By Rebecca Smith 26 Jan, 2018
So you want to publish a Print Magazine?
Yes I do.
Are you mad?
Who are your financial backers?
Where is your business plan?
…Hmm…I’ve got a vision board is that good enough?
You must have loads of experience?
Well no actually, unless loving words and pictures — my Twinkle subscription had me hooked at the age of 6 — counts.
What do you have then?
Friends with an equal amount of energy and enthusiasm.
Are you all mad?
It is the basis of our relationship .
Once upon a time I dreamed of being Diana Vreeland, the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar from 1937 to 1962, when she moved to Vogue as editor in chief until 1971. Mrs Vreeland may not have been every little girl’s childhood hero: she was not considered an inspirational beauty, far from it; she was outspoken, bossy and odd. In her autobiography, she (DV) recalls that her mother named her ‘little monster’ , and she had a beautiful little sister who was ‘Mother’s Favourite’ . Her response to that was:
“to become an original because if my looks are not going to bring me somewhere, I’ve got to be original in thought, style and the way I express myself.”
I collected old fashion magazines in the 1970’s. Back then you could still pick up Vogues and Harper’s from the 40’s in charity shops or at jumble sales. Sometimes I was lucky enough to find a stash lovingly curated by a fellow fashion magazine junky and I was in Seventh Heaven; the way fashion was portrayed — the photos and illustrations — those pages swayed the way I made fashion; the way clothes were written about shaped my way communicating. I was a shy child with an imagination fuelled with the fabulousness of fashion. Mrs Vreeland’s advice not only influenced my feelings about fashion but I somehow absorbed her ideas about life in general. She famously said:
“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.”
I borrowed her philosophy wholeheartedly and have always believed I could make myself as interesting — as fabulous — as I wanted. At the age of eleven I wrote an essay stating how I intended to live a ‘Diana Vreeland’ life, my English teacher must have been very amused by the detailed description of the New York apartment, with peachy carpet and walls the colour of Elizabeth Arden loose powder, that I created as the backdrop for my Super-Self to inhabit.
I could venture back further; a weekly fix of Twinkle comic, then Bunty, until I hit the Jackie years, may well have given me the desire to have my own publishing empire. I would make little folded comics with words and pictures whenever I was left to my own devises. I don’t know if you could do a fashion communication or journalism degree back in the eighties, it wasn’t on my radar if you could. And anyway I wanted to be a fashion designer first, a role I saw as a stepping stone to becoming a style dictator. I had it all mapped out.
Well there have been times in the last thirty-eight years — if we take 1980 as the starting point — that I have followed that path. But it’s been a meandering route, taking me through many aspects of the fashion system: retail management, buyer, visual merchandiser, trend forecaster, window dresser, and yes, designer with my own label. I finally turned my back on the fashion industry when I retrained as counsellor. Clothes still bought me personal joy, but I was disillusioned by the system, with the culture that fashion created. I saw that ridiculous expectations of perfection, shown in the magazines I had loved for so long, were causing certain people problems with lack of self-worth and negative self-judgement. I no longer felt that the imagery of fashion was good for anyone’s mental health. I was saddened when I realised that fashion had turned its back on creativity, quirkiness and self-expression to become, instead, a place where profit was the only goal; where people were not given a chance to flourish. This fashion dystopia was not where I wanted to reside.
It is unlikely that Diana Vreeland would be considered an early adopter of positive psychology (PP) but her idea that we can choose a good life fits with a PP ideology; we can make choices which impact our own happiness when we raise our understanding of what a good life means to us.
I choose to be curious about the relationship between fashion and happiness in light of learning about PP; I choose to re-view my feelings for fashion in light of the knowledge I acquired from a science qualification that was intended to put me on a path to being an academic. I hadn’t expected MAPP to rekindle my ambitions to be a ‘Fashion Writer’, or lead me to a publishing-conversation, the outcome of which means that I am part of a group of madcap friends, who believe that the time is right to launch a print magazine with a new attitude to ageing.
So here we — very DV that use of we, ‘ never say I darling, it’s always got to be we ’ — are back on the path, back in love with clothes, sensing a life full of possibility, imagining that my unique way of seeing the world can bring about constructive change. I no longer believe that dictating what to wear is the way forward; I’m not sure DV ever really did either. My ‘Why Don’t You Column’ is more likely to be asking ‘what if?’ rather than ‘you should’.
I am still influenced by DV lines:
“Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.”
I am sensing a change. I am know that fashion is a way for me to express ideas that can create wellbeing. Flourishing fashion and wearingwellbeing are platforms to inspire others to make choices to support happiness and a good life, both for themselves and others. GOLDIE Magazine is a natural progression; I want to encourage a new assertiveness to ageing that supports personal thriving and generates a collective way of living with the intention to have a good life right to the very end with a wardrobe to match.
Vreeland reinvented herself at 69, becoming the driving force of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute. She was a bit vague about her age, it was reported she was in her late 80s when she died; she hadn’t shied away from thinking of her own demise:
“I always say I hope to God I die in a town with a good tailor, a good shoemaker, and perhaps someone who’s interested in a little quelque chose d’autre.”
So back to my DV aspirations. I am going to re-invent myself as a magazine publisher, start being obscure about my age and keep an eye out for anyone who has an interest in that ‘something else’…it sounds like fun.
Goldie Magazine Issue 1 will be published in Spring 2018. It is the collaborative venture of Jeanie Marsh-Dawson, Stephen Marsh, Weef Smith & Rebecca Weef Smith.
Originally published at http://wearingwellbeing.com/for-the-love-of-print on January 26, 2018.