Our Take —
B East is, indeed, a strange beast. Published in the Czech Republic with an Indian ex-pat Editor, it claims itself to be about ‘fashion, culture and attitude for the New Europe’. No one could deny that it delivers on that promise. However, what sets B East apart from the other titles trying to evolve a brave new vision for states and cultures once kept snuggly behind and iron curtain is humour.
Rather than taking a po-faced high-end approach to its offerings of fashion, music and partying, B East tackles the whole identity of central and eastern Europe with a riotous tongue-in-cheek approach, actively embracing the clichés and stereotypes of the regions. This does not mean that it does so without creativity and skill. On the contrary, producing an English language publication that intrinsically relies on Ostalgia would become a boring one-line joke if it wasn’t handled correctly. The smartness of B East is that it still manages to find enough connection with the outside world, insider information on new hot spots of creativity in its beloved eastern regions and inventive ways of reinventing the central tenets of its concept to keep it fresh and funny. Simultaneously, it also provides a fascinating snapshot of cultures in transition and very useful info for anyone planning to visit.
Those of a delicate position or who prefer bijou fashion will probably be mortified at some of the ways in which B East unravels its politically incorrect discourses on life in the Used S.S.R. The rest, will love it.