Launch A Magazine Reader 02

During the launch of A Magazine Reader 02 Chet Bugter, Femke de Vries and students of MA Fashion Strategy generation 28 will discuss the use of text in fashion magazines and how it affects our relationship to fashion.

A Magazine Reader revolves around the analysis of a mainstream and high-end fashion magazine and its translation into an alternative new zine to provide insight into the cultural power and forms of value production that is at the core of fashion media. In it, the reader becomes an active actor in the construct of fashion. Re-reading the magazine by dissecting it, analysing the words, images, materiality, the items shown on the pages and the strategies of the specific magazine changes the way we read fashion.

In the workshop one specific magazine is selected. This magazine is thoroughly read, dissected and critically analysed on elements such as models, topicality, advertisements, material, brands, distribution, imagery, items, narrative, monetary value, colours, words and order of pages. By not starting from the perspective of the fashion system as a whole, but from the simple act of reading a fashion magazine, the reader gains an active role. Having the material in hands, seeing the images, how brands are being represented on the pages, reading the words and tracing the page numbers, but also feeling the paper, the weight and being able to smell the magazine creates an awareness of the magazine as a material object. Something that embodies and communicates the process of value production in fashion. A material representation of fashion’s ephemerality, dream worlds and fantasies.

The readers in the workshop use the material of the original ‘source magazine’ to create a new zine that provides insight into the cultural power and forms of value production that is at the core of fashion media. The existing material is elaborated on by connecting with other material (theories, visuals, artistic explorations). As such, A Magazine Reader focuses on the reader as an active participant – someone with agency rather than a passive consumer – in the process of creating fashion. Reading becomes making.

For this issue, which was made in collaboration with Ruby Hoette and MA Fashion Strategy generation 28 and designed by Corine van der Wal, we have focused on reading each and every word. This process of dissecting and analysing reveals the actual structure and content of the magazine. (Which words are used? Is it readable at all? Is the meaning clear? Which values are given precedence? Which brands are represented? What are the topics covered (or left out)? How are they ordered in the magazine? Where are the page numbers?) Most importantly it uncovers opportunities for the re-definition and re-imagination of these texts and their intentions. Each contribution to this edition of A Magazine Reader takes on a slightly different reader perspective, unravelling a particular aspect of embedded meaning and value and reframing it in a broader social and cultural context. Together they remind us that becoming aware of our position as readers means we become aware of our position to shape and create fashion.

A Magazine Reader is an ongoing research trajectory and series of zines initiated by Femke de Vries and Hanka van der Voet.