12/17/09

Bought It. Wear It. Worn.

Every evening I ask if there's any mail for me. Though the most I usually receive is a bank statement, I hold out until my subscriptions start to flow in. As with most things in [my] life, they all seem to arrive when I don't even bother asking.

Earlier this week I woke up to find a neatly piled stack of mags in the kitchen. Nylon (I thought my subscription had run out!), a UofT alumni magazine (yes, I do read it) and a copy of the latest Worn Fashion Journal were all addressed to me. It turned out that my issue of Worn seemed to combine the off-beat styling of Nylon with the smart girl perspective this UofT grad had been lacking lately.

I spent most of last weekend brainstorming story ideas for Mother's Day. Images of high tea, sunny days and white fabrics suddenly came to mind. If you know my mother, you know that I have to laugh at our different opinions when it comes to style. Naturally I had to read G. Stegelmann's piece on what she learned about dressing from Mom.

Pages later I swooned at the Nancy Drew inspired fashion spread. Stories of this young sleuth are a very large part of my obsession with reading. Seeing the vintage mix made me think of carrying Nancy Drew novels in my backpack and dreaming about being a fiction writer someday.

Finally, those Wornettes captured my attention with "Colour Me Your Colour Baby," a look into the history of colour and its associations with gender. As an undergraduate student I took any gender courses I could find. My fascination often found it's way into my writing, including one piece I contributed to the second issue of VIVE, our campus fashion publication.

I've been familiar with Worn since before it made the move to Toronto from Montreal. It has always valued the smart, critical and historical takes on fashion. But this issue made me wonder, Hey Wornettes, can you read my mind? If you're curious, check out www.wornjournal.com, they may be reading yours too.

12/10/09

It's Not All Love

I'll admit, I don't know much when it comes to the design or art direction of a magazine - besides what I like and don't like. What makes the cut ends up on my board in my room, an ever-changing collage of inspirational images (what kind of fashion-lover would I be without one?). I'm hoping that will change in 2010. I'm looking at courses that will allow me to get a glimpse of a magazine from the art department's perspective. Also, many of my assignments are asking for creative ideas along with each pitch. Speaking of assignments, it's about time I get to work! For now, enjoy this tidbit from a recent interview with former Esquire designer, George Lois.

“Look at Vogue. Oh my God. Vogue and Harper’s once were very well designed magazines. I mean they were exciting to look at. You could not give a shit about fashion and be excited by the whole look of the magazine. You look at Vogue now: it’s not even designed. What a difference. You pick up a Vogue back in the days of [Condé Nast’s Alexander] Lieberman and those guys, and you look at it now, and it’s a disgrace."


ps. any tips on how to use/learn to use in design?

12/9/09

Walk in my Shoes

After a week of studying back issues, scouring outfit choices and anticipating possible questions, I made my way to my first editorial assistant interview today. As Mother Nature would have it, my big day coincided with the first snowfall of the season. I packed my shoes, bags and books before my sister and I set off to join the trail of cars moving along the highway at a snail's pace.

Despite leaping out of the car just a block west of the building, I entered the festive lobby with soaking wet boots. I was early enough to dry myself off and switch into my favourite pair of studded booties. Luckily, my outfit ("Dress for the job you want" says the voice in my head) was unaffected by this year's first encounter with slush. I added a swipe of lip gloss, stashed my extra bag (filled with homework and a cozy knit for class this evening) under the receptionist's desk and still had time to spare. I reviewed my back issues, ideas and writing samples before the editor at large appeared.

Though this was my first interview for a paid position, it wasn't my first time chatting with editors about my experience. Despite being usually shy around new people, I seem to become possessed by an extremely outgoing version of myself each time I enter an office. Those questions I was oh so prepared to answer? I wasn't asked a single one. Instead I had the chance to speak a bit about myself, hear more about what will be expected of the EA and ask some questions of my own. I presented her with another copy of my resume and a collection of writing samples that took me hours and hours to format properly on my new mac.

A funny thing happened when I mentioned my references. "I received a letter about you," she said. I didn't know whether to be shocked or deathly afraid. It turns out that after telling my teachers about this interview, one of them had written her a letter about me! I was genuinely surprised and extremely flattered. She couldn't remember which one had sent it, but I plan to solve that mystery tonight.

Regardless of what happens, I felt good about it. I truly would not have done a single thing differently. You should know that I'm always up for magazine chat, so of course I left with a smile. Oh, and one more thing, an edit test.

I stepped back out onto the street with my hood on and my head held high. Next stop - dream job! But before that, I headed to the Eaton Centre to buy a pair of waterproof boots.

"wishin, hopin, boxes to open"

Last week I embarked on Day 1 of Christmas shopping. I ended up going to the mall at the last minute, hence my solo outing and chattiness with each salesperson I encountered. I left with gifts for almost everyone on my list and even a few magazines in tow. You know I've already praised my holiday issues but these were a little different. For the sake of the blog, I took home Mango and H&M magazine. I was curious to see what was inside and what their respective strategies might be.

Mango's magazine is essentially a catalogue with editorial-style photography. The stories star Scarlett Johansson (the cover girl), Daisy Lowe ("Sensual Feeling") and Leigh Lezark ("Girl & Boy"). H&M's is quite a different story. With photo shoots by Terry Richardson, an interview with Lady Gaga and a piece telling readers how to find their inner hostess, the mag appears to be much more like my usual reads.

But what's the point? Mango seems to be telling it like it is. So why am I reading H&M's "25 Best Tips for a Great 2010" (In case you're wondering, they include "Don't dream it. Be it.")? I guess the fact that I shop there regularly should answer my own question. Before this turns into a rant on consumerism and brand management, next time I'm at the cash I'll politely refuse an issue.

12/5/09

"we could keep trying but things will never change/so i don't look back"

VOGUE Italia December 2009 (thecut.com)

Fashion is all about moving forward. Fashion is about what’s next. Or is it? I’ve always been the kind of girl who believes that somehow, someway, it all goes back to the classics. But this week I was exposed to both the new and old in magazines.


This week I got my first look at VOGUE Italia’s December cover. Covered in a collage of models’ self-portraits, it was accompanied by comments about Twitter. I was immediately excited and approving. The collage/moodboard layout reminded me of so many I had created in my room and on my desktop over the years. But models? VOGUE? It has a do-it-yourself feeling that is far from covers photographed by Patrick Demarchelier and Co. After some thought (maybe a little too much) I realized, with high-end designers rushing to create diffusion lines, reality television shows that capture all of the happenings behind-the-seams and a new cover that resembles a collection of Twit pics, fashionable ideas seem to be falling off their respective pedestals.


Back in my dream world of vintage photography and ‘60s musicals, AG and I decided to take in a night of girl talk and holiday cheer. We finally checked out the Vanity Fair portraits at the ROM. The room was bustling with couples and gal pals, all shuffling around for their glimpse of Princess Diana, Madonna or Rob Lowe (circa the days of the Brat Pack). We followed up with sushi, a major catch-up session and a stroll by the Holt Renfrew holiday windows. My favourite had to be their interpretation of fashion’s notable names (Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington among them) as snow[wo]men.


I spent the day studying a year’s worth of back issues of one Canadian women’s mag. As I flipped pages I was confronted with the idea of old and new once again. Summer beauty buys, holiday basics, the same stories are repackaged again and again. We look in the rear view mirror as fashion keeps moving forward. I guess it doesn’t really matter, as long as it keeps us wanting more.