reality is weirder than you think

Tag: fashion industry

Can you make a magazine that isn’t propaganda?

And if so, do you want to?

I’ve decided to seriously pursue the magazine idea. I’ve wanted a non-leftist style-type magazine for as long as I can remember, one that is focused on truth and beauty and actual real ways that actual real people live their lives. Everyday glamour, maybe.

Pretty much the opposite of the “aspirational” paged of Vogue, but with crossover for a lot of content.

Darling has made a good start.

But I also miss the irreverence brought by Sassy and Jane. It’s never worth treating the fashion and beauty industry with too much seriousness.

I’d also like to see a magazine that addresses issues in my own life. How to be a red-pilled gal in a blue-pilled world. How to gracefully tell your hostess that, sorry, you don’t eat food that grew from the ground. How to reconcile your love of pretty shoes with the functionality of the Vibram 5-fingers.

(Don’t get me started on the Vibrams that are designed to have shoe-like design details. Blech.)

I don’t know what that magazine would look like, but I’d like to find out.

So to start, I’m going to take a look at the history, structure, and content of other successful ladies magazines.

First up: the Ladies’ Home Journal.

Remember how recently I went on a giant rant about magazines basically being propaganda?

What I didn’t realize was that magazines have always been this way.

At the turn of the 20th century, the magazine published the work of muckrakers and social reformers…. During World War II, it was a particularly favored venue of the government for messages intended for homemakers…. In March of 1970, feminists held an 11-hour sit-in at the Ladies’ Home Journals office, which resulted in them getting the opportunity to produce a section of the magazine that August.

Magazines: telling you what to buy and what to think since the steam-powered printing press.

So my question is: can you have a non-propagandic magazine? Would someone read such a publication?

Or is a magazine simply a physical manifestation of our desire to believe in something?

MAGA or ‘zines, amirite?

It’s funny, in that #NOCOINCIDENCES kind of way, how conspiracy theories from different parts of the internet are starting to collide.

From the Chans, there’s all the evidence of a child trafficking and money laundering ring based out of Haiti.

From the Hollywood blind item camp, there are the rumors that all your favorite celebrities are involved in shady business, everything from snorting coke to murder with a stop through for…wait for it…child trafficking and money laundering rings that just happen to run through Haiti.

Think they might have something to do with each other?

I remember sometime in the last 18 months, I forget when exactly, when yet another story broke about Human Abedin and Anthony Wiener. There was a video circulating on Twitter of somebody shouting uncomfortable questions as she ducked into a townhouse. The person holding the door for her was Anna Wintour.

It’s always been obvious that Anna Wintour is a shill for the democrats, especially democrats named Hillary Clinton. Stories about Hillary abound in Vogue-related publications (she’s on the cover of a special issue of Teen Vogue at the moment), and

(Fun fact: before she was picked for McCain’s running mate, I first heard of Sarah Palin through a story in Vogue on women politicians, and couldn’t believe my eyes that a republican governor had been featured in a mildly positive light.)

Magazines, especially fashion magazines, have always been problematic. The promote celebrity culture and degeneracy. They foster shallow thinking. Their advertiser/funding model has turned them into catalogs for product rather than being a trusted filter for products.

I didn’t realize until recently, when I fell back into the blind-item timesink, that tabloids are basically another arm of PR for celebrities. People is the New York Times of the theater that is celebrity personal life.

You know what that makes all those “high end” magazines that put celebrities on their covers?


I feel so dumb for taking this long to figure it out. It’s long been known that celebrities end up on magazine covers when they have something to promote, but I never connected the dots that what they have to say in those articles is promoting an agenda (mostly their own image and fame) just as much as its promoting their product.

Some of them are sincere, I’m sure. Others, not so much. The craft a public image that fits some sort of narrative, and then do despicable things behind the scenes.

At this point, with the amount of people that “knew” about people like Wienstein and Lauer and who did absolutely nothing about it for years, I have a hard time believing that someone like Anna Wintour knows nothing, who is close enough with Human Abedin that Huma appeared hiding from the media at her house.

I banned myself from buying magazines on the regular sometime around 2012. They weren’t providing enough ROI in my life.

I’m glad I did, though, because I don’t want to support the type of people who lie (excuse me, “do PR”) and provide cover for the horrible people of this world.

I still read some fashion blogs–I like the content. As much as I pretend I’m not sometimes, I’m still a girl who likes reading about girly things and who likes to fantasize about impractical fashion from time to time.

We need a ladies’ magazine for the MAGA agenda.

Weaponized fashion styling

Clothes are just as much about communication as they are about preventing one from walking down the street naked.

Clothes can say everything from “I’m not that kind of girl” to “I’m the next President of the United States of America.”

I love how this scene from My Father is Strange illustrates how important clothes can be when preparing oneself for battle.

“Fur trumps everything,” says the status-oriented mother (nevermind that fur is a ridiculous choice in the summer months).

Meanwhile, the practicality-oriented mother shows up looking far better than the other team ever would have thought.

The clothes do just as much talking as the people.

This is why you should have your personal equivalent of a “power suit” in your wardrobe. There are times when you (and I) need to perform our best–that is the time to pull out your best garment.

“Best” is subjective in this case.

But this garment should make you feel badass. Invincible. Completely protected. Confident to the point of aggressive.

It can be difficult to find these magic garments (LOL MORMON JOKE) but it’s worth it.

Especially if you have to go up against a Tiger Mother who also happens to be your landlord.

Cattiness in the fashion industry (quelle surprise)

I’m not sure what’s funnier, the fact that the fashion girls at Vogue are picking apart the fashion choices of the new editor of Vanity Fair, or the fact that Women’s Wear Daily and the New York Post are trying to meme it into existence.

“She seemed nervous. The outfit was interesting,” the staffer noted. According to the fashion editor — who omitted Jones’ admirable literary accomplishments from conversation — the incoming editor wore a navy shiftdress strewn with zippers, a garment deemed as “iffy” at best.

Jones’ choice of hosiery proved most offensive, according to the editor. For the occasion, Jones had chosen a pair of tights — not in a neutral black or gray as is common in the halls of Vogue — but rather a pair covered with illustrated, cartoon foxes.

The animal caricatures may have also been too much for Vogue editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour, who is said to have fixed one of her trademark stoic glares upon Jones’ hosiery throughout the duration of the staff meeting.

Do we expect fashion people to be catty, so thus they appear to be so? Regardless of what they actually do. As in, does the reporter at WWD report on reactions in this way because that’s what she expects to find, and she knows she’s writing to an audience that also expects it?

Or are fashion people really this way naturally? Without such behavior, we wouldn’t have the expectation.

It’s an interesting thought, something so completely trivial as what one staffer said about someone else’s clothes, but the interference of the article makes me wonder about how much the media has to do with memeing other scandals into being.

Using their power to draw attention to something that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

I think, for example, the author of the WWD piece wanted to flaunt her feminist cred but contrasting the reactions to the new, female editor to the reactions (or lack thereof) of the departing, male editor:

The fashion editor did not remark on Carter’s outfit for the occasion. After 25 years at Vanity Fair’s helm, he walks away from the job with a vibrant legacy that is noted, not for his signature wonk hairstyle, but rather his wrangling of A-list celebrities and publishing of writers including Christopher Hitchens and Dominick Dunne.

However, even a tacked-on feminist ending doesn’t overshadow the meat of the article, which is catty fashion bitches doing what catty fashion bitches do best — ending up in the gossip pages.

And isn’t that the exact opposite of what feminists want to portray themselves as?

Funny, in this case, drawing attention to the situation creates the exact opposite effect as I bet the author wanted.

Craftsmanship Squared


A beautifully produced video of a beautifully produced garment.

A reminder that this is what we can get to if we put in the work.

That beauty is transcendent, and we have the power to make it.

The capacity for beauty lies within us.

Sweep away the chaff and allow it to shine.


*Complete sentences are for days that are not Saturday.

Anna Wintour, BAMF

Down the rabbit hole of fashion again. I have such a love/hate view of Anna Wintour.

She’s the embodiment of much that I despise, one of the New York City elite who want to run the lives of everyone else in the country. As “pope” (some would say) of the fashion world, she sets the tone for much of what goes on in it. And of course, instead of staying in her lane, she is a huge donor to the democrat party and shills for the in the magazine. There’s footage of Huma Abedin getting hounded by reporters a few months back while she’s standing on a doorstep; when the door opens, it’s Anna. When Sarah Palin was still governor of Alaska, she was featured in the paged of Vogue which still shocks me to this day. Of course, she got maybe 1 or 2 columns and a small photo, whereas Hillary Clinton gets a full-length article and a double-page photo, but

Fashion is full of rabbity and left-wing people to begin with, but she condones the blatantly partisan behavior.

However, she’s an elegant woman at the top of her game. I admire how she commands respect and runs Vogue exactly how she wishes to (or at least that’s how it seems from the outside). Despite the fact that she seems to have a blind eye to the oblique way that most fashion trends grow (there’s a fun exchange between her and Bill Cunningham in Bill Cunningham’s New York where she acknowledges that they have diametrically different perspectives — he documented street style while she dictates from above), she exudes authority and does not apologize for who she is or the fact that she works in fashion.

While I don’t always love reading Vogue — it’s so very elitist — one cannot deny that it is a respected and influential publication.

So I feel that there’s a lot I can learn from her. Watching her interviews is incredibly inspiring. She’s well spoken, clearly an introvert, clearly intelligent, and she uses all that to her advantage. Perhaps the thing that resonates with me the most, and this is probably because I don’t feel this quality, is her philosophy on decisiveness.

“People respond well to someone who’s sure of what they want.”

This strategy is working out for her. In fact, you can see it in her magazine, both how she runs it and the soul of Vogue — the top down, “you should want this,” aspirational fantasy.

Even if Anna (and Vogue itself) can be cold, domineering, and out of reach — sometimes even completely decoupled from the real world — the decisiveness and authority that she exudes compels people to follow her.

Something to consider when crafting a public persona.


Other observations of note: a signature hairstyle is easily identifiable and hides much of her face, upping the intimidation factor; her clothing is always the same silhouette, recognizable and flattering and fewer decisions in the mornings; she does nothing to dispel the negative rumors; diversifying the Vogue brand beyond just the magazine, into digital and the Met Gala and all sorts of other things.

The inevitable changes at British Vogue

Vox Day, of all people, brought the regime change at British Vogue to my attention once again. Edward Enninful is purging white girls from the payroll (quelle surprise). On the one hand, it’s immensely satisfying to watch the predictable world of fashion “journalism” get shaken up in such a big way. On the other hand, I don’t have a lot of faith that British Vogue will continue to create beautiful, compelling content. Not that I’ve been reading many fashion magazines lately; I made myself stop reading them a while back because they didn’t contribute anything to my life.

But that doesn’t stop me from binging on digital fashion content every now and again. To that end, searching for a citation for my newly-updated my About page, I found myself down the rabbit hole of short fashion documentaries on YouTube. Some of the things that stand out to me in fashion documentaries never make their way online, which frustrates me. (What I’m realizing is that’s where I should act, instead of merely complaining about it.)

Anyhow, look! Enninful makes an appearance in The September Issue (a documentary about American Vogue), getting coached on assertiveness by Grace Coddington. Looks like that training paid off.


In another decision to hire a non-old non-white person to run a fashion magazine, Eva Chen became the youngest editor-in-chief of a Conde Nast publication when she was appointed to run Lucky magazine in 2013. However, Lucky didn’t last much longer (and it was kind of boring, tbh–I wanted to like it, but it always felt more like a catalog than a magazine).

Wintour brought in Chen in 2013 to bring Lucky into the digital age. Chen was young, highly visible through her social media presence, and brought an approachable cool factor to the magazine. She took a high-low approach, featuring unknown fashion bloggers in the magazine’s pages while recruiting expensive, upscale stylists like Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and legendary photographers like Patrick Demarchelier.

That upgrade came at a cost. The pages were beautiful, but some say that the price points alienated readers who were used to more affordable clothes they could grab off the racks. The publication still slumped in circulation and newsstand sales were even worse. The turnaround flagged.

“It was too late, and she wasn’t given a chance, given a dead animal,” a source from Lucky magazine said in defense of Chen on the condition of anonymity.

Now, I really liked Chen’s work when she wrote for Teen Vogue back in the day. But it’s clear that, despite being hired on to a sinking ship, her decisions contributed to the fall of Lucky instead of turning them around. She brought the Vogue-style aspirational mindset to a magazine that most people bought for an anti-Vogue outlook. Not a winning combination.

Maybe that was all her. Maybe that was her being overly influenced by Anna Wintour, since she’s young and didn’t have Grace Coddington’s tough skin (Coddington was known for standing up to Wintour).

Maybe it’s because Chen have the savvy that Wintour does. Anna Wintour cultivates glamour in her job. Chen goes out of her way to be the “everygirl.”

Compare and contrast:

The sunglasses. Pre-selected questions that carefully cultivate her image as a patron of the arts, not merely a fashion girl. Cameos that reinforce her exalted status.

Now, Chen has somewhat of a disadvantage because this video is produced by Forbes rather than Conde Nast (which has a major stake in making Anna Wintour look good). However, Chen herself goes out of her way to try to “break the fashion industry stereotypes.” She focuses on approachability, rather than Wintour, who focuses on aspiration.


Like Eva Chen, it is interesting to note that Enninful falls on the approachable end of the fashion spectrum. We’ll see how things shake out at British Vogue.

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