I was on my way to San Bernardino to cover the High + Low Festival for NYLON digital when I read the news. NYLON print was shutting down. There would be no more NYLON magazine. As soon as I heard, I called my friend Miranda, wiping tears with one hand in what felt like a fit of synchronicity.
Growing up in the Deep South, forty-five minutes north of Atlanta, I wasn’t afforded exposure to the fashion world except through glossies and the Internet. In the pre-style.com days, when I was 14 and thinking about becoming a fashion writer, NYLON felt like a gift from the universe itself. NYLON was everything I wanted to be: cool, weird, different, stylish, powerful. Unlike the other magazines of the era, NYLON felt accessible. Through my everlasting awkward phase, it felt like the North Star, a guiding light pushing me forward, reminding me that I was almost the person I was meant to be.
It wasn’t only my North Star, it was my wishing star too. It was what I looked forward to each month, and eventually it became more than just a magazine I read.
NYLON was what I looked to when I started my fashion blog, Breathing Fashion, during my sophomore year of high school. It’s what Miranda and I would read at Borders before we were old enough to drive. It’s what we used to make vision boards on the floor of her room. It was part of our small suburban world, and honestly, one of the coolest parts.
NYLON introduced me to some of my favorite bands, and inspired me to start wearing lipstick. As my style evolved, NYLON always reminded me it was okay to be different and a little (or a lot) weird.
NYLON wasn’t like other magazines. It wasn’t selling me designer eyewear and bags I should wear so I could be “in.” Nope. NYLON showed me how to wear red eyeshadow and how to make at home sage spray. It showed me the coolest up-and-coming artists and creatives who were just like me; not fitting in but not wanting to either. In the industry, NYLON felt like the indie darling. Like the witch of the friend group. Special, different, a little bit coocoo and a whole lot of cool.
In an era before “woke,” NYLON was exploring issues like racism, sexism and misogyny in it’s content. It opened up the magazine world for a whole slew of glossies that weren’t Vogue and didn’t want to be. And I think that was the point. NYLON never tried to be anything else but what it was. It never tried to be a high-fashion magazine that was exclusive and classist, because that wasn’t the point of it. NYLON invited the fashion world to see things a little differently; to explore fashion from a lens of culture instead of just a mirror. NYLON invited so many of us to see the fun in fashion. To see life a little more vividly. To have a little more fun with our wardrobe, our lives and ourselves.
NYLON may not be on shelves but it’s still lives one. You can see its spirit in every eccentric weirdo who’s proud to show off her Goodwill outfit. At the DIY music venue that doubles as an art space. You can see it in the confidence someone has when they’re wearing their favorite lipstick or outfit. And you can see it in all the magazines on the newsstand that say that being yourself is the trend of the season.
NYLON may not be around any longer, but it will always live on. We wouldn’t be us without it.
NYLON never dies. Long live NYLON. ◊