I've been in and out of my lovely local magazine and book store Art Words on Rivington Street over the past two weeks like a crazed stalker waiting for both these two issues to come in. Like many of you I adore magazines and collect my favorites with vigor. Saying this over the last couple of years as my love-hate relationship with fashion was working its way towards a dramatic crescendo I desperately began seeking out 'cleaner' more inspiring publications to read. My old PR job role required me to scan read everything from Vogue Paris to Heat magazine on a daily basis, this essential part of my job soon became a nauseating and tedious task for me, sadly I found my passion for publications begin to dwindle at an alarming rate and when not at work I'd scuttle past the magazine sections of supermarkets and my corner shop as though the shelves covered in fashions finest rags had a Medusa like power if I dared make eye contact. The reality was that i had become overwhelmed and saddened by the inssesant encouragement for the reader to 'work' on their style/bodies/warbrobe, the constant lure for consumption of celebrity, trends and the unattainable body.
Although I appreciate the work of the talented editors, stylists and contributors to the heavy weight mags like Elle, Vogue, Love, 10 and POP my view of the content had become increasingly jaded through my role as a PR Assistant. Now knowing that the majority of the fashion spreads where manipulated by PRs but also feeling that as a reader of the fast titles you are bombarded on a constant basis with inaccessible fashion sold to you through celebrity endorsement and a 19 year-old model who actual grown women are meant to look at as role models! I hate to sound jaded and cynical but the fact is I have less and less time for fast paced fashion publications like Love or POP any more.
I've been a massive fan of Frankie magazine (edited by Jo Walker) ever since discovering whilst compiling research for my final year project at the London College of fashion. I'd stalk the shelves of WH Smith and Boarders every two weeks hoping to catch an issue before they sold out. I can't tell you how mournful i was when the Borders on Oxford Street shut down a few years ago. Since then my hunt for Frankie had been fruitless and I had to make do by hitting the website and Frankie blog on a daily basic for my fixes! Finally I managed to get a few old issues on ebay( yes I was a little desperate) and then discovered that Art Words had started stocking my beloved publication.
Above imagery from the current issue taken from www.thegentlewoman.com
Constantly on the look out for fresh material I was ecstatic when the makers of my favorite mens title Fantastic Man launch the sister mag The Gentle Woman (edited by Penny Martins former chief editor of SHOWstudio) in July last year and have been an avid reader ever since. Although quite different with regards to their content what I find they score top marks in on an equal standing is their phyical asthetic. I love being seduced by a publication. The size, the weight and quality of the paper, the feel of it between my fingers. I really appreciate a good clean design, quality writing and inspiring imagery. I love my curiousity being aroused by unexpected and fresh content.
What Frankie and The Gentle Woman both have in common is their unpretentious, understated and well crafted style. for me they have become refreshing antidotes to many of the style mags currently on offer. Both focus on real women/people and are paired with intelligent journalism. They focus on remarkable, inspiring and talented people rather than a dead fixed focus on celebrity. I feel Penny Martins hit the nail on the head with her comments from the first issue's editors letter when she stated-
"Elegantly side-stepping the passive and cynical cool of recent decades, The Gentlewoman champions the optimism, sincerity and ingenuity that actually gets things done. These are the upbeat and pragmatic qualities defining gentlewomen of today"
So if you haven't picked up a copy of either of these I suggest you do so asap. You won't regret it.