Eugene Kan and Alex Maeland, formerly Hypebeast’s editorial and creative director respectively, launched Maekan this week, an “audio-visual publication focused on creative culture”.
Unlike most publications which rely on advertising for profits, Maekan is set up differently. There are no ads on the site and readers must sign up as members to access any of the content. For a fee of $15 a month or $150 for a year, it promises stories, events and a community of creative leaders.
The name Maekan is a portmanteau of the two founders’ last names, and is also meant to evoke the word “making.”
“We didn’t really feel like we were pushing to innovate or move culture forward at Hypebeast,” said Eugene Kan. “It’s not necessarily because of Hypebeast but the business model in an ad-driven world. Your whole goal is about scale. It’s really about scale, creating as many pages as possible to serve ads.”
“It sounds like I’m very bitter towards Hypebeast but really it’s that I’m disappointed in general about that whole space of creative media,” Kan said.
Kan’s anti-establishment bent notwithstanding, there’s a good amount of fashion related content on Maekan’s site. The inaugural issue includes a feature charting the transformation of the sneaker design industry, an interview with Kitsune‘s Masaya Kuroki and the identity politics of affixing grills to one’s teeth.
But it also delves into other arenas their old workplace Hypebeast wouldn’t touch: how autonomous cars will redefine the commuter culture, for instance, or an article talking to artists about the “art of unlearning.”
“The ideal person to us is more psychographically driven,” Kan explains. “Are you fascinated by things that would never be interesting to you but the level of detail and how profound the reporting is makes it so?”
Many of the stories have been recorded in addition to appearing in text, which Kan said was a response to both the uptick of interest in podcasting in the United States as well as finding a way to tell longer form stories to people who don’t like reading much.
The publication keeps a Compton, California office where its business partner is based but the four people making up the editorial team–Cody Horne and Kan’s younger brother Nathan, all ex Hypebeast guys, round out the pack–reside in Hong Kong.
Kan hopes to be break even in the next two and a half to three years but sees that there could be additional revenue streams in events, products, as well as creative agency and studio work.