Whirlwind Creative is located in the heart of the fashion district. In the busyness of our daily design endeavors, we forget that we are in the heartland of extravagant costuming in the making. The recent discovery of an “International Fashion Magazine Store” on 37th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue prompted me to revisit the creative ambitions alive in our neighborhood. I walked into the store and scanned the floor-to-ceiling collection of magazines for sale.* I was overwhelmed by the number, volume, size, weight and extravagance of these printed, glossy versions of fashion for men, women, and in-between.
The ’zines contain an endless parade of glamorous men and women in every conceivable and unimaginable cladding and collection of dress, pant, shoe/heel, head/ware, jewelry/ware, make-up, posture, naked pose, lighting, landscape, artifact— all in different sizes, thicknesses, and gloss vs. dull. The frontier of the human imagination and ingenuity arranged in front of me stocked a relentless stream of new shapes, colors, personalities, materials, angles of lighting and portraiture. They prompted me to think, “we have reached a penultimate state in the human condition— the final state being the expurgation of hubris, extravagance, wastefulness, silliness and indulgences that are manifest in all of these disposable publications.” Beauty in this scene has taken on a peculiar appearance.
Amongst all of this gloss, I happened upon a publication of Out of Order, devoid of advertising and reading like an anthology of photography and writing. My curious thumb flipped through the thick volume and landed on a section entitled Known & Unknown. An edited transcription appeared below each portrait. Subject: reflecting on your fear of the unkown. Is this what all of these magazines were trying to cover up?
*I emphasize for sale because I was asked to leave after photographing a selection of magazines. Evidently, many people come in to peruse the collection, photograph fashion ideas from the magazines and leave without purchasing a single zine. (Some costing as much as $50 per issue.)