We’ve been hearing it for years: Print Is Dead. But for me it has never felt as real as when WWD announced NYLON would be discontinuing its print magazine in September 2017. It was New York Fashion Week and I was shooting a story in my studio when my editor sent me a link to the breaking news. And I’ll admit, I cried a little.
This may seem melodramatic. But nostalgia is a powerful force, and for the same reason, I cried when Marc by Marc Jacobs was discontinued. My early 30s were sure off to a crackerjack start, with the cessation of the fashion brand that punctuated my youth, my near decade-long relationship abruptly crumbling, and now the demise of a magazine which had invigorated and inspired me throughout my formative years. If I hadn’t yet come to terms with the death of my 20s, this hammered it home.
When I transitioned from academia to photography, no editor at NYLON captured my attention, embodied the spirit of the magazine, and represented the direction I wanted to go in as an artist more than Jade Taylor. This beauty editor was young, fresh, and untainted by the “do’s” and “don’ts” of an industry that continually sends the message that I can’t be beautiful because of my size and my friends can’t be beautiful because of their color, but if we just buy one more product it might be the magic bullet we need to turn everything around. But Jade’s beauty openers in NYLON were different; they (to use the obnoxious cliché of our current moment) gave me life. Each month it felt as though someone had tapped into all of my most obscure muses (like Little Edie Beale!), and I eventually realized that someone was Jade, the architect behind almost every page in NYLON that I was ripping out for my mood boards.
SHIRT, BLUE ROSES BY EDWARD MEADHAM. PANTS, URBAN OUTFITTERS. SHOES, VANS.
SASH, STYLIST’S OWN (CUSTOM).
“To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing at first,” Jade admits of her early days as NYLON’s beauty editor. “I just knew that I had an idea in my brain and that I wanted to create something different, something that I hadn’t seen anywhere, so I did!…It was a really natural creative process and that’s why it worked so well, because I wasn’t trying to be, act like, or copy anything else.”
The day it was announced that NYLON was stopping the presses, I reassured myself that this content would persist, because certainly NYLON would retain its best and brightest for their digital platform, right? A day later as I scrolled through Instagram, I was shocked to discover this was not the case. Jade’s very memorable middle finger was right there on my screen, saluting the neon sign in NYLON’s lobby, accompanied by a heartbreaking distillation of events: “…Our beloved magazine folded, and the entire print team was thrown away with it…. Everyone who is left at NYLON does not care about its readers. The print team was the soul of NYLON. The spirit of NYLON is dead, it does not live on.” Shortly thereafter, Jade published an in-depth article on Milk Makeup’s digital platform about her rise through the ranks at the magazine and the emotional fallout from her unforeseen dismissal. In this oppressive era of “positive vibes only,” Jade’s very public response to the injustice imparted by NYLON was simultaneously impressive and gut-wrenching.
SHIRT, BIG BUD PRESS. NECKLACES, JADE’S OWN.
“It’s funny, because when I posted that photo of me flipping off the NYLON sign and then a week later when the Milk Makeup article came out, people were ‘shocked’, but I didn’t understand why,” Jade recalls. “I think seeing an angry woman makes people uncomfortable. I remember after I posted that photo someone texted me and was like, ‘You should delete that… you might get in trouble’, and I was like, ‘In trouble with who?!’ … but that notion of fear is so telling of the toxic society norms of how women ‘should’ be/act. I’m supposed to be quiet and not cause a stir… it’s bullshit. I stood up for myself, my work, and the rest of the team who was also let go that day by posting that photo and writing that article… I can only hope it encourages whoever reads it to stand up for themselves if put in a similar situation.”
Very few have the courage to prioritize radical honesty over public perception, but Jade valiantly expressed her pain and outrage, undeterred by fears of being shunned or blackballed. And the outcry of public support has been remarkable. But time might not ever entirely heal this wound: “Since letting me go, they’ve used my work without properly crediting me or the rest of the team involved, and have even stooped low enough to use photos from my beauty editorials to promote new beauty features they’re doing. It’s such a slap in the face. The worst part about everything is that I feel like I have to be ashamed of the last 6 years of my life. I can’t post any of my work, or even silly Instagram things like #tbt because I don’t want to give NYLON attention…I think that’s the worst part. I genuinely loved the work I created for the last 6 years, but now I feel like I have to pretend like it didn’t happen.”
There’s a lot that will remain unexplained, particularly why the print team was not transferred to digital. “It comes down to the current owner being more driven by money than by talent,” Jade asserts. NYLON is not the only publication guilty of prioritizing the bottom line—an essential component of any remotely successful business—but as a beacon of unconventional, alternative fashion and beauty content for so many years, the way in which this decision was executed, the people who were let go, and the subsequent homogenization of content undermines the entire spirit of the brand. This sudden death has reinforced the need for creatives to snap to attention and acknowledge a dangerously changing landscape in print media and the photo/beauty/fashion industries. As Jade so aptly assesses, “Everything is really oversaturated and nothing feels original anymore. The publishing industry will have its problems until the day comes when we’re all robots and are basically living in a Black Mirror episode. The beauty industry still has a lot to work on, but there’s been a radical shift in the last decade as far as inclusion and visibility goes. One of the biggest problems the beauty industry has right now is waste: So many PR companies spend an insane amount of money on overindulgent press product packaging that isn’t eco-friendly or recyclable, so I applaud editors and influencers who are calling companies and brands out by asking them for change.”
KIMONO, OPENING CEREMONY. SHOES, NO. 6. TIGHTS, JADE’S OWN.
Jade has since relocated to New Orleans, and though she’s still writing (be sure to check out her bylines in the next issues of L’Officiel, BUST, and Tidal!), she doesn’t anticipate a return to an editorial role any time soon, although that editor’s eye endures: “My life is really different right now and I’m inspired by all sorts of new, weird things. For example…the kids in New Orleans. Everyone looks like they just stepped out of a 4 Non Blondes music video and I’m really living for it. Nobody is on their phone and everyone is nice to each other—it’s basically the opposite of living in NYC. If I was still working at a magazine I would probably be creating a really sick beauty story inspired by New Orleans right now!”
In addition to writing and focusing on “being a better partner, friend, and human in general,” Jade has been collaborating with LA-based metaphysical brand House of Intuition. Majorly devoted to “tarot and anything magical,” Jade featured the brand years ago in NYLON, and now has a hand in creating/curating: “Back in December I went to LA twice for House Of Intuition product development, and on one of those trips I helped create Crystal Body Polish which just launched! They come in five different crystal essences—Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Jade, Citrine, and Opalite—and they smell amazing and are literally full of magic. We’re also launching tarot-inspired skin mists soon called Arcana Skin Mystics which have completely saved my skin! I’m working on a lot of new product development right now which has been a nice change since I’m used to being on the other side (the press side) of things”.
Whether we will ever see Jade back at the helm of a publication’s beauty pages remains to be seen, but with all of this focus on self-healing and self-improvement, she will undoubtedly continue to evolve and create bigger and better projects. “New Orleans has been the most magical and healing gift I’ve ever received. I’m so inspired by everything happening here, especially in my neighborhood (the Bywater), and it’s been such a nice change for me personally to get out of NYC and experience something less stressful. I wake up in the morning, pick fresh chamomile from my garden, make tea, go to yoga, write, listen to vinyl, spend time with my cats and my boyfriend, and just live a slower/calmer/nicer lifestyle. It might sound really fucking boring but it’s the best.”
KIMONO, ASOS. JEWELRY, JADE’S OWN.
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