All images taken from Polyester's new issue. 

"we wanted to glamourise double chins" -- polyester zine’s latest issue is a celebration of alternative beauty

With musician CupcakKe and artist Polly Nor as cover stars.

by Roisin Lanigan
01 August 2018, 12:09pm

All images taken from Polyester's new issue. 

It’s 2018 and beauty is more varied than ever before. Acne can be beautiful, scars can be beautiful, and as the newest issue of queer London zine Polyester shows, double chins can be beautiful too.

In their upcoming eighth issue, featuring artist Polly Nor and musician CupcakKe as cover stars, alternative beauty is celebrated and traditional beauty standards are flipped on their heads. In Double Trouble, a shoot art directed by founding editor Ione Gamble, features traditionally abhorred and ignored by the mainstream beauty industry are instead elevated. “We wanted to glamourise double chins and those with non-skinny faces,” Ione tells i-D.

The lack of beauty diversity and alternative ways of thinking in mainstream media was one of the driving forces of Polyester’s latest issue. “I initially found it really hard to motivate myself to start this issue,” Ione admits. “I was really frustrated with the industry and media in general, so I focused on finding people that did things their own way and worked outside of traditional systems to create their own models of success. I was really sick of reading everything in its most consumable, simplistic form -- especially in relation to feminism and social politics. I wanted to create and facilitate a space for work that deals with issues like beauty standards, but in a nuanced and balanced way.

“I want the issue to put forward some interesting perspectives and move away from clickbait girl power.”

Rather than harness feminism-lite in an attempt to get more clicks, Polyester stands apart, and their new issue is testament to the mag's well-earned status as a platform for alternative voices. Nowhere is this clearer than with the choice of CupcakKe and Polly Nor as cover stars. “CupcakKe is amazing as she manages everything about herself, is in complete control of her career, and also uses her platform to break down societal taboos,” says Ione. “And Polly is incredible -- her work has helped so many people come to terms with and feel better about themselves, and she’s really pioneered a whole new sub-genre of illustration. It’s important for us not only to feature amazingly talented people on the cover, but also those who maybe work behind the scenes in the creative industry. Girls like Polly are super inspiring, both to me and to our Polyester readers.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Sateen are interviewed by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Naomi Smalls, while The Slumflower is shot by Chloe Sheppard. “I hope this is our strongest issue yet,” says Ione.

To celebrate the launch of the new issue, the Polyester team are hosting a party (natch) on Thursday 2nd August at the Resistance Gallery, which fittingly is a female wrestling space when not being used for amazing parties. There’ll be DJs (including Princess Julia and Jender Anomie), dancing and plenty of celebration. After all, there’s a lot for Polyester to celebrate.

You can find out more about Polyester’s issue eight launch party here, and pre-order the issue here.

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This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

beauty standards
Polly Nor
polyester zine
the slumflower
double chins
naomi smalls