ANORAK MAGAZINE | PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE – Celebrating 10 years!

Posted: 8th April 2016

When ABACUS turned from blog to boutique back in 2013, I started as organically as possible and began stocking children’s books and magazines. First to appear on our virtual shelves was the incredible Anorak Magazine.

Hearing of their commendable 10 year anniversary this year, it seemed only natural to share with you the story behind this innovative children’s magazine and their exciting future!

We chat with founder and all round creative commander, Cathy Olmedillas, to find out more…

1. Where did the idea of Anorak sprout from and what inspired you?

It was a combination of my love for magazines since a child, working at magazines like The Face in the 90s and becoming a Mum. I had a secret desire for years to have my own magazine but it only became clear to me what magazine it should be when I had Oscar.


2. What did you hope to achieve with Anorak when it began?

I used to joke that within ten years, we would open a Anorak school, all dedicated to creativity, but beyond that I had no tangible dreams! I just wanted to follow my passion and produce something that would truly inspire kids. I think maybe I had expected the growth to happen quicker but I soon realized that launching a unique product without truck loads of money requires a lot of patience and plenty of education.

3. Over the past 10 years of Anorak, do you have a favourite cover?

Argh this is the hardest question ever! Each of them has a personal story behind them, so it’s tough to pick one over another.

I think the most memorable one for me is the Cats & Dogs cover, because it was done by an artist, Amandine Urruty, whose work I am in awe of. I felt very humbled that she accepted to do it and when she showed me the final artwork for it, I was completely smitten. It gave Anorak a classic kids book feel and it gave me the confidence to push things even further creatively. It was also our best selling edition, we ran out within barely six weeks.


4. You must have worked with some incredibly talented contributors since the beginning of Anorak, are there any creative minds you can recall working with that have been a particular highlight for you?

All of them are the loveliest, most talented people ever! I think in ten years I only encountered one annoying person so that’s pretty good going! I couldn’t choose one artist over another but my latest artist-crush is Branche Coverdale. He is an artist from New York and has illustrated a story about a sick yeti in our latest museums edition. His work is just so unique, I can’t stop staring at it.


5. This year you celebrate an incredible 10 years of Anorak, congratulations! Do you have any particular celebrations in the pipeline?

We have just come back from a muddy but fun weekend at Yorkshire Sculpture Park where we put on The Drawing Imaginarium, our tenth anniversary drawing festival. It is also coming to London on the 23rd and 24th April at the Old Truman Brewery as part of the D&AD festival. The Drawing Imaginarium is all about drawing and imagination and getting kids to use their creative and thinking cells. We have creative contraptions, paper bugs and butterflies workshops, fuzzy felt activities and SO MUCH stuff. You can see the programming here and I hope you and your customers will all come along.

Press Landscape Format

6. With the digital age in full  swing, how important do you think it is for children for print to remain on the page and not on the screen?

It is frankly essential that they use their imagination and creativity as much as possible and I really struggle to see how that can be done by staring at a screen all day. I think every medium has its merits but nothing replaces the quality time one can spend with a book or a magazine and I don’t know of any negative side effects from reading too much!

7. Alongside Anorak you have created some amazing publications such as Dot Magazine and fun episodes of Anorak TV – are you working on any new projects at the moment you could share with us?

Only in my head!! I have had to restrain myself about new projects because mostly of boring financial restraints. I have been trying my hardest to stay focused, which is definitely paying off from a business perspective so I don’t want to run before I walk again!


8. Where do you see Anorak another 10 years from now?

Studio Anorak is our illustration studio and my plan is to keep growing that. We’ve done great work for fashion brands and cultural institutions, all aimed at creative families and it’s rewarding to see how well received our collaborations have been. We’ve just finished the brand identity for an East London Children’s Festival happening in May and can’t wait to see the posters around our hometown!

Other than that, Anorak TV Channel? Anorak Museum of Creativity? Anorak playgrounds? I have no idea, the sky’s the limit but one thing for sure is I hope we are still around inspiring the next generation of kids to draw and dream.

We hope you enjoyed reading behind the scenes of the Anorak empire I would like to say a huge thank you to Cathy for taking the time out of her busy schedule to talk with us!