lunes, 22 de septiembre de 2008

Un vistazo al Hemisferio Sur/ A Glimpse of the Southern Hemisphere.

Esta será la primera ocasión que escribiré una entrada en dos idiomas, en español y en inglés; y esto es por el bellísimo regalo que recibí de una nueva amiga, Elisa, de Chile.

This will be the first time I will be posting in two languages, in spanish and english, and it is because of the gorgeous gift I received from a new friend, Elisa, from Chile.

Elisa, MIL GRACIAS, tu dedicación es evidente en cada detalle. La bufanda me encantó, es la primera que tengo en crochet; las tres revistas de crochet, las agujas de colores, los seguritos, el block de notitas, tu postal, y el bello alfiletero (que descubrí fué hecho por tí) iluminaron mi día.......en realidad, toda mi semana.

Elisa, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, your dedication is evident in every detail. I loved the scarf, the first crocheted scarf I own now; the three magazines, the colorful knitting needles, the safety pins, the little note block, your card, and the beautiful pin cushion (that I discovered was made by you) illuminated my day.......actually my entire week.

El momento de recibir el paquete no pudo ser mejor, pues recién me enyesaron un brazo por andar haciendo cosas que no debo.......ahora estoy felíz, pues pienso que podré trabajar en crochet -el yeso esta en la izquierda- y las revistas traen modelos de crochet encantadores!

The time to receive the package could not be better because I just had one hand and arm being casted because I do things I should not I am happy because I think I will be able to do some crochet -the cast is on my left arm- and the magazines have enchanting crochet projects!

Este es un close-up de la bufanda, no les parece hermosa?

This is a close-up of the scarf, don't you find it beautiful?

Elisa, muchas gracias de nuevo, ha sido un placer conocerte!

Tu amiga, Marie.

miércoles, 17 de septiembre de 2008

Knitting Magazine Models.

This time I would like to write a bit about the way some knitting magazines, especially two, approach their readers. I am talking about Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting which happen to be, in my view, the most influential knitting magazines in North America.
Not only as someone who works at the Fashion Industry but also as a subscriber and knitter I think I have an opinion about the messages I have been getting lately by these and other knitting magazines.
We have all heard about the way some magazines can affect the way we live. In the Knitting World, knits being an undeniable part of the Fashion Industry, either you agree with me or not, in knitting magazines they reflect the trends and styles of the current fashions. What distinguishes one magazine from the next is the way they communicate the latest trends, the way they translate them into wearable items, and the way they perceive their readers. Not at all an easy job to do as inspite of all the market research done, consumers do have the final saying: they either buy the magazine or not.
Vogue Knitting was the first American knitting magazine to arrive in Mexico City at the early 90's, and Mexico City knitters very soon discovered it. It is a fact that as soon as it arrives it disappears from newstands, hence my subscription. It was until the late 90's that Interweave Knits started to be sold here too. We were then introduced to two very different ways of viewing knitting trends and up to this day I can't seem to be without the other, precisely because they are so different: one gives me what the other doesn't and vice-versa. I had found an interesting balance.
Time went by and I was happy to mantain such balance between those two magazines until I started to notice that Vogue Knitting was changing at a much faster pace and giving mixed messages as it seemed to not only try to keep on being very fashionable but also it would embrace many opposite and strange styles. I was not surprised when I heard that they were having trouble in the Editor's department and then their competiton, Interweave Knits, was expanding itself and evolving into a magazine highly regarded by a vast number of knitters as the best knitting magazine. To make things even more difficult Interweave launched last year their newsletter "Knitting Daily" (a total success) and even a new magazine "Interweave Crochet". They are trying to do the same with "Felt". So while Interweave was reaching higher levels Vogue Knitting seemed to be a bit lost. So lost that it would not even have a working webpage for many months. With all this I lost the balance I used to have between them, why? because inspite of how much I like Interweave Knits I missed much more fashionable knitting projects.
Why am I writing all of this? because I think that the key to becoming a "sold out" knitting magazine relies on how much such magazine tries to know its readers. This brings me to a point of view I think most knitters would agree on with me: knitting is a very personal craft. It can be fashionable but in its origin it is a highly personal activity. What can be more personal than making something with your hands and something meant for you, your family or loved ones? not to many things out there. So, it is my wish that Vogue Knitting drifts away a bit from way to edgy styles and comes back to approaching its faithful readers to much more wearable -and yes fashionable- knitting projects. The remedy is on the way, the recent Vogue Knitting Fall 2008 has Ms. Trisha Malcom back again as its Editor and this is wonderful as I am sure she will do a great job. I have just one tiny complaint with its latest Fall issue: as opposed to its wonderful "Made in Canada" or "An English Garden" sections, "The Alluring Drama of Black and White" would have been really nice if only they would have chosen a different model. I find it so disturbing to see bony models in knitting magazines.

Shiri Mor's shift dress would have looked rather stunning in a curvy model. What did Interweave Knits instead include in its recent Fall issue? a beautiful full figured model that could be my next door neighbor. This is what makes both magazines so different and in the end, makes Interweave Knits much more approachable than Vogue Knitting to the average knitter in North America.

In the last Vogue Knitting Holiday 2007 issue the editors had a very good idea, they decided to include Ms. Paulina Porizkova. I liked this issue because while Paulina was a top model in the eighties I was a teenager devoted to Vogue magazine, so seeing her at Vogue Knitting helped me relate much easier to the magazine. This is being stylish without going to far. It was a good move by Adina Klein.

The above brings me to one of the most appreciated characteristics of Interweave Knits: they always use models who are just regular people pictured in regular environments as opposed to bony, cold, and unreachable models. I was glad to find out just recently that one of the models is the daughter of former Interweave Knits Editor, Ms. Pam Allen. Below, pictures of my favourite Interweave Knits models:

While living in Europe I encountered other knitting magazines being sold in numerous newstands. There I was introduced to Verena Stricken magazine from Burda that in my view seems to be a combo between "fashionable and wearable", something the above mentioned magazines are not alltogether. No surprise that I have been since then their subscriber. Here, three designs from their latest Fall issue (Herbst 2008)

I also was introduced to many other magazines like "Le Idee di Susanna" or "Mani di Fatta" who are still being edited. There was another italian magazine though, "Benissimo", that in its latest issues started including designs and models like the following:

I think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I think you would agree with me that the sight of that models' back is awful. "Benissimo" went out of print in recent years. No wonder.

So, it is my wish that Knitting Magazines never forget that knitting should never be put in an unapproachable environment with too much gloss and slickness. Most of the knitters I know like fashion and love looking pretty. In the real world, edgy styles although may look great in fashion shows don't do so well when it comes to editing a magazine for knitters who approach knitting with a warm heart. Trends and styles I think, should be communicated in a more reachable manner. It must be so difficult to edit a knitting magazine but I think that as long as you do not miss out on where you are standing and who are your readers then it will all work fine.
Thanks for Reading.