The Face, the seminal British magazine born in a troubled 1980 before folding in 2004, is returning in an equally troubled 2019, with its first print edition due to drop this month.

“Britain in the 1980s was a really fucked up place,” Jason Gonsalves, brand director of The Face told a recent Soho event – and there are parallels with today’s divided country facing an imminent departure from the European Union. (For more read WARC’s report: The Face story: Reviving a classic print title for the digital age.)

The new incarnation of the magazine – it has already launched as a website – stays close to the original idea of founder Nick Logan that culture and society are two sides of the same coin. Each interacts with the other and the nature of that interaction is an attitude, a style.

“Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you engage” with the culture and society, Gonsalves argued: “It’s a manner of doing.”

If 21st century culture has become obsessed with consumption and having the latest trainers, The Face is trying something different. “Style is about ideas, it’s about how you behave, it’s about an approach to life.”

It’s also a contextual understanding of the world that he hopes will develop. It’s a frequent criticism of journalism in the 24-hour news cycle that information is cheapened; speed is the essence rather than context.

“There’s no sense of narrative,” Gonsalves observed. “People don’t know what happened the day before, let alone two weeks ago, let alone a year ago.” Social media platforms don’t do nuance: “So much understanding is in the context, but the feed strips it all out.”

The magazine plans to invest “in building an audience who loves what we do and are willing to pay for it”. This is in part the rationale for doing print in the first place – “we see a huge amount of people really wanting that.”

At the same time, The Face is actively working toward developing a cache of brands who will advertise in it.

“We are deliberately doing everything we can to not be a commodity,” Gonsalves stressed. Part of the appeal to advertisers is that the publication is selective and won’t work with just anybody. In fact, “they want us to be selective.”

Sourced from WARC