The Kinfolk Cult


I’m going to preface this post by saying that I like Kinfolk magazine. I don’t entirely encapsulate their prescribed lifestyle, nor am I quite so impeccably styled or perfectly normcore as the faces of the Kinfolk brand.  Nevertheless, the world’s fastest-growing magazine for creative professionals – and the face of the ‘Slow Living’ movement – is in fact a beautiful thing to behold.

Sure, it’s had its backlash, such as the Kinspiracy blog, which seems to claim that Kinfolk’s key purpose is “making white people feel artistic.” Gawker described the formula “Wood, Citrus, Lattes, Feet, Twine, Repeat.” The Guardian refer to it as “The Kinfolk Cult”, offering us 39 signs that you are totally a part of it. (#7: You genuinely believe food tastes better outdoors. #30: Dinner parties are called “gatherings”.)

I can certainly understand that, in this post-ironic age in which everything is a target and no one can be genuine without facing ridicule, people find it easy or necessary to poke fun at everything – whether it’s photos of pretty lattes, or a hand holding a bunch of herbs against a white wall, or sliced-open citrus arranged in a soothing way. But frankly I believe that this mindset misses the Kinfolk point entirely.


That point is simplicity, creating a little community of one’s own, and spending time with loved ones. All things that we ultra-modern, over-worked folks are always going on about, and yet we do very little to achieve such worthy goals! Kinfolk are not only advocating for such a lifestyle, but they’re doing it in a really pretty way. For at the end of the day, Kinfolk magazine is a lovely product. It looks good, the pages feel good and it even smells good (granted, I love the smell of new ink when just about any book arrives in our warehouse!).

Likewise, it’s a lovely thing for their contributors to express their worldviews and visions genuinely, as the iconic artist Michele Oka Doner does in Kinfolk Volume 18. She says, “When you’re willing to participate, to go out of your comfort zone, to have a routine but break that routine, to listen and to be spontaneous, then you open yourself up to experience.” I also love the contributors’ ways of finding beauty in everyday items and scenes, such as aerial shots of suburban neighbourhoods. They can even make the back of someone’s head look good!


The best way to understand Kinfolk’s purpose is to simply pick up an issue and have a browse. Its message is one that was made for print. Kinfolk Volume 18: The Design Issue is out on 26 November, when it will be sparking up discussion about what good design is and how it influences life and creativity!


Tweet us @TurnaroundUK with your favourite thing about Kinfolk to win one of three free advance copies of Kinfolk Volume 18: The Design Issue.

Post by @sarahdubbleyew (pictured here looking more Kinfolk than usual).

Kinfolk Sarah (2)

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