The history of creation "All Gone" and its founder Michel Dupuis
A series of yearly publications of Michael Dupouy has become as significant as the products it highlights. Having begun its history in 2007 from All Gone 2006, an unbelievably rare publication now, this bible of street culture has become a true collection object. Every book serves as a unique guide through the most important releases of each subsequent year.
So, let’s begin with the background. Michael, how did you come up with the idea of writing the first book All Gone?
I started my career as a journalist back in 1998. I worked at Sportswear International, where I had to write in French for a German publishing house. At that time, I was still learning in high school, and one of my friends offered me to write a book about urban culture: streets, hip hop, and other similar things – I was talking about that stuff all the time.
In this respect, I was greatly inspired by the USA culture. With time, I came to a decision to establish a small company with my friend just at the time when Internet caused a real information burst – everyone wanted to stay online and people were constantly talking about it then. We worked on the news feed and every week sent mailings about the things we liked. Those newsletters became rather popular, and in several months’ time I got up close with guys from Colette, and we started working together.
We launched an Internet store in the beginning of 2005, and as I was provided with all the goods intended for Colette to make photos of them, I started thinking how I could use all those materials in the future. People were saying that the web will kill printed publications, but I could not agree with them. I am still passionate about paper, love magazines and, of course, books. I thought that they could help each other rather than kill.
That’s how the first publication emerged. Firstly, it wasn’t difficult to get all the releases, and secondly, I wanted to create a beautiful project that would commemorate those things I like. Therefore, the book turned into a way to capture everything that is so rapidly disappearing. The Internet is an excellent means to talk about the present and future, but it is not good for talking about the past. I created All Gone to document the culture that we love so much.
I perceive All Gone books as a kind of a filter. The best of the best is accumulated there.
Yes! And with every year it’s getting harder and harder. If you compare 2006 and the current year… Oh, my God! Every day I go on the Internet and make a selection of things, which in my point of view look great and could be included in the next book. By October, I already see how the land lies. For you to understand, before we went over the material and reduced its volume, the new book had to be almost two times bigger than usual. It was important to find the balance between sneakers, books, toys… I try to maintain the balance in everything: color, style, products and their geographic origin. The more I travel, the more I see how global this culture is.
What I especially like about these books is that they remind me of things, which I hesitated to buy at the time of their release… But when I look back, I have no doubts left that those were the best novelties of the last year. And in months you start hunting them again!
Ha! Yes, even in my case, when someone asks what was really good in 2008, I have to take the book in my hands. The time goes so quickly. It’s difficult to remember everything. When you have such set of books, it really serves as a bible or encyclopedia. At first, people were not sure whether they could rely on them as a responsible source. The first book was sold out very fast, but it took us almost three years to sell the 2007 publication.
People showed more interest in the book in 2008 or 2009, and thanks to the Internet, publications of those years were the simplest to sell. Finally, instead of becoming the enemy to printed publications, the web helped people to reveal All Gone. I am very glad that the book has become a thing that people love to collect from year to year.
Which time of the year do you start gathering material for the book?
I am trying to be a little bit more organized than I was when we were making the first book – we got to work only in November then! Now we try to start the work with photos in September or October. But I’m engaged in the process daily and keep in touch with all famous stage representatives. Everyone wants to be part of the book, so I easily get the material in advance. If not the physical samples, I at least get the preliminary notices.
Your books are highly respected due to their highest production quality. Attention to details – spot varnish, foil blocking – is incredible! Why did you decide to create a premium product instead of opting for a more cost-efficient and, perhaps, much more profitable option?
When people were saying that the web would kill printed media, in fact they did not respect magazines. They read them and then left them in the toilet… You know, I wanted to talk about all the best things, meaning that information should be presented in an ideally created publication, which you would love to keep forever.
Adaptation: Alexandra Metiza