Document Journal Shakes Up Staff

The nexus of Document Journal’s fashion team has exited and founder Nick Vogelson is facing legal issues.

Started in 2012 by Vogelson and James Valeri, the biannual magazine blends fashion, culture and the arts with a bit of an irreverent streak that gives way to emerging talents as well as the work of more established creatives. Valeri exited and sold his stake in the company for an undisclosed sum in 2021.

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Despite the recently winnowed team, the company continues to be run by Vogelson, who serves as editor in chief and creative director from New York.

Through the years, Document has featured the work of such defining talents as Richard Prince, Hedi Slimane, Craig McDean, Larry Clark, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Grace Coddington, Bruce Weber and Rei Kawakubo among others. Document’s online content includes pieces on North Africa’s queer migrant communities, a New Hampshire visit with DJs Octo Octa and Eris Drew, an interview with Noname, a sit-down with the “technoprincess” Caroline Herve, who is also known as Miss Kittin, and a conversation between Paul Sepuya and Ryan McNamara.

Several former Document contributors and staffers, including Sarah Richardson, Alice Lefons, Alexandra Bickerdike and Diana Choi, revealed their departures via farewell emails that were shown to WWD. Richardson and Choi did not respond to media requests. Lefons and Bickerdike declined to comment.

Earlier this month Richardson, who had contributed to Document Journal for eight years, filed a complaint and summons in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York against Document Publishing and Vogelson. The U.K.-based Richardson is seeking $1.2 million in compensatory damages. The filing alleged that Vogelson “used the substantial cash flow from Document Journal to pay himself a lavish compensation package” and “took a free ride on plaintiff’s expertise, creativity, network of contacts and was enriched at plaintiff’s expense.”

Asked to comment about the legal dispute with Richardson, Vogelson, who has not yet been served, said via email that she had chosen to end her relationship with Document. “This lawsuit stems from long and drawn-out negotiations, regarding her compensation and equity, which we’ve been having for some time. She exited from the conversation a couple of weeks ago. Any claim about a specific amount is not based on any formal agreement with the company.”

Richardson’s attorney Peter M. Levine declined comment.

After initially agreeing to a phone interview, Vogelson issued a statement Wednesday instead, saying that Document will be revealing a New York-based fashion team “with a modern approach to diversity of perspective.”

The statement continued, “Strategically, I have wanted to recenter the team here and it presents an exciting opportunity to focus our energy on a core team in New York. Document’s editorial mission is predicated not solely on newness, but looking forwards and backwards, to process where we’ve been, and where we’re going. That sometimes means a reshuffling and re-examining of our priorities, while continuing to work with the most talented and innovative minds across arts and culture. I’m immensely grateful for all of our contributors over the last decade.”

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