Spring Exhibit: Rare and Out-of-Print Publications Curated by Record 28
From a collection of Yohji Yamamoto campaign imagery to Barbara Kruger retrospectives, the London-based bookstore presents an archive of collectible art, design and fashion books.
Spring Exhibit is an exclusive shopping experience featuring iconic styles and archival 1-of-1 items curated from the personal collections of vintage boutiques and inspiring creatives. For the 2023 edition, GOAT introduces a new category: printed material.
London-based bookshop Record 28 presents the inaugural offering, specializing in unique, rare and out-of-print publications. From fashion retrospectives to cult photography books, the Spring Exhibit selection reflects Record 28’s founding ethos. Nick Mennell, the owner of Record 28, sits down with GOAT to discuss the art of curating and sourcing rare books, providing an insight into his process and the inspiration for his Spring Exhibit collection.
Below, meet the collector behind Record 28 and discover five of his favorite titles he curated for Spring Exhibit. Afterwards, shop the store’s complete curation here.
When did your passion for books start?
As you work your way through life, you find yourself hanging onto certain things and letting go of other things. Books were something I always seemed to hang on to. In fact, it wasn't only books but also magazines, free publications, flyers, fashion show invites—any interesting printed material and ephemera. It’s a buzz and anyone who collects anything will understand.
Do you remember your first rare book purchase?
The first book I remember specifically sourcing and that kickstarted Record 28 was a book I selected for Spring Exhibit: Yohji Yamamoto’s Rewind/Forward. It has everything there is to possibly love about a book, from its design to its concept and, of course, its rarity.
Can you tell us a bit more about Record 28?
Record 28 is based in London and has been actively selling books since 2018, although I’ve personally been buying them for a lot longer. I started Record 28 and gave it a seemingly confusing name—we’re often confused for a music store—to essentially make money for new books and clear space for…more books. It started out as a way of sharing and learning more about the arts and developed into a community and a lifestyle.
What is one rare book you've been coveting but haven’t had a chance to get your hands on yet?
This is a good one but also a hard one to answer. It changes almost daily and I discover new things I’d love to see, be it in galleries, in old magazines or just digging around on the internet. A simple answer is that I’d love a copy of Ed Templeton’s 1999 coming-of-age classic Teenage Smokers.
What does your personal library look like?
I think people always expect someone who loves and works with books to have a huge library—and you wouldn’t be wrong, I have a lot of books in a lot of places. Most of them are intended to be sold, however, either immediately or eventually, so they don't feel like they ever really belong to me.
Having said that, I love being around them and have learnt to love to let them go. No book comes through Record 28 without being enjoyed in my house first. Our library at home will always have a place for certain contemporary titles from the likes of Jouko Lehtola and Andrew Miksys, which sit alongside must-have classics like William Eggleston’s Guide and Joel Meyerowitz’s Cape Light. They are firmly in the “keep” pile.
Do you have a favorite place to read?
You may be surprised to hear that I'm not a huge reader and am far more engaged in the imagery of a good photography book or the preface of an exhibition catalog. But when I do read, I try to offset the content with my surroundings. Reading Don McCullin’s challenging autobiography Unreasonable Behaviour was a lot easier to stomach sitting on a beach. Saying that, I’m currently reading Peter Hujar’s Day by Linda Rosenkrantz from my favorite armchair. During our London pop-up last year, we created the perfect book-browsing corner, encouraging people to visit and sit with the books.
What does the process of curating and collecting look like for you?
It’s a constantly evolving process. I used to just look for certain titles I liked or thought others would like, but now I try to tell a story through curation. This means giving more than one viewpoint to a time or place, building a picture of a subculture or movement through artists, photographers and musicians who lived and breathed that moment. You can definitely like and appreciate more than you can collect, so even if you love something it might not need to be in your collection.
What’s your craziest story about purchasing or sourcing a book?
It’s always a real buzz to find a grail in the back of an old bookshop or, more romantically, from the bouquinistes along the banks of the Seine. If you were to ask any bookseller or antique dealer, they would tell you this is why they do it. I've heard some pretty crazy stories from some obsessive collectors as to how they added key titles to their collections, but I can safely say I've not reached these extreme levels—yet.
Whilst traveling in Europe a few years ago I was flicking through some magazines in a secondhand shop in San Sebastian when I found a copy of the legendary Punk by Salvador Costa who famously captured the very early days of punk at the 100 Club in London and has only been published once: in Spain in 1977. You can spend a long time looking for something, but occasionally it does find you and it’s magical when that happens.
Judging by the titles you've collected, fashion seems to be one of your interests. Are you passionate about vintage fashion?
Fashion books definitely contributed to the birth of Record 28 as I used to work in fashion. I used to tell myself it was ok to buy more clothes as I was building a Comme des Garçons archive. Nowadays, I mostly buy secondhand and vintage clothing; it not only gives you that same satisfactory buzz but it’s a more sustainable and unique way to dress and live.
Do you collect anything besides printed matter?
If I could, I would collect almost everything. I think you either have the bug or you don't. I find it hard to walk past a decent chair, for example. Let’s just say there are a lot of them in our house, but I will always find room for more.