polyester zine’s third anniversary issue explores the dark side of femininity and birthdays

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, okay?

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Oct 12 2017, 4:56pm

Photography Chloe Sheppard

With a rabid cult following and a creator that's only 23 years old, Polyester Zine is nothing short of remarkable. Now celebrating its third anniversary, it's honouring itself in true polyester style with an exhibition in east London's Protein Studios, and a special birthday issue that's darker than a rich kid's tantrum on My Super Sweet Sixteen.

"I wanted to do something to celebrate three years -- and seven print issues -- of Polyester", founding editor Ione Gamble tells us, explaining the deliciously emo tone of the celebrations. "I love my birthday, but I think birthdays for everyone have a sort of dark undertone -- it's not all cake, presents and being showered with attention. So I created three zines that reflected that."

Photography Ambar Navarro

Two of the zines are nightmarish celebrations of birthdays. It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want to is set across the course of a night at a birthday party, illustrated by Laura Callaghan, while Another Year, Another Existential Crisis is a gloomy tome of essays centered around birthdays. The third, Daughters of Darkness, is an exploration of "deplorable" tropes of femininity. Just in time for Halloween (and Scorpio season, if you're also celebrating a gloomy birthday).

But despite the teenage angst, the zines themselves are an explosion of energy and colour, a celebration of a different type of femininity in a world that only prescribes and allows certain strains." Polyester is a shiny beacon of hope and joy and fun in a stormy sea of despair," photographer and illustrator Rachel Hodgson explained. "It brings everything I love from the internet and internet communities and brings it into real life, where we can all dance and enjoy ourselves for a while."

Photography Scarlett Carlos Clarke

Alongside the zines, the accompanying exhibition, opening tomorrow, will display work from the new issues as well as visual work from the first six Polyester publications. "We've been lucky in that we've featured and worked with some really amazing people over the duration of the zine," Ione says. "So I wanted to signpost that in a way everyone could come and see and feel apart of."

Polyester's exhibition opens tomorrow at Protein Studios. If you can't make it, you can buy the zine here.

Georgia Haire
Ashley Armitage
Laura Callaghan