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Muse in the museum: Fashion magazine’s fall issue borrows from others’ art

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Photo used on cover of the fall issue of 'Scarlette' magazine. Credit: Photo by Josh Orak and Danielle Grace

Photo used on cover of the fall issue of ‘Scarlette’ magazine.
Credit: Photo by Josh Orak and Danielle Grace

Although many people visit museums to examine paintings displayed on white-washed walls or to ponder over the historical significance of glass-encased artifacts, one Ohio State organization recently visited the Columbus Museum of Art for a different reason — to transform the spacious gallery into an unconventional fashion runway.

“We liked the idea of (combining) a museum with fashion … you are always on display when it comes to what you wear,” said Alexander Singer, a third-year in forestry fisheries and wildlife and co-president of Scarlette, OSU’s student-run fashion magazine. “There is no real way that you can say what should be inside a museum and what shouldn’t, so it brings this idea of universality.”

The OSU student organization devoted to fashion journalism, Scarlette, was founded in 2011 and has since grown to include a staff of more than 35 members, Singer said. 

“The majors (of the members) do vary greatly,” he said. “Sometimes people who are interested in a variety of things tend to be more open-minded and willing to lend an ear to some things that may be overlooked.”

It was this ability to recognize beauty in uncommon places that inspired the museum photo shoot, Singer said. 

“We shot inside the Columbus Museum of Art, and it was absolutely gorgeous,” Singer said. “We also did a shoot in the Urban Arts Space, which is owned by Ohio State. That was incredible. They have some really interesting pieces of art. The artists gave us the rights to shoot in front of their work and it was really great.”

The museum piece is the cover shoot for Scarlette’s seventh issue, which is scheduled to be released online Friday.

“The museum editorial is really the main influence for the rest of the magazine,” said Bonnie Babb-Cheshul, a third-year in visual communication design and co-president of Scarlette

The photos included in the museum spread are meant to inspire a discussion among readers that focuses on an over-arching theme of feminism, Babb-Cheshul added.

“There is a little bit of a feminist influence,” she said. “(It) starts out with a quote from the Guerrilla Girls, which is a feminist organization, talking about how there is a prominent male-dominated influence in the museum community. It talks about how most of the nude (artworks) in the museum are female, but most of the artists are male.

Not all of the themes included in Scarlette’s upcoming issue are as social as feminism, though.

“The rest of the articles are a little bit (broader) in their scopes,” Babb-Cheshul said. “I think that the lighting influence play(s) over (to other aspects of the magazine). There are a lot of cool lighting effects from our photographers in the entire magazine. And really we try to have a spooky kind of feel for the autumn issue, since it is close to Halloween.”

No matter the issue’s themes, Scarlette strives to break the stereotypical mold of fashion magazines, Babb-Cheshul said.

“The major thing is that we really strive to stay from the mainstream media version of fashion magazines,” she said. “All of the focus is on promoting campus individuality and beauty, so it is about OSU and being yourself.”

Henry Ross, a third-year in linguistics, said that as co-managing editor, he appreciates the diversity of content included in the magazine and on Scarlette’s blog.

“It is much more editorial within the magazine. There is a lot of narrative too. The blog is a little bit more news-oriented … but it is all pretty diverse,” he said. “We really hope that the readership, the students that read it, will see that there are ways to express yourself through dress and clothing.”

Scarlette is set to release its autumn/winter issue online at midnight on Friday. A release party is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. at the RPAC plaza.

Ross said he hopes that readers take away a sense of confidence in their ability to express themselves through fashion after reading Scarlette’s upcoming issue.

“We hope that we are helping people become more exposed to that kind of culture,” he said. “We just hope people learn how to express themselves in the way that they might want to, but might not really have a language for it yet.”

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