The Mushpit


Written by Suzie McCracken
24 Saturday 24th March 2012

Hi Bertie! So how did The Mushpit come about? Why start a magazine?

The Mushpit started off in a kind of negative way. We were initially just cross with what we were reading in other magazines, but now I think it’s evolved into something in its own right. We’re not really saying fuck Grazia and Vogue, we’re just saying The Mushpit is there when you wanna read about boyfriends or see our half-naked centrefold. We hope it fills that gap.

It’s easy to be cynical and write off the mag as two 21 year-old girls doing something for their CV.

The whole process was more organic actually, both Charlotte and I have been working in fashion and so the The Mushpit was a reaction to that. We don’t think of it as a way to get jobs, rather that the jobs we had sucked so badly that we wanted a new place where we could channel everything.

It’s obvious you guys are well versed in the fashion world though.

That’s true, and it makes it easier for us to take the piss out of the industry a bit. It’s almost too easy to take the piss out of if you’ve spent any time in that world.

The fashion world does seem totally at odds with your ‘girls being nice to each other’ ethos.

We’ve both spent time on shoots with 14 year-old Russian girls who can’t speak to anyone and it’s so horrible. You think, I need to do something happy to make people love each other now.

Both you and I are at the same stage at uni right now and everyone our age seems to freaking out a lot about what to do after school finishes. It’s prompting a lot of nostalgia, do you think that fear is part of the nostalgia in the mag?

Yeah, that is part of it. We want to be back at school where nothing matters. A lot of people talk to us about the 90s nostalgia aesthetic and that’s not ever something I’ve consciously been in to, it just seems to have come naturally – maybe as a result of the freaking out. I’ve never really been into the ‘we all love the 90s now’ idea, or tumblr in fact, but it’s just happened. I’ve always been a blogger, but just pictures aren’t enough for me. The magazine allows us to have a combo of a tumblr-style mood board and written content.

Also, amazingly the tumblr seems to be a place where people just come to get our emails. We get an email a day from 15 year-old girls saying “I love The Mushpit, I’m just doing my GCSEs, can I contribute?” It’s sweet and makes my day. I don’t know if they're even buying it, I just think they’re interested in what we’re doing. We’re trying to make it pretty open so anyone can write for us.

When you couple the text speak in the mag with it’s audacious design, it reminds me a lot of the shop signs in Dalston. You guys live there, is that another influence?

We love funny shop signs, who doesn’t? Curl Up and Dry is amazing. There is so much around, and it definitely feeds into the mag’s aesthetic. As for the text speak, I don't text like that but I do speak like that now. I pretty much think that use of language is just hilarious. 

Are you worried about that aesthetic alienating people?

Well I showed this to my friend who’s the editor at NYLON, and she just didn’t get it. People are offended by the design and how it’s put together. She said we’d have to change a lot if we wanted it to continue, but that’s not what we’re looking to do. If that part of it restricts us, then we’re ok with that. But I really hope it does continue.

You situate yourself between magazines for early teens and young women, but the finished product looks more like a fanzine. Were you ever involved with fanzine culture growing up?

I love the girls get busy blog and I love the fanzine aesthetic, but I never read fanzines. I read the Sabrina the Teenage Witch magazine instead, it was, hand-on-heart, amazing. Charlotte has that fanzine background, she’s got a much better understanding of that scene. But at the same time, there is this weird stigma attached to zines that is snooty, which we want to avoid. The only reason it’s the size it is is because it’s cheaper, so that look is a little accidental.

You use a LOT of pictures of Britney in the mag, are you not Christina Aguilera fans?

I used to listen to a song from Stripped everyday. She had that whole cyber-goth thing that was great. She will definitely feature more. We’re going to print the lyrics of her song with Lil Kim in the next issue.

How do you fancy a Mushpit empire? How about branded condoms? If JLS can do it...

That would be perfect! I’m going to write that down.


I’d love a Mushpit empire that didn’t include tote bags. Things like branded condoms and tax-free Tampax. We know we can’t afford to take the magazine that far with our current finances, but there’s other stuff we can do to get the ethos out there. We’ve been doing styling for ASOS, which is something we’re really into. We like doing stuff like that.

You can buy The Mushpit on their tumblr, and also find Bertie and Charlotte's contact. They promise they'll get back to you!

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