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The First Issue of Mimei Magazine Is Dedicated to Ayis and It's Magical
By Dec 26, 2018 Arts
迷妹 Magazine comes with a cut-out dress-up doll, except you can't take the haircurlers out, and there's a selection of fashionable colored sleeve covers. It's tucked between pages dedicated to Shanghai's elderly stateswomen, the Ayi, recipes for dumplings, dance steps, and stories about their husbands. "After all these years, I realized with time he's actually a really lazy person, but it's too late hahaha." It was published in July this year, but it feels like a historical relic, from the rough paper to the muted colors to the analog photography. We grabbed one of the creators, Elsa Bouillot, by the hair-curlers for a couple of questions.


Elsa Bouillot, a French film photographer, and Monique Fei, a fashion student, chose the name 迷妹 (mimei) because it translates to something like "groupie" in Chinese. That's how they describe themselves. Their foreword says "it reflects our strong interest (even obsession) towards different aspects of the Chinese culture." For their first issue, they're diving straight into Ayis.

SmSh: How did the idea of an Ayi magazine come about?

Elsa Bouillot: It weirdly came up so naturally. We both (Monique Fei and Elsa Bouillot) have been attracted for quite some time to Ayis, to their style, their power and way of life. They show us a true love for life and it’s refreshing. While discussing in a park in Yangpu, we decided that we would go for it. We really liked the idea to make a paper magazine to share our interest and our “groupie-ness” with the rest of the world and more specifically with the Chinese youth, foreigners in China and our friends in Europe. We realized that people actually don’t talk much about Ayis, especially the way we do (with care, love and curiosity). And after publishing the first issue, people would often tell us that it opened their eyes on the good sides of these Ayis.

SmSh: So... who's the team behind it? Who are you?

EB: The idea of the magazine came from both and we are the editors of the first edition. We created, shot, wrote and designed together the whole magazine. We have our speciality. Most of the pictures are taken by me and Monique is the stylist, fashion designer and amazing mind behind the fashion column and gossips page. Our friends helped us a lot and gave us advice, translated some parts. Our main partner is Hao, he is our printer. His studio called g***d press (goood事务所) is based in Beijing and he did a great job for his first attempt in making a magazine.


SmSh: Is there a long-term goal?

EB: Honestly, when we first started, we didn’t have a specific long-term goal. Now, we see ourselves creating content together in China, reviving the fanzine culture and sharing our interests with creativity.

We originally made this first issue to have fun, to create something interesting together, and to make a palpable object that we could share with our friends but also to show it as a portfolio for both our works. We didn’t imagine at that time the success this magazine would get and all the positive feedbacks we would receive. It’s crazy but we do have fans and we want to create more content to surprise them even more. It’s so much fun for us, but also so much work !

SmSh: How often are you planning to publish?

EB: While Monique is in London studying textile design, I’m freelancing in photography and content creation here in Shanghai. So for us, 迷妹 magazine is a fun side project. We published our first issue last July and people are still talking about it and are patiently waiting for us to publish our second issue… We will publish it next year and this time we will be focusing on the man behind the Ayi: the Shushu. Afterwards, let’s see!



Issue 1 of 迷妹 Magazine is available for purchase at Uptown Record Store, various pop-ups and fairs around town, or you can contact the owners directly for a copy via Instagram; @elsa_asia and @moniquefei


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