What To Buy For The Fashion-Focused Reader In Your Life p.33 is a transcription and categorization of the paratexts from one renowned high-end fashion magazine per month, spanning the course of a full year. The document, put together by Femke de Vries, serves as an archive and textual work that, by isolating and categorizing titles, subtitles and captions, brings the use of text in luxury fashion magazines to the surface.
The first general association with fashion is probably clothes, shopping, fashion shows and after that maybe magazines and their dazzling imagery but it’s not very likely to think of text when thinking of fashion. Nevertheless, it is an important actor within the construct of fashion. Text is respected in fashion as a tool for journalists to write reviews for shows, reports, and interviews, but the strongest and less noticed types of text in fashion are captions, titles and subtitles in fashion magazines or online media, words on clothes and the act of speaking. Texts on clothes or in magazines are explicit but often not really read. We only just browse through a magazine, but when do we really read it and when do we ever speak it out loud? However, it is through captions and titles that garments are assigned certain values, such as 'cool', 'casual', 'masculine', 'amazing' or 'new', even though the garment in itself doesn’t inhabit these values. The text can therefore create new ‘worlds’ around garments. This is how a garment can be turned into fashion. And it is through the choice and use of certain words and values in these fashion descriptions, and also the invention of new words (‘athleisure’ for example), that we can read today's cultural, social and economic values.