December 6, 2009

Where have you been all my life, Worn magazine?

Fashion magazines are like peoples’ taste in their mates, sure there's certain common ground that the bulk of us strive to find, but ultimately it is the uniqueness of an individual, or a fashion mag, that draws us to it beyond the initial infatuation stage.

For many years now I’ve test drive magazines of all sorts, a good chunk of which centred around the fashion universe. Though there are a couple of glossies I subscribe to year round, the majority of magazines that cross my threshold do so on a trial basis. As in love, once burned, doubly cautious.

Having scrutinized my taste in magazines rather meticulously – and having brought home copies, at one point or another, of most fashion spreads that the North American market has to offer – I’ve come to understand what it is that I want, and expect, from a fashion publication.

Ideally I long for glossies that neither assume I’m a jet-set millionaire or a fashion idiot who wouldn’t know toile from tulle. I prefer fashion mags to centre around fashion (as opposed to, say, scores of pages of useless celebrity gossip or reams on the latest “It Diet”), a concept that I think fewer and fewer publications are staying in touch with. I like a magazine to feature real women in addition to the usual slew of lithe, taller than a giraffe models. I’m 5’2” and a curve bedecked hourglass with a petite frame, I have never, and will never, feel like I can see myself in something a magazine is promoting if the woman wearing it looks like Barbie after five hours on a medieval rack.

I like a hearty dose of imagery and intelligently written articles on a broad range of topics that actually relate to the kind of clothing that I wear and/or love, and a magazine that’s not afraid to find its own voice (and though this should go without saying, spell checking is an absolute must! Now I don’t claim that my writing is typo free, but there’s a substantial difference between being a one woman blogging show and a nationally syndicated magazine with a whole staff behind it – Nylon, I’m looking at you in particular when I mention this point). Creativity is a must, and diversity throughout an issue is a big plus.

My criteria is not impossible to fulfill, though the market is not exactly heavily saturated with publications that met my fashion magazine expectations. A couple of beloved titles aside, it seems that the hunt for further glossies to inspire my sartorial tastes is an ongoing adventure. It was with great excitement then I recently read a copy of a heretofore unknown to me Canadian fashion magazine by the name of Worn.

Published biannually out of Toronto, this independent publication, while not the largest (in terms of page numbers) of spreads, is by far one of the finest I’ve ever encountered. To say that Worn is nothing short of a breath of fresh air in a world of chain smoking fashion magazines would scarcely be doing it justice.
While issue number nine is the first I’ve had the pleasure of reading, if those that proceeded it and those that lay in store are to be judged on the same merits, Worn may be one of the few fashion magazines that I’ve ever fallen in love with after reading just one copy.

{Worn’s ninth issue sports one of their very own, Kate the copy editor (who did a marvellous job with this edition, may I add) on the cover.}

Worn, which bills itself as a “fashion journal”, feels just like that. Refreshingly its pages are not comprised mainly of ads, nor is it filled with the same sort of articles we’ve all read elsewhere about seven thousand times this year alone. In this edition many of the topics covered have a decidedly vintage feel to them that would make Worn a welcome read for anyone with a passion for old school style.

From an interview with renowned fashion collector, expert, author and museum curator hopeful Jonathan Walford (and his partner in vintage fashion collecting Kenn Norman), whose book Fashion Forties takes pride of place on my vintage related bookshelf, to a frank and excellently written piece on the legendary Italian muse (and all around wildly eccentric fashionista of yesteryear) Marchesa Luisa Casati, the fascinating articles in this edition of Worn ensured that I consumed it cover-to-cover in one sitting.

I did not rush through my time with this publication in the slightest though, instead I savoured each one of its 44 pages, adoring the fact that Worn spoke not only about vintage fashion, but also featured real world models, mentioned (and shot some of their images in) Toronto, and left me truly wanting more. Though 44 pages may not sound like much in a world of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar behemoth sized glossies, I gleamed more enjoyment from those well crafted and beautifully presented (nearly ad free) pages than I have from all the fashion magazines I’ve read in 2009 combined – hands down.

Worn is the kind of magazine you wish was published as frequently as the daily newspaper. While the paper version itself does only come out twice a year, those like myself who instantly find they’re craving more of all the insightful, fascinating goodness Worn has to offer can get their fix from the magazine’s frequently updated blog.

I fully believe in promoting both indie designers and indie publications, and so wanted to share my first encounter with Worn with you, my readers – especially since the current edition covers a broad array of vintage fashion related topics. I sincerely plan to keep on reading Worn and am definitely going to grab a subscription for myself. After a year of dismally lacklustre fashion magazines and the articles they housed (if I see one more piece toting the merits of boyfriend jeans and leather-look leggings I’m going to start throwing vintage shoes at the mainstream mags), Worn has given me a publication to eagerly look forward to reading in 2010.

If you’re interested in trying Worn out for a spin yourself, copies can be obtained from their website and etsy shop, as well small selection of online retailers and better bookstores across North America and abroad.

Thank you, Worn, for creating the sort of insightful, relevant, enjoyable fashion magazine I’m proud to leave out on my coffee table, happily rereading with gusto until your next stellar edition appears and I can fall even more in love with you!


  1. I've never heard of this mag, thanks for the heads up!

  2. What an awesome post! As old, established magazines fold due to falling readership, I truly believe that the future of print publications lies in "mom and pop" or "indie" mags like this. More and more seem to be cropping up all over, as if in retaliation to the over-commercialized, spoon-fed fodder that mainstream magazines consist of. I was actually going to blog about something similar today. :)

  3. Totally well said about fashion magazines! And Worn is really nice, I agree :-)

  4. Hello sweet darling! I was thrilled to read this post as I can relate to what you say about then contents you long for in a magazine. I subscribe to a few zines myself, but as of late I find myself more and more annoyed by the bombardment of ads, the celebrity gossip, the latest 'cool fads', the 'it diets'! blah! It is refreshing to see a magazine where the editors, and writers focus their energy on what really matters to some of us! I hopped over to their site, and just reading their FAQ's captured my attention, and I too think will treat myself to a subscription of this wonderful magazine. I like the policies they have in place as far as their advertisements go, and mostly I like the fact that they welcome anyone who has something intelligent,and interesting to say to submit their work! (hint..hint ;) her name starts with a J and ends with an A ;) ) Anywho, didn't mean to go on a tangent, but thank you for this wonderful post dahhling =D I hope you are having a relaxing Sunday sweetheart!

  5. Hey there. That looks really cool. I'm actually only subscribed to a couple of magazines, such as GQ and Details. I also read a lot of my siste'rs magazines, such as Elle, Marie Clare, etc.

    How are you today? I hope you've been enjoying the weekend. Take care. Have a great week ahead. Cheers!

  6. Great post Jessica! You hit it right on the mark when describing what kind of fashion magazine you are looking for " I long for glossies that neither assume I’m a jet-set millionaire or a fashion idiot who wouldn’t know toile from tulle" DING! DING! I think this is why I both love and hate most magazines you can get in bookstores. Every one in awhile I gloss over them for ideas, but the prices scare me as do the proportions of the 5'11 eastern European models (I'm a petite gal myself!)

    Thanks for introducing me to a new mag!

    Have a great rest of your weekend!

  7. Oh, I am going to have to order up a copy or see if I can find it around here. Being in WA does make it a little easier to get a hold of Canadian publications. The cover of the 9th issue alone would make me say WTH and at the very least thumb through it if I had found it on the shelf somewhere.

    I am very much in agreeance over the disgusting bit of dribbel that most "fashion mags" have become. When I fork out $7 for a bloody magazine, I expect to have at least 70some percent of the magazine actually be articles or such. But lately, it seems 70some percent is bloody advertisments for stuff I can't afford, or would waste my money on if I could afford it. Like you, I am petite and curvy at 5'4" with no hope (or desire) to pull off the skinny leg/legging look. Eww! Seriously, some styles should have just stayed in the 80s!

  8. Wow, I will need to check it out! What wonderful information you have provided! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. xoxoxo

  9. Jessica, I'm another fan of Worn. I ordered a copy and loved it so much I bought all the back issues and subscribed. When it arrives in the mail, my world comes to a halt!

  10. Hello Jessica,

    I love magazines of substance.....that actually relate to my spirit...I guess that's why so many of the Stampington publications find their way to my home. :0) Oh, and I can't leave out Cloth Paper Scissors the publishers of Quilting Arts.

    I do love the fashion magazines but feel the same as you. I will check out this Worn's sounds like a winner.

    Do drop by for a moment. I've got my Christmas trees decorated and I had lots of snow yesterday which gives the perfect background for the decorations.


  11. Ooooh, thanks for the heads up- marking that as a read over the holidays for sure!
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

    Charmed giveaway!

  12. Fantastic post. I love magazines but am frustrated when the ones I love run inane celebrity puff pieces, pro plastic-surgery articles and feature nubile teenagers in the nude rather than clothes. I too like beautiful fashion spreads and intelligent articles. This magazine sounds great.

  13. OH my gosh, thank you so much for letting us in on this!! I love it! I'm always looking for a "different" kind of magazine then what is sold in stores! I'm excited to browse the website :)

  14. Hi sweet dears, thank you very much for your wonderful comments. Worn is my new favourite independent fashion magazine and as soon as I began reading issue #9, I knew I had to share about my newfound love with all of you.

    Thank you again & have a gorgeous day, everybody!
    ♥ Jessica