career karma – Serah-Marie McMahon

Serah-Marie McMahon is the editor of Worn Journal, an independent magazine about style and fashion that gets into the historical, the personal, and even the scientific side of what we wear.  I originally discovered Worn Journal in an article written by Nathalie Atkinson.  Later, when Serah-Marie moved her magazine headquarters from Montreal to Toronto I made sure to meet her right away and introduce her to fashion friends here in Toronto.

Worn’s eighth issue just launched – it is a love letter to shoes – and Serah-Marie commissioned both a small illustration for the magazine and invited me to participate, among many amazing artists and designers, in a project to customize a pair of Keds to celebrate the launch.  It is a thrill to work with her and the Wornettes on their labour of love.  I asked her a few questions about magazines and inspiration.

Worn Journal is very different than most fashion magazines. Can you describe the editorial touchstones that make Worn what it is?

My husband reads a lot about music. Sometimes it’s mainstream publications like Rolling Stone, but more often and for longer it’s a publication like MOJO with eight page articles about one concert that happened thirty years ago. This seems natural in mediums like film and music, but where is it in fashion? The goal is to make a publication you could pick up in 5 years and it be just as relevant as it is today. Instead of dealing with trends and pushing products, we explore the concepts and ideas of clothing. We deal with fashion from a cultural, historical, political, personal and practical point of view.

Zines and indie rags were once the inexpensive choice for upstart publishers with something to say – but compared to the ease and cheapness of online technology magazines now seem like more of a premium media. It begs the question… why print?

I’m in love with the printed page. I like things I can hold, keep, flip though, re-read. I love seeing things in a line on my bookshelf. I also like 3000 word articles, and I hate reading long things online. I guess I’m banking on the fact the there are others out there who feel the same.

One of the reasons I love Worn Journal is the Wornettes – your team of enthusiastic, earnest smart girls in adorable vintage dresses. Where do you find these incredible young ladies?

They find me really. And thank goodness they do, Worn could never be what it is without them. We’ve turned into a little sorority – or at least what a sorority should actually be – with the older girls taking care of the younger ones… Wornettes living in New York showing Toronto girls around when they are visiting. I’m really proud of them.

What are your favourite magazines, websites and blogs?

Okay, this is not going to be short:

Publications: Sassy, RE/Search, Thrift Score, Bust, Bitch, Broken Pencil, Shameless, Croq, Interview, Fashion Theory, Fashion Projects, The Cut, SuperSuper, V, Pop, Jalouse USA.



Can you describe your proudest moment as a magazine editor?

Everytime I crack open the first box of a new issue I get a little thrill up my spine. It’s always my favorite moment.

Photo Credit: g. stegelmann

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