Please allow me to introduce you to my very favorite magazine of all time. First, let me tell you how we met.
When I first moved to London in 2007, and, you know, took care of some of those pesky details like where to send the kids to school, I made sure to check out the newsstands. Being a magazine junkie and all, how could I not? They’re kind of like the internet, except the content stays where you remember it being. And what did I find there, you ask? In addition to British Vogue, in addition to Burdastyle, well, I found Selvedge. Which I had never heard of. Which was made, quite improbably, by people who are into exactly the same things I am into. Travel. Exoticism. And textiles. Maybe these are the same things you’re into? I proceeded to acquire every issue published during my stay there.
When I moved back to the US in 2009 (I am American, don’cha know), I was a little disappointed to find that Selvedge is a bit expensive in the US. I still always get the Christmas issue. My heart races just thinking about the Selvedge Christmas issue. And a couple of other issues throughout the year. I even did at least one project, or three based directly on a photo in Selvedge. I’m sure I’ve done many more projects based not-so-directly on what I’ve seen there.
And to reveal just how much of a textile geek I actually am, I will share with you my favorite feature in any magazine ever. It is from, you guessed it, Selvedge (issue 25). It is a pictorial featuring different photos of sheep (no, stay with me), with a brief description of the quality of wool that each sheep produces. It’s like they looked into my brain and saw my deepest fantasy that I may one day own and operate a fiber-based farm, and they thought they would give me a little encouragement.
For me, Selvedge fills a niche that no other publication does. It’s so easy to get caught up in Western ideas of fashion and textiles, and forget that there’s a whole world of dress out there that’s not dependent on cookie cutter factory-produced goods for the western market. Perhaps I will never make a waterproof parka out of seal intestine (like the one pictured on page 59 of issue 61), but I am happy to know that such a useful garment exists.
One of the editors of Selvedge contacted me a couple of weeks ago, asking if I would like a copy to review. I jumped at the chance. For me, the item is something that I might well have bought anyway, and the product is so amazing that I am happy to try to boost their sales if I can. They sent me Issue 61, themed North. It outlines textile traditions in various northern locales, like Iceland, Scandinavia, and Alaska. The front cover features the world’s most luxurious dogsled. At least one of the features reminds me quite a bit of one of my favorite fashion spreads of all time, a 1966 photo spread in Vogue featuring Veruschka in furs in the snow.
If you find yourself wanting a treat, pick up a copy. If you’re in the US it may be a little pricey for it to be a regular thing. Then again, it’s not much more expensive than a lot of indie patterns out there, which lots of people buy and never use. So if it’s in your budget, go for it! In New Jersey, where I live (don’t laugh at me! It’s nice here!) they sell it at Barnes and Noble. You can also order it from selvedge.org. Seriously. Check it out.
And I have a digital subscription to give away! If you would like to be in the drawing for it, please leave a comment. I’ll close comments on Sunday, and do the drawing on Monday, December 1.