Friday, March 6, 2009

Reasons I Still Don’t Like Nylon (Not Even When It’s Free)

Sometime last year Nylon started showing up in my mailbox. It has been over a year now and it still appears. I never subscribed. I certainly didn’t pay for it, but month after month it shows up. I mentioned it to a friend and she said she had experienced the same thing, and she thought it had something to do with Urban Outfitters. It is quite possible I signed up for a free subscription when I bought something, but why it started showing up isn’t the point here… let me get back on topic.

I remember loving Nylon in high school. I think I discovered it maybe my junior or senior year. But about halfway through my first year of college I remember picking up a copy and just not being satisfied. I don’t think my semester at college had made me so much more worldly and sophisticated, that I was turning my nose up for no good reason. Specifically, I remember the magazine had been redesigned and the new design didn’t look as fresh to me. Perhaps, it became too cutting edge for my southern sensibilities?

In college and graduate school I continued to look at it occasionally, thinking maybe it would revive some of its original flavor. Occasionally I would go diving in to it for research purposes, looking for historically inspired fashion and the like. And what I found was derivative and shallow. I know, it’s a fashion magazine, you say. But what I had liked about Nylon when I was younger was that they seemed more often to comment on the larger picture of fashion, had just the right mix of fashion and anti-fashion and seemed more aware of way the medium of fashion communicates (and why and how… and what it means). And of course, there was the age-old problem with fashion magazines, everything costs like a gazillion dollars, which I feel like wasn’t always the case.

Regardless, every so often I pick it up again. Hoping to find in it that spark of inspiration I did as a teenager, I continue to be disappointed. I guess its possible that I outgrew it, but I don’t feel like it’s aimed at someone younger than me… just someone dumber than me.

1 comment:

winifred said...

I had the same experience with Nylon--I first discovered it via Shiloh when I was a sophomore or freshman in high school. Shiloh always had these amazing photos and magazine clippings in her cubicle and her locker, and I asked her about it and she showed me Nylon. And you are right that the old design had something very 'fresh' about it--I didn't have a fashion eye as a 14 year old, but I recognized that they were doing something with fashion that other magazines I had seen didn't do--they weren't just cataloging it or collecting it, they were having fun with it (or, sometimes, at its expense).

Then the redesign, and it became as stale and recycled as the odious band profiles they trot out every few issues. I'm constantly disappointed. Even the fonts they use now bother me.

It makes you wish for a resurgence of the days of the homemade, self-distributed zine, doesn't it?