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|Type||Quarterly Transcultural Styles & Ideas|
Trace is a quarterly, internationally distributed magazine with the tagline, "transcultural styles + ideas". It focuses on urban culture and has featured on its cover some of the most significant black artists and models of the last decade,[when?] including Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Biggie Smalls, Diddy, Iman, and Naomi Campbell - many of them before they were household names. It was founded in 1996 by Claude Grunitzky, who is still the chairman and editor in chief.
Trace magazine was the successor to True magazine, which the Togo-born Grunitzky had started in 1995. When True failed after less than a year, Grunitzky, then aged 25, launched Trace, choosing the name apparently for its inquisitive connotations and its similarity to the word ‘race’.
The first cover featured Snoop Dogg and was distributed in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, the US, Australia and Japan. In 1998, after 15 UK issues, Trace moved its headquarters to the US. At least part of the reason for this has been said to be the desire for more accessible and more dynamic kind of publication than London at that time allowed for.
After an inauspicious start (at one point, financial backing for the cash-strapped publication came in the form of a $110,000 cheque from the Wu-tang rapper RZA), it rose to become a well-respected voice within the urban style scene. Over the years, its cover stars have included such A-list celebrities as the models Naomi Campbell, Devon Aoki, Iman and Tyra Banks, the actresses Thandie Newton and Rosario Dawson, the boxer Mike Tyson, and the musicians Diddy, Common, IAM, DMX, Erykah Badu, Kelis, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, Omega Sirius Moon, Gwen Stefani, Notorious BIG, Sean Paul, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Sisqo, Eve and Snoop Dogg. It has featured photography by Marc Baptiste, Ellen Von Unwerth, Albert Watson and Juergen Teller.
In 2006, Trace turned 10 years old, and celebrated with a November anniversary issue, published with three different covers.
In its early years, Trace focused principally on hip hop culture, and this is reflected in the large number of rap, hip-hop and R&B artists it featured on and within its covers. Around the early 1990s, it shifted to a broader approach, incorporating more high-fashion and travel features, and appealing to a wider range of racial and cultural backgrounds. This change corresponds to Grunitzky’s growing interest in the concept of "transculturalism", a term which he invented to describe the increasing prevalence of individuals who “transcend their initial culture, in order to explore, examine and infiltrate foreign cultures”. Accordingly, later issues included “Brasil 2000”, “Destination: Japan” and “High on Mexico”. Nonetheless, since 1998 it has continuously employed its provocative (and ambiguous) ‘Black Girls Rule!’ catchphrase, which now constitutes the theme for one magazine issue per year.
Mentions in pop culture
- Trace appears in Quentin Tarantino's 2007 film Grindhouse. Someone goes into a store to buy a copy of Vogue and as they browse they shelves the camera pans past the Alicia Keys Trace issue
- Trace was featured prominently in the Spike Lee movie She Hate Me.
- Claude Grunitzky and Steven Psyllos, 10 Years of Trace, (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2006) ISBN 1-86154-294-1
- Claude Grunitzky, Transculturalim: How the World is Coming Together, (True Agency, 2004) ISBN 1-57687-218-1
- Claude Grunitzky and Steven Psyllos, 10 Years of Trace (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2006) ISBN 1-86154-294-1
- Claude Grunitzky, Transculturalism: How the world is coming together (TRUE Agency, Inc. 2004) ISBN 1-57687-218-1
- David Crowley, Magazine Covers (Mitchell Beazley 2003) ISBN 1-84533-239-3