recently. “Everything we do, whatever it is, is under this roof.” 032c is the quintessential magazine for a generation that feels no obligation to systems and structures put in place before its time. It is a publication that sometimes operates as an agency, or as a gallery, or as a fashion brand.

“We’re always interested in where energy is,” Joerg says. Originally from Wuppertal, Germany, he moved to Berlin from New York in the mid-’90s, not long after the Berlin Wall came down. “It was all construction sites,” he says, “so you imagined this amazing future to be possible. That timing was, for me, super instrumental.” Berlin became a bohemian refuge, a city where the creative energy had already been building for years. David Bowie and Iggy Pop spent time there. “The city was poor,” Joerg says. “There were not many jobs, and there was absolutely no interest in making money.” So he opened a project space with two friends. “And we didn’t sell anything—we didn’t want to sell anything.” One show featured punk and skate photography by Glen E. Friedman; another was on Metabolism architecture from Japan. “And out of that 032c was born.”

Joerg founded 032c in 2001. The magazine’s name comes from a Pantone code for red,and the first three issues all had solid-red covers. “It’s not how you would start a commercial magazine,” he says. But commercial success would come, partly because the magazine was perfectly timed and positioned for the new era that was just getting under way in fashion. “There was this new development of, like, Helmut Lang, Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane, and you could relate to it, whereas ten years before, I could not have related to fat Karl Lagerfeld. Fashion became this really important engine for visual culture.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GQ STYLEView All

Bird Man

Tony Hawk has invented countless tricks, built skate parks around the world, and created a billion-dollar video-game franchise. but his legacy is greater than all that: Meet his son Riley.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Fall 2017

Diplo In Africa

What happens when a superstar DJ leaves a pile of Coachella cash on the table to go break even on a tour of Africa—where a red-hot music scene is on the verge of going global? We flew to Uganda and Ethiopia to find out.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Fall 2017

Master Class

After the smashing success of season two of his Netflix show, ‘ master of none,’ Aziz Ansari vowed to go analog. No social media. No e-mail. No laboring over season three. So we invited the stand-up turned auteur to be our plus-one at paris fashion week—and got him to teach us the art of unplugging.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Fall 2017

Brutal Darlings

For 16 years, the German magazine 032c has been the  fashion insider’s bible,but recently founder joerg koch expanded his vision, got down with Kanye, and started selling T-shirts. The changes are raising eyebrows in the industry, but no matter—‘032c’ has become a full-blown movement.

9 mins read
GQ Style
Fall 2017

Wet Dreams

When the futuristic, wedge-shaped cars we lusted after in the ’80s and ’90s went out of style, they went all the way out of style. But a new generation of auto freaks has revived these vintage beauties. Nobody laughs or calls them ugly anymore. And prices are skyrocketing. THIS IS THE STORY OF SPORTS CARS, THE MEN WHO LOVE THEM—AND THE SHIFTING TIDES OF VALUE AND TASTE.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Spring 2017

Are You Not Entertained?

Last year, the swaggering former plumber Conor McGregor became the first UFC FIGHTER to hold two belts at once. The thrilling brutality of his knockouts— along with his notorious trash talk and lavish tastes— has made him into a phenomenon, THE RARE ATHLETE WHO IS BIGGER THAN HIS SPORT. We caught up with McGregor and met a man at war: with his league, with Floyd Mayweather, and, most of all, with himself.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Spring 2017

Finding Fashion Bliss in Japan's Retail Paradise

United Arrows has 256 stores— but somehow each of them feels like a lovingly crafted high-end boutique. And now the CEO has his eyes on westward expansion. So we traveled to the company’s Tokyo HQ to experience firsthand what’s coming to America. (And yes, to shop up a storm.)

10 mins read
GQ Style
Spring 2017

How to Hack Any Wine List

Whether you’re out on a date, romancing clients, or just eating with friends, the mostintimidating part of any meal is ordering the wine. Luckily, our chief value correspondent has developed a foolproof method for nailing it every time. Take a long sip and let the compliments roll in.

4 mins read
GQ Style
Spring 2017

Top 5 Dead or Alive

We always knew Kendrick Lamar could rap. But nobody expected his album to pimp a butterfly to be a staggering musical masterwork that galvanized Grammy voters and protest marchers alike. The big question now is: what will k.dot do next? We got Rick Rubin to ask him.

10+ mins read
GQ Style
Holiday 2016