The Wonder of Tyler Brûlé

For the last 15 years, Tyler Brûlé has fascinated the world of art, design, culture, and innovation. The founding publishing of Wallpaper and Monocle, the New York Times described Brûlé as an “Estonian-Canadian who keeps his perma-stubble artfully cropped like Tom Ford’s,” adding that he “embodies the border-agnostic sophisticate whom the Monocle brand is built around. His globe-trotting persona (cocktails-with-Danish-diplomats, intellectualism, sleeper-seat jaunts to Taipei) has inspired legions of followers, who hang on his oracular pronouncements on what’s next.” It is, of course, all true.

Brûlé came to the publishing world at a time when print was dying. He launched Monocle as publishers struggled to keep even their legacy brands afloat. He then opened a string of Monocle-inspired boutiques. Then came a radio station. But long before Monocle arrived, there was Brûlé’s first venture: Wallpaper. Just two years after Brûlé was shot twice by a sniper during an ambush in Kabul — where he was stationed for the German news magazine Focus to cover the Afghanistan war — Brûlé launched his first-ever print publication in 1996. Wallpaper, a style and fashion magazine, was one of the most influential fashion launches of the decade. A year after Brûlé developed Wallpaper, he sold it to Time Inc. for £1m. The sale of Brûlé’s debut brand paved the way for Monocle.

When asked about the secret to his success, Brûlé noted that what works for Monocle is the same thing that works in everyday life. “People need to attend to details,” Brûlé told the Guardian. “I believe in a tidy ship. No jackets on the backs of chairs.” Launched as a magazine focused on business, culture, design, global affairs, and so much more, Monocle is aimed at a globally minded audience who are eager for opportunities, adventure, and experiences that transcend the places they’re familiar with. And little more exemplifies that than an email of thanks Brûlé received. According to the Guardian, the email of an avid Monocle reader was as follows: “I am a 21-year-old studying economics and government in Australia. I have not achieved the means to live by the majority of the magazine’s ideas, I’m simply writing to thank you for the wealth of, for lack of a better word, awesomeness of the magazine.”

Following the wildly successful Monocle and franchises, Brûlé launched Monocle 24, a 24-hour radio station. Founded in 2011, the station covers urbanism, business, culture, design, food and drink, print media, as well as foreign affairs. And just two years afterward, in 2013, Brûlé published The Monocle Guide to Better Living, which was followed closely by The Monocle Guide to Good Business, The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes, and most recently, How to Make a Nation: A Monocle Guide. The Quality of Life Conference, Monocle’s first-ever conference in Lisbon.

Throughout each endevaour and brand-new launch, the goal for Brûlé has never waived. Readers, he says, just “need advice on how to live a sophisticated lifestyle.” Thankfully, Brûlé is a fountain of youth on that front.

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