Arts and Entertainment | Fashion

Uptown/Downtown: Confessions of a paper hoarder

I always feel at home in the rows and rows of books at Book Culture. But that feeling is amplified when I walk into my favorite shop, Casa Magazines, in Greenwich Village. Hundreds are stacked from floor to ceiling, waiting patiently for me to flip through my favorites until I finally break down and hand over a twenty for just one unbearably thick title.

This obsession only started recently. I didn’t have access to any international or indie magazines at home, so I always devoured Vogue within hours after receiving it. My only view into the different aesthetics of the fashion world was through the Internet. Tumblr was a godsend for me in high school. I also relied on looking at different magazines’ websites and blogs for my daily dose of unique content. Still, none of these compare to immersing myself in print magazines cover to cover.

Once I moved to New York and found myself in stores that sold titles I’d only dreamt of holding in my hands, my love affair with print flourished. Now, when I have the rare free hour to peruse a purchase, I start at the very first page and slowly make my way through, marking my spot when schoolwork calls. I must admit, I get a little obsessive. Call it magazine OCD. It’s just that I want to consume the content in the way the editors intended—they did curate the magazine in a specific way, after all. Consuming fashion in print form is far from the online experience, which usually consists of clicking on whatever suits my fancy.

It’s the same with newspapers. When I have a free morning to pick up a copy of the New York Times from Lerner, I actually sit down and read through each section, even making time to skim those that don’t exactly interest me (read: Business). Of course, my schedule typically only allows for a few clicks around the website, where I tend to read the main page headlines, the style section, and a few opinion pieces. Blame it on the Internet, but I just feel less informed when I get my news the modern way.

When I read, it’s a completely different experience from reading Style in print, the website’s year-old publication. I take my time as I look at the editorial photographs, as opposed to quickly scrolling through them via Tumblr. Sometimes I even caress the page. Paper, after all, has a major impact on how we perceive an image. Matte versus glossy, or thin versus thick—these distinctions affect the quality of the photo staring back at me from the magazine on my lap.

Once I could finally visit my favorite charming, hole-in-the-wall mag store on a frequent basis, I started to make a few new friends: I met Self Service, with its stripped down photos, and LOVE, the biannual British tome to the the avant-garde, and Lula, full of dreamy photos of teen girls in Prada, and The Gentlewoman, which I can always count on for profiles of fabulous women. And I felt like I had finally found the magazines that shared my point of view on fashion journalism: While a dash of glamour is all right, it should serve up dynamic content that tells me why I should care about fashion and reminds me why I do.

When I take a title off the shelf at Casa Magazines, I see the images that I once merely glanced at on my laptop. Everything might not always appear as perfectly glamorous as it used to seem on my computer screen. In print, there are smudges and stray marks and the occasional typo, but I’m holding months’ worth of work from the world’s greatest fashion journalists, photographers, and designers in my hands. And that’s what makes me sit down for an hour to read, starting with page one.

Krista Lewis is a sopohomore at Barnard College who loves soy cappuccinos and French Vogue. Uptown/Downtown runs alternate Fridays.


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