Closing This Chapter For Worn Through

Worn Through officially celebrates ten years this month, and with reaching that milestone, I am suspending production in its current form.

In 2007 I was a year into my doctoral program. I began seeking ways to bridge the vibrant discussions that were had among my cohort and mentors, with popular culture and fresh things happening online. There was not a satisfactory space for emerging scholars to showcase their voices, and the confines of academia and professional societies of the time limited access to scholarly community resources that were pertinent to anyone wanting to engage in the field.

Apparel scholarship on history and culture branches into such a plethora of departments across varied institutions and there was no central vehicle to pool that material, and to connect it to the “outside.” At the time most of the scholarly organizations were going through transition periods and were not best serving this need. Often newer scholars felt left out and were turning to the web to develop alternative conversations. Also work from established professionals was not reaching a wide enough audience in my opinion.

I disagreed with the notion that there had to be a formal inside and outside to our chosen profession. With that I conceptualized that Worn Through could be one route of connective tissue of popular interest, scholarly/professional pursuit cross-discipline, focused especially on emerging scholars however ranging thru those with establishment esteem and accomplishment. Over the years others had similar ideas and wonderfully enacted their plans into our sibling blogs, print journals, and podcasts. Along with our peers, we were featured in books & articles both mass market and scholarly, NPR, and at conferences, and some of our posts grew into exhibitions and papers, which is something that warms my heart. At our peak readership was about 40k page views per month, and a few thousand followers on fb and Twitter, which was humbling for our ‘lil niche publication.

What emerged over the decade was something I did not quite expect. I had visions resulting in endless to-do lists about making WT a multi-media mini-conglom; mixing blog with forum, print and digital, documentary and educational content, scholarships, grants, and a host of other options. Many of those things did in fact develop, and some never had the chance to grow due to constraints of time and money, true of many organizations of our size conceived at my kitchen table and living outside of institutional support. Eventually we accepted a very few advertising dollars to ease overhead and later used them to fund the research awards program.

Over the ten year period, 44 people, from at least 7 countries, came together, developing a community of trust and encouragement in scholarship based solely in enthusiasm. The relationships within WT ranged from brief yet productively professional, to structured as the interns often received credit from their schools, to years of collaboration and lasting friendships.

All of the contributors have put in meaningful hard work. The interns were generally in charge of the helpful CFPs readers counted on, running contests to distribute the wonderful texts publishers sent, and keeping up on the copy editing and images. Guest writers added new perspectives. The museum professionals, educators, and independent scholars shared exhibition details, teaching methods, and thoughtful commentary on current affairs. The book reviews editors clued us in to the publication world.

I would like to especially note Heather who helped get the initial concepts going and worked intimately with me to develop the consistency and upward mobility. Next Brenna shifted from Contributor to Managing Editor when I really needed her so much. Her commitment and organizational skills took WT to the next level as I was completing my dissertation, writing my book and related materials, and became a mother twice over. Worn Through would not still be alive if she had not come in to be the best wing woman anyone could ask for and she’s a stellar scholar as well! Harlo has handled all of Worn Through’s design and and technological issues and all of his efforts were instrumental in our success. Everyone associated has put in innumerable hours and made this all possible, for which I extend my sincere gratitude.

The social media/web world has evolved much since 2007. Eventually it grew clear to me that I too was moving in new professional directions and would would like to embark on fresh challenges. Furthermore, the professional societies, such as the Costume Society of America, have done their best to modernize. Thus it became time to let Worn Through rest and possibly be reinvented when appropriate.

I will keep the site live so that the archive is available. Also, I am keeping the name and LLC at the ready in case the decision is made to move forward with new projects under that banner.

The biggest thank you of course goes to the readership and international community that is Worn Through! If you would like to reach out I can be contacted at msklar@uga.edu and @MonicaSklar

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.