Launch A Magazine Reader 03

During this conversation, taking place in the A Magazine Reader 03 mini-exhibition, Femke de Vries, Chet Bugter and Zuzana Kostelanská discuss the process of making A Magazine Reader 03, which revolves around all the non-garment related elements in the fashion magazine.

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.

In this edition of A Magazine Reader we explore how every possible element; perfume, facial creams, rosemary water, travel suggestions, gadgets, books etcetera, is used to create stories and myths of a future reality. These 'stories' are composed of so much more than garments alone, and in such a way that the joints and seams are smoothed out, turning these stories into a reality, a truth. During this workshop at Onomatopee we disconnect the elements, break the joints, cut the seams, unravel body parts and disconnect garments from bodies, from backgrounds, objects, animals and gadgets, with the aim to create space to critically explore the construct of fashion.

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

Design by Zuzana Kostelanská.
Exhibition by Femke de Vries, Seok Park and Zuzana Kostelanská.

Installation view A Magazine Reader exhibition, Onomatopee.

Installation view A Magazine Reader exhibition, Onomatopee.