Publishing's Most Fashionable Foodie

1_ClaudiaWu03_151Photographed by Winnie Au
If you hadn't noticed (and you really should have by now) good-old-fashioned print publishing is having a rather hard time of it. Ad sales are down, as are newsstand sales and subscriptions. We're a few years removed from the great magazine die-off, but it's still a risky proposition (financial and career-wise) to launch one. It takes a new kind of talent to succeed in this new landscape and, insofar as we're concerned, if anyone's going make it in this upturned, rebooting industry, it's people like Cherry Bombe creative director Claudia Wu.
Advertisement
See, Wu is what you might call unique in the world of self-funded, self-run publishers. Having backed into a degree at RISD ("I had no idea what graphic design was," she says), she began her career in earnest at Visionaire and V, learning how to make award-winning, ground-breaking editorial on a staff of 10. After wearing many, many hats in those offices, she got an education in high-profile corporate publishing at Harper's Bazaar (where she met her Cherry Bombe partner, Kerry Diamond). But the regimented system there didn't suit her after a long period of freelancing for The New York Times Sunday magazine, Index Magazine, and others. She then founded her own boutique-design firm (appropriately titled Orphan), where she worked with Hugo Boss, NARS, Clinique, New Museum, Organic Avenue, and Intermix, and many others. During this time she founded Me magazine, a unique publication dedicated to and guest-edited by a different creative star every issue (Rodarte, Robert Geller, Mike Mills, Keren Ann, and many others have had their turn).
2_ClaudiaWu03_101Photographed by Winnie Au
All of this is to say that Claudia Wu has the independent spirit, grit, unconventional perspective, multiple editorial talents, and drive to survive in a media climate that forces publishers to find news ways of reaching audiences and making money. Her latest venture, the fashion-heavy food glossy Cherry Bombe is proof positive. Funded through Kickstarter and featuring Sofia Coppola, Garance Doré, and cover star Karlie Kloss, it is, as Wu says, a new mix of "sustenance and style."
We visited Wu's studio (which doubles as Cherry Bombe HQ) to talk about her unique path, the perils of publishing today, and why a foodie-fashion mag is an idea whose time has come.
3_ClaudiaWu01_015
Advertisement
Declaration of Independence
“I’ve always been indie and DIY at heart. For me, going from very, very indie publications like V to Harper’s Bazaar was like night and day. There were so, so many people there you really only had one job. At V, I was doing art direction, design, layouts, production, press checks, working on Visionaire, and doing campaigns for the in-house ad agency. So, I was only at Bazaar for maybe nine months? Once, when I was freelancing at The New York Times Sunday magazine, I fixed a bad break in the copy and got yelled at by someone in the production team, because that wasn't my job. The one big thing that I found out about myself through...was that I never wanted to have a full-time job again! I needed to take back control. I guess you could say I started my first magazine, Me, out of frustration.”
Hard Copy
“People have come to me through the years for advice when they want to start their own magazines. My first reaction is always, ‘Why?’ Look, it takes a lot of perseverance, and it's not very glamorous most of the time. I mean, it's wonderful to make a magazine that people appreciate and looks great. But it's another issue to keep things going, to make something that can be self-sustaining financially. Print-advertising dollars are drying up, and publishers are shutting down titles. It's difficult to survive without advertisers. Magazines and newspapers don't make enough money on newsstand sales to cover their costs. I think it points to finding more creative revenue sources — like how Stoli is sponsoring the content on ORGNL.TV. That’s the next big challenge we’re working on it at Cherry Bombe. For the moment, though, Cherry Bombe is a real labor of love.”
4_ClaudiaWu02_059Photographed by Winnie Au
Chocolate Is the New Black
Cherry Bombe is more of a traditional magazine in conception, perhaps because Kerry and I grew up reading fashion magazines like Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. People tell us we’re filling [a] niche that had been missing in food magazines — it’s sustenance and style. Actually, there seems to be a new food magazine launching every month. I think it's really great to see this wave of new points of view and different aesthetics. There really was not alternative, indie-food coverage when I was growing up. Food magazines might be the new fashion magazines!”
See more from Wu and other visionaries at ORGNL.TV
Advertisement
For more in-depth interviews with inspiring visionaries, click here.


Hair and makeup by Andrew Colvin

More from Celebs & Influencers

The Balmain show feels less like a runway spectacle and more like a private Kardashian-Jenner shopping trip that fellow show-goers (and everyone ...
For the latest drop of Ivy Park, Beyoncé's activewear line launched in April, the superstar has gifted us with a video in which she's equal parts dream ...
The Kardashian-Jenners have all been known to catalyze sales, whether or not they're hyping their own brands. But in case you had any doubts about Kylie ...
"You can be whoever you want to be." If you grew up in an atmosphere of gold stars and participation trophies, you probably heard this on loop. You, little...
Though bloggers may have a reputation for sharing almost every aspect of their lives — from #OOTDs to dinner pics (hey, we're guilty of this, too) — rarely...
Don't worry — Kate Middleton just can't seem to let go of her favorite boots either. The Duchess wore a pair of Penelope Chilvers long tassel boots in ...
Let's say you're Beyoncé. Let's say your daughter is Blue Ivy. Let's say you have to, for whatever reason, attend a football game. Let's say you have a ...
(Paid Content) Snap, filter, post, repeat. In today's social-media-saturated landscape, sharing photos online is as ubiquitous as brushing one's teeth or ...
If you're suffering from a case of the Mondays, Alessandro Michele has a cure. It involves an editorialized gathering of a few of our favorite things: ...
The cast of Stranger Things is continuing its world tour of stealing your heart. First, Millie Bobby Brown took over the front row of New York Fashion ...
With close to 4 million followers on Instagram, Aimee Song (a.k.a. Song of Style) knows how to take a pretty decent photo. The Los Angeles-based interior ...
Last year, the lingerie line Frederick's of Hollywood closed all its stores after going bankrupt. But now, it's making a resurgence with a little help ...
On September 20, 2016, our faith in love was tested by the sound of Brangelina's earth-shattering divorce. If we're being honest, we've yet to recover. But...
Kendall, we need to talk. And I think you know why. Your latest Vogue spread — which, need I remind you, is your fifth this year — is...problematic. Here...