Trace : Heroes for Days


From 2001-2006 I was the Executive Editor of the magazine hailed as “the style bible” by The New Yorker. Acting as a purveyor of emerging cultures worldwide, Trace has been called the leading voice in “transcultural style + ideas,” and has featured some of the most iconic artists, models and creative’s on its cover since its founding in 1996, many of them before they became household names. Our editorial team continuously met the challenge of finding compelling content and presenting it in an authentic, edgy light. My particular passion was to act as the driving engine and curator of our annual year-end “Destination” issues, which saw us traveling to and immersing ourselves in countries such as South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica, Portugal, Argentina, India, Uruguay and Brazil.

Heroes for Days

All is forgiven in the city of comfortable souls and creative minds. And the lifeworld of possibilities is far from limited.

There is a song by the German band Wir Sind Helden—We Are Heroes—that tells the story of going on a shopping trip to “buy a new life.” It’s a bumpy, upbeat party anthem that basks in its unapologetically pop production values while back-handedly dropping existential advice. The name of the song is “Guten Tag (Reklamation)”—“Hello (Reclamation)”—and its closing line warns: “I took my new life home and tried it on but it didn’t fit.”

I first heard the track at a “house wrecking” party on a cool summer night in Berlin. The crowd was an unruly mix of survival artists, city clochards, smiling grandmothers and soul-surfing expatriates hailing from London to Chicago and beyond. The party fare included champagne and Jägermeister, served with baguettes and heads of Bavarian Swiss cheese. The two disc-man and a speaker deejay played everything from David Bowie to Gnarls Barkley to Gwen Stefani to old school salsa. When a well-known Sean Paul track came on, a shaven-headed, army-fatigued young man (camouflage is the all-occasion wardrobe of choice in Berlin these days) informed me that he was ready to show me how to whine. It was the kind of night that far exceeded any expectations I’d harbored of the crane-locked, wall-crashed pulsecenter of Germany. Indeed it was a panoramic occasion. I returned to my hotel early the next morning in a state of wide-eyed wonderment.