Around the World
with Pitti
Edition 98
After spending a decade at British fashion magazine Another Man, Ben Cobb made the move to influential style publication LOVE earlier this year. As the former co-editor in chief, Ben oversaw the mens editorial.

With a new project on the way entitled PERFECT, the editor, writer and consultant talks us through what London means to him and how he’s upheld his creative process during lockdown.
What part of London do you find yourself in the most?
I live in Maida Vale, so for the last six months, I've spent so much time in my neighbourhood, which has actually been really great. I love it here, we're surrounded by green. I can walk up to Hampsteadn Heath or Regents park, so it's lovely. It feels very quiet and peaceful, but then I can walk into the centre of town as well. I'm surrounded by loads of trees, it's like a little hidden village in the centre of the city. 

How would you describe the creative culture in London?

I think in London, the creative world is definitely a community. I think that's where the strength of the creative pool has really been. So, you know, designers, photographers, filmmakers, actors, musicians, everyone's kind of crossing over. Before the pandemic, work or projects always came from a social environment and organically from conversations. Traditionally, there’s been a vibrant, free exchange between the creative community. Obviously right now there are restrictions on going out and meeting people, but I think it's about finding new ways for those conversations to happen naturally and grow.

How would you describe London style?

It doesn't follow rules, it just feels like anything goes. It's really about expressing a personal point of view. I think the traditional ideas of London style feel outdated. I don't see elements of that tribe style anymore, I think London’s way more interesting than that. Everyone's crossing over much more, and I think that's reflected in style. It feels very free, it’s about expression and just breaking rules.
You recently released a project based on London, can you tell us more about that?
There’s a photographer/filmmaker called Eddie Whelan, I really love his work. He kind of creates really psychedelic abstract stuff. So I was like, God, I'd love to work with him.
So I just called him and we set it up. I guess this goes back to kind of what you're asking about the community thing. We ended up having long conversations on the phone - me at my home, him on the other side of London, locked in his home. 
How did the project develop?

He told me he'd been going out for an hour a day, kind of grabbing bits of footage of London and then playing with them digitally, kind of warping them. I thought that was interesting, so I started writing a script. He showed me footage, then I'd work on the script. We ended up with this kind of meditation on what was going on at that time. I got the actress Gwendolyn Christie to narrate. 

So the lockdown inspired your process?

It kind of reminded me, necessity is the mother of invention. If you want to create something, you find a way to do that. In a strange way, I find parameters and boundaries quite freeing. If you have the full scope, it can be overwhelming. We kind of created this really psychedelic short sci-fi film in the middle of lockdown, which was really an amazing experience.

What's your day to day like at the moment? 

it's different every day. I mean right now, I'm kind of working on this new project PERFECT with Katie Grand and LOVE’s publisher Catherine Russell, which is really exciting. So at the moment we're getting that up running and having meetings. So we’re really growing something from the ground up, which is amazing. Every day feels very different.

Tell us more about this new project. 

It's basically a media company and a kind of creative agency. The old models of publishing companies just feel very outdated now. Brands have very different requirements and needs and trying to fit those around a traditional kind of print magazine template can become like fitting a square peg in a round hole. So the idea is to have a tight, small pool of in-house talent, some from LOVE, some from all around. So we'll have this kind of collective and for each project we're working on, we will reconfigure how it works to best serve that project. So, you know, we might be working on an exhibition, a film, or it could be design consultation, digital projects - print will certainly be in there as well. 
Are there any new creative talents from London that we should check out?
In terms of like a younger painting talent, there's a guy called George Rouy. I love his paintings. They feel quite otherworldly and dreamy.  Also a young photographer in London called Kai. He came over from Sierra Leone in about 2003. He was shooting these amazing images at the BLM protest, so we worked with him on a cover for LOVE
After a long day, where do you go to wind down?
I have to be honest with you, my favourite place to be would always be here, back home in the living room with a small group of close friends.

Absolutely. That's always the best, isn't it? 

Yeah, that's always really fun, you know. You can have an amazing night and that's always the cherry on a really great evening,
Where’s your favourite place to eat?
It's hard to choose, but I'd have to say it's an Italian restaurant in Chelsea called La Famiglia. It's been around for a long time, I think since the sixties, it hasn't really changed. It's kind of updated, but the spirit and the feeling hasn't changed. Every time you go there, I feel like I'm on holiday. And they do my favorite Italian dish, Vitello tonnato, which is basically thin cut veil with tuna mayonnaise on top. I've not described that very well, but it's delicious. I love going there, they're really fun. It has an amazing kind of family feel to it. 

Apart from where you live now, what part of London resonates with you the most? 

Do you know what it's, it's strange. I love where I am in London, It's a really special place. I've definitely been feeling places with more outdoor space, some kind of countryside. From everything that's been happening this year and being kind of stuck in London, I've definitely been thinking and dreaming about somewhere with more outside space. It wouldn't necessarily be somewhere else in London. I'd love somewhere to escape to. There's that old  Samuel Johnson quote, ’when a man is tired of London, he's tired of life’. I think there's some truth to that.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a book with Rizzoli, it’s about my personal style icons.

We look forward to seeing it, Thanks for your time Ben!