Monocle Magazine Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

Editor Tyler Brûlé chats with the South China Morning Post

Tyler Brûlé certainly gets around. In the Editor’s Letter for the April issue of Monocle magazine, he starts off from the POV of Mohawk, a store in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles. And when he spoke with the South China Morning Post for a weekend insert magazine feature, it was in China, in between trips to various corners of the European and Asian continents.

Writer Fionnuala McHugh cleverly and cheekily chose to meet up with Brûlé at a small monocle shop in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. When she started off by asking why the magazine is named Monocle, she got this surprising answer:

“Because we couldn’t get the name we originally wanted,” he replies. “The real name was The Edit, we built the whole identity round it, went to purchase the domain name and it belonged to a Sydney gynecologist… His wife was running a lingerie business, the idea was they would launch it under that name. I’ve yet to see that website.”

The irony of course is that Monocle has grown into a huge retail channel, both online and in the real world, eclipsing the most grandiose ambitions of that Aussie couple. The magazine also last month hosted its first ever Media Summit, in London, with another planned for Hong Kong later this year. (Intriguingly, for the two-hour March 2 U.K. gathering, no one was afforded a seat. Everyone was asked deliberately to stand.)

Brûlé adds that he wanted the name of his follow-up to Wallpaper magazine to prospectively meet with acceptance at the Foreign Affairs Ministry desk in Kuala Lumpur. E.g., sound like something “from the same world as The Spectator or The Economist, so they’d think, ‘OK,’ and put the call through.”

Speaking of names, McHugh threads in several references to Brûlé’s real one. And touches on many of the Canadian-born journalist’s most dramatic life points, including how he and his Wallpaper staff were affected by the events of 9/11.