by Georgia Raddon
For Edwin Rivera's Writing and Literature Class
In Partenship with Librarian David Pemberton
Fashion: the way in which an individual expresses themselves through popular trends. Our minds, our world, our societies have always revolved around fashion. It's in our nature, as humans, to want to “dress to impress,” or imitate those we admire. Trends come and go, fads fade with time, but fashion has and will always exist. In some stages of life, fashion is more important and valued on a higher scale than in others. For example, for a pubescent, hormonal, and ever-so-dramatic teenager girl who just bought that cute new top everyone's been talking about but still somehow has nothing to wear, fashion is an essential aspect of her life. The clothes she wears, the way she does her hair, even the way she presents herself all come from the world around her and those models and celebs she aspires to be. Her fashion affects the way she feels about herself. Fashion magazines are important at this stage in life because they contain all the insights on whos wearing what and it influences this young and impressionable audience of teenage girls. Of course, Vogue is probably the most well known and accomplished fashion magazine but it tries to appeal to such a vast audience that it's not the most intimate or honest fashion magazine for these high school girls.
In high school, I would have told you that Vogue was my favorite magazine, but that was not true. I felt that I had to conform to popular opinion and because of it, I settled on something super commerciaI, when in fact I craved a more artically raw publication. I wanted something that would genuinely make me feel good about being a teenager. I didn't want the nonsensical gossip teen mags found on the check out shelf at your local drugstore. I was hungry for art. Little did I know, I had been looking in all the wrong places, in the wrong country. Katie Grand, the editor of POP magazine, had all these desires and more for her publication. “I wanted to produce a magazine I really loved. I never wanted to be snobby or elitist with the magazine. I always wanted POP to be this thing that people bought and read and kept,” Grand told The Guardian in 2006.
POP is a British publication that portrays fashion collections using gorgeous and glossy photography. Unlike many other fashion magazines, POP showcases contemporary culture, art, and fascinating pieces of writing. The first issue was released in September of 2000. At the turn of the century, Grand had a lot of insight into the changing fashions and attitudes of teenage girls. In this issue, she scribbles in sizeable red ink, “London, 2000 … Playground for a group of fun, feisty, female fashion talents sending ripples of excitement across the globe.”
Arguably, POP's most admirable and wholesome quality is its effort to help aspiring teens make it big. In recent years, many famous fashion magazines have traded willowy models for celebrities of all kinds, but not POP. From the magazines very first issue in 2000 to the most recent one - put out in summer 2017 - POP has dedicated several full-page spreads to exposing rising talents in the industry. These pages include headshots with the person's name, age, and a written biography. Not only does this part of the magazine introduce these teens to the world, but it is inspiring to teens of similar ages, with strong desires to make something of themselves. In the 10th edition, put out in 2005, Grand explained it best by writing, “Here, Pop profiles the hottest most single-minded and self-disciplined new names.” It seems that this theme of helping new talents become discovered is not only limited to one section of the magazine. Throughout the entirety of each issue, Grand showcases the work of photographers on the rise. In one featured photo essay by David Sims, he sums up the aims of Pop and gives true insight that, “fashion imagery should always be about personality. It isn't ever about a dress.” Although Pop uses product placement in almost every image, the image is not about the product. The product is simply one quality or aspect that works cohesively with other aspects to form a clear photograph. In its effort to feature lesser known models wearing big brands in extravagant photo essays by rising photographers, Pop avoids being too commercial and keeps a very artistic and honest reputation.
Fashion; it is a crucial artistic element of our society and culture. It should be treated and exposed as such. Katie Grand magnificently keeps the art of fashion well in-check in Pop. Pop is not a fashion magazine, but rather an art magazine that encompasses fashion. It is made up by young and aspiring teens, for young and ambitious teens all over the world. Pop reminds us that, “It’s great to be a teenager: the best years of your life. It's downhill after that. You can always work hard, and maybe you'll actually manage to get too rich or too thin, but no matter how hard you try, you'll never be too young again.” - Katie Grand, 2005.
Grand, Katie, editor. “Pop.” Pop, Sept. 2000.
Grand, Katie, editor. “Pop.” Pop, Summer/Spring 2005.
McLean, Gareth. “Inside Pop World.” The Guardian, 27 Aug. 2006, www.theguardian.com/media/2006