This post first appeared on TinyLetter.com, which is a service which I use to send more personal letter-like mailings to my readers. It’s a look into the more personal side of my life, so you have to be signed up to read them. All you need is an email address to get on this mailing list, and you can sign up HERE.
My Mum has always loved home magazines, especially ones about country homes, and how to replicate those kinds of relaxed, welcoming, shabby chic type living spaces. She liked to dream about what her dream house would look like in the countryside, and all the things she could do to our current home. She also loved craft magazines and would stash them all in her sewing room, planning to one day use the patterns to create quilts, clothes, embroidered cushions, anything you can imagine.
When I was about 13 I think, my mother bought me my first teen magazine for girls, and I was hooked. I laugh now to think about the what was in those magazines and how seriously I probably took them. I loved the glossy pages, the fashion and makeup, it felt like an inspiring luxury. A moment to stop and have a girl moment to myself, to think about what I might like to do with my hair, or what clothes I might want to buy. I don’t really know what I loved so much now, but it led to grown up subscriptions to Vogue, and also buying British Glamour, which used to be a cute handbag size, which I loved.
Recently, Glamour has announced that it’s closing down it’s print magazine, and will be focusing on a kind of online beauty focused website and events creation. It will have a bi-yearly print run of a beauty bible, but no fashion and no thoughtful articles. I used to splurge and buy this magazine when I was in Australia and dreaming of travel and coming here to London. It feels weird that this magazine, as of December, won’t exist anymore.
It got me thinking about print magazines. With the internet and being able to Google things, we have Instagram for daily updates on Fashion Week all over the world and filmed catwalk runway shows that we can watch live. We have that instant gratification, and no one really waits for Vogue to come out to know what’s going on in the fashion and beauty world. We also just Google things for instant answers. So why do we need magazines? And are print magazines really just an environmental waste?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, because maybe I read magazines for different reasons than other people? I like the feel of the pages, the glossiness and the way I can hold it in my hand while I curl up with a cup of tea away from the world, and reconnect with my creativity. For me, magazines are maybe not so much a source of information, though they are that too, but a way of taking a time out and dreaming. The photo shoots in Vogue and Glamour are always so creative. They create magic with fashion, props, models and travel to far flung places, mixing up designers to create looks from different fashion houses. They take me away for a moment from the everyday and make me think about how to mix things up.
I mean sure, I do like to know what’s coming on the fashion radar and what new beauty products are coming out, but I also like to have that print magazine in my hand while I think about what I might like to spend my money on, what I’d like my life to look like, what clothes I might like to cut up and modernise. I also like the articles on what other people’s lives are like and what’s going on in other women’s lives, because they’re often nothing like my own, or are sometimes chillingly similar. Not only that, but I (guilty secret) sometimes tear pages out of magazines that I find inspiring or beautiful and use them as inspirations for mood boards, for drawings or paintings, and other things like that. Decoupage perhaps. Ideas that come from them for stories or for my personal journals.
Magazines are also a little inexpensive present when I need to self care. I will buy myself a slice of cake from the bakery, a magazine and a small bunch of flowers, and curl up, and soon my sense of being caught up in my problems or little everyday tragedies will seem lighter. I feel like I can get in touch with that more female part of me and just be for a moment or two, and let the words and images inspire and soothe. I have no idea why magazines have that effect on me, but they do. Of course, I don’t read gossip magazines for this, I’m pretty picky about my magazines.
If you read a magazine on an iPad, you can’t tear out the page. But you can probably save it to Pinterest. The world is changing, and sometimes it perhaps is changing too fast for some of us.Magazines are essentially a catalogue where you can see what’s coming up and make a choice about whether you want to buy it or buy into it or not. With declining ad sales, they’re no longer the best way to reach the consumer for brands and fashion houses. And therefore the revenue to keep the magazine going as well as the content needed to write about, is no longer available (the purchase price of the magazine actually does not cover the cost of photographers, writers, staff and printing, and other expenses. It’s the costs to the advertisers in it that do). So slowly all of them may just become websites or online hubs with events, and that’s OK too, I guess. But I am sad to see Glamour go, it was a fun, positive magazine which seemed to care about women and didn’t have that nasty or chauvinistic edge that a lot of women’s magazines have. But I certainly do wish them all the best in their future enterprises.
It’s just funny to think about how I used to buy magazines, and my mother would be there picking hers out too. I never thought that that idea would one day be quaint.