Upstart indie fashion magazine publisher Serah-Marie Mahon and her team at WORN Fashion Journal get a starring role this weekend in a Globe and Mail feature by Robert Everett-Green. Not bad for a twice-yearly, quirky and idiosyncratic title with a small, but impressive circulation.
“We were just unhappy with the prescriptive nature of most fashion magazines. We wanted to inspire people not just to go out and spend money, but to use what’s already around them in creative ways,” said G. Steglemann, the managing editor, who describes herself and the WORN family as "fashion nerds".
The feature chronicles how WORN began in a vintage clothing store in Toronto's Kensington Market and, after moving to Montreal, how Mahon decided the best way to change the discussion about fashion was to start her own magazine, even though she had no experience. Later, after a fine arts degree, she moved back to Toronto.
Eleven issues later, WORN has correspondents in a half-dozen cities, an increasingly polished look (the first art director came on board last year) and distribution in Chapters Indigo. Although it sells about 60 per cent of its print run abroad, it had to pass up a European distribution deal because it couldn’t afford to print the minimum 4,000 copies the distributor demanded. WORN’s dependence on magazine sales rather than ad revenue, however, turned out to be a blessing when the economy faltered.
“The recession only did good things for us,” says McMahon. “People were still willing to pay six dollars for a magazine that a lot of them find they want to hang on to, not throw away.”