Fashion Torn Up: Exploring the Potential of Zines and Alternative Fashion Press Publications in Academic Library Collections

Fashion Torn Up: Exploring the Potential of Zines and Alternative Fashion Press Publications in Academic Library Collections
Author: Hall, Suzanna (22 August 2021)

Abstract

This paper discusses the purposes of collecting zines and alternative press magazines in academic libraries that support fashion studies programs. Fashion is a discipline that is both creative and academic, but is also a field that is dominated by commercial interests. Fashion zines offer a form of counter-discourse to the mainstream fashion media, which engages with fashion as a phenomenon whilst challenging its institutionally held power. Zines are also emerging as a new media in fashion communications, with alternative magazines taking inspiration from their aesthetics and brands co-opting the terminology and capitalizing on their subcultural appeal. This paper focuses on the developing relevance of this medium to fashion as an industry and as an academic discipline, the challenges academic libraries face in collecting zines and small-press fashion publications, and the academic library’s role in providing access to this kind of alternate literature. Additionally, it discusses zine-making as a pedagogical tool, exploring how they can be used by students for inspiration and as a medium with which to engage with, and challenge, fashion discourse on their own terms.

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