Not strictly related to this side of the Atlantic, I admit, but perhaps an indication of its far reaching influence, today’s post is an acknowledgement of the end of Worn Fashion Journal, a Canadian based bi-annual magazine that has provided a much needed platform for critical but accessible fashion and dress journalism over the last ten years.
Personally, this is timely as it has also been a decade since I lived in Montreal and got myself a brief spot as a local reviewer of clothing stores in the Outremont area for Worn’s website. I still remember being interviewed by Serah-Marie McMahon, its founding editor, in Casa Del Popolo on St Laurent, and thinking how exciting it was to see someone with no formal journalism experience wanting to give voice to the complex narratives, practices and techniques we associate with our clothes. The first copies I owned, including the third issue (which is pictured above), contained such gems from how to adapt your jeans for a skinny fit, the history of bakelite jewellery to the advent of ethical fashion and interviews with Alexandra Palmer. The diverse topics, the absence of advertisements and the emphasis on what people actually wear instead of what they should wear was a much needed antidote to the gloss and proselytizing of most mainstream fashion magazines.
I am probably not alone when I say that with Worn Fashion Journal, I felt I had found a like minded friend. It definitely allowed me to have an academic interest in fashion and dress while still enjoying the fun sensations associated with dressing up and playing with clothes. It also contributed to my return to the UK a few years later to take up a place at the Royal College of Art in London to study history of design. I have much to thank Worn for!
The gap left by its absence will be sizeable and I only hope that it does not represent the final descent of very independent fashion publishing. Its presence was notable for its refusal to accept fashion at face value, trying to look beyond but always in a curious and non-judgemental way. There really must be space for media like this because it enables us to hear a dynamic cacophony of clothed voices above what can sometimes feel like the constant drone of commercial, mass produced fashion.
The final double issue is published on 22 November and the magazine is also having a farewell ball, which is sure to be well attended by its many followers, aptly named the ‘Wornettes’.
When looking for tributes to and articles on this inspirational magazine, it seems the coverage is predominantly by Canadian press. I would love to hear from anyone who has written about or shared an interest in Worn Fashion Journal, wherever you are, and it would be great to know if anyone is thinking about doing a dissertation or thesis about Worn Fashion Journal – could be a very interesting project!