Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fashion Journals: Worn and Address

I have come across two fashion publications that I have enjoyed so much in the last few months.  Address, based out of London, is an independent, academic journal that presents fashion through many different creative mediums and perspectives.  Worn, based out of Toronto, is another independent fashion journal that also showcases fashion and the art of appearances from many different viewpoints.

One of the reasons I love these journals so much is the incorporation of different styles of writing, perspectives, cultures, themes, and personalities. Their broad spectrum view of fashion and the ways we encounter and interpret it in our past, present, and future lives is what makes these publications different from fashion journals before them.  While Address has pieces written by those in and out of the fashion industry from all over the world, Worn supports those in its local fashion community and operates in a realm of its own where an extraordinary fashion journal is cleverly disguised as a fashion magazine.  Worn and Address share an important quality, however,  in that they both approach dress as something that is unique and different to every culture and every individual for that matter.

I could not turn a page in either of these publications without finding something that struck me.  These are just a few quotes that I could not help but make note of.

The introduction to the opening article in Address titled "From Out of the Box" by Nathaniel Dafydd Beard: (This article discusses the ever-rising emphasis being placed on fashion exhibitions in cultural institutions and how museums are learning as they go to find the best ways to make their collections accessible to the public.)
"Historically, the relationship between fashion and the museum ended at the cloakroom.  Yet, just as curators began to explore the vast cultural significance of the fashion industry, their spaces saw an explosion of vitality which has now escaped from the boundaries of physical space altogether.  As fashion curators develop an increasing hunger for the digital, what role does clothing now play?"

(from the same article) "Despite their vast wealth of knowledge and expertise, there remains a slight amateurish air over the fashion curator's role, in part because so many had to create their own jobs as they went along."

"Or as Cecil Beaton once put it, 'He who ignores fashion, ignores life itself.'" (My new tagline..)

This opening article in Address meant a lot to me. While I was still interning at the Chicago History Museum, I saw first hand the types of efforts that were being made to catalog images for future public release on the web.  Fashion has always been, well, fashionable, but as for fashion in museums, the public and museum staff themselves are still trying to figure out how to receive it.  I strongly suggest anyone who has any interest in this subject to order the journal from their website.  This article is only one of many gems in their current issue.

(Don't mind it's creased corners, I've been carrying it with me 
everywhere since I got in the mail last week)

I have only been a subscriber to Worn for its last 2 issues. They are a bi-annual publication and their most recent issue was their 14th.  Just as the 13th issue was, the 14th issue has been just as much of a page turner filled with insightful and refreshing articles that do not take themselves too seriously as some long-standing fashion publications might.

Right away in the editor's letter, Worn manages to talk about style in a way that had not occurred to me before:
"When it comes to style, fashion, and taste, WORN is committed to challenging the polarizing concepts of good and bad...We believe we have as much to learn from things we don't like as things we do.  Realizing that there is no one sartorial path is to accept there is no one human narrative; ultimately, our individuality is what we have in common."

Throughout the issue, from the different types of bras and their histories to the affects the military has had on men's fashion ("Shop at all seriously for a suit, and you enter a realm of things you must always or never do."), I learn more and more about the clothing I put on everyday.  I also learn about the clothes that other types of people wear everyday, such as ballet dancers, or even other cultures, such as Mayan women in South America and their traditional huipils.  All in all, Worn presents information about style and dress in such a thought-provoking and witty way that will make me a subscriber to their journal for as long as they keep sending them to me all the way down in Memphis.

The mere existence of these publications gives clue to the rise of this once scoffed at industry of dress as interpretive history.  And as someone who hopes to have the privilege to work in this industry one day, publications, blogs, and other forms of media like these ignite my drive and passion to meet that goal even more.  And for that, editors of Worn and Address, I thank you.