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Polyester essay zine coverPolyester / Chloe Sheppard

Peek at Polyester Zine’s beautiful new birthday party issue

We speak to founder Ione Gamble about issue seven, the zine’s upcoming birthday party, and how she feels after three years of Polyester

Since its very first issue, Polyester, the hyperreal, political, grotesquely feminine zine founded by Ione Gamble, has had a massive impact on the world of publishing. It has worked with and featured Tavi Gevinson, Edward Meadham, Pussy Riot, Maisie Cousins, Parker Day, and tons of other massive names both inside and outside DIY circles. Now three years old, Polyester is celebrating its birthday and its success with a huge exhibition and a special edition seventh issue.

For the occasion, Polyester is releasing three zines: photography, essay and illustration. The essay and illustration zines are both themed around birthdays (naturally) while the photography instalment is themed around “different persecuted tropes of femininity and stereotypes of women throughout history”. Each photographer, including Parker Day, Rachel Hodgson, and Scarlett Carlos Clarke, was given a trope to interpret in their own unique way. For the illustration zine, each illustrator picked an element from Laura Callaghan's birthday party themed cover to expand into a one or two page illustration/comic.

Additionally, there’ll be an exhibition at Protein Studios in Shoreditch from Friday through to Monday. The space will be completely immersive and set up like a giant birthday party; on show will be archive prints from issues one to six alongside prints from the new zines. Gamble told us that “it felt appropriate to curate an exhibition with work from the last three years, as with the print issues none of the work goes online – so potentially there’s a lot of work that hasn’t been seen by lots of people previously. There’ll also be work from the illustration zine and photo zine on show.”

Judging by the massive storm it's created in the DIY world, it seems as if Polyester has been around for far longer than three years. Gamble said that “in zine culture in particular things come and go fairly quickly”. She’s proud of what Polyester has managed to achieve, and says that she feels a “sense of achievement and mostly gratefulness that I’ve been able to continue” and that she is really lucky “to have been able to interview and work on with features some of the people we’ve had on board”.

The series of three issues will give readers something special to keep; something a little different to Polyester’s regular output. Gamble said that she wanted “to create something different from a conventional issue seven to celebrate three years of Polyester” because “one of the great things about zine culture and DIY culture in general is that it’s not often privy to conventional magazine publishing cycles or timeframes”. Gamble hopes the three issues (one for each year) will be a “nice change to get some of the old contributors, as well as new voices, to contribute to something towards one of the zines that would reflect the ethos of Polyester from over the last three years.”

“I thought it would be a nice change to get some of the old contributors, as well as new voices, to contribute to something towards one of the zines that would reflect the ethos of Polyester from over the last three years” – Ione Gamble

Over three years, Polyester has nurtured and featured a huge range of talent in the circles it exists in. Photographer Chloe Sheppard said that for her, “Polyester isn't just a zine, it's a place I consider home. I feel represented, trusted, valued and worthy of something when I look at Polyester. Something so magical has been created within it and it's where we can all belong, which is why I, and I think so many other people, love it.” The band Dream Wife, who have collaborated with Polyester on shoots and other projects, said that as a zine “it straddles lines between art, personal and social politics and community with a wicked look, sharp wit and a whole lot of heart.” adding “Polyester is a powerhouse and a force be reckoned with, our lives in London would not be the same without it.” 

See the Facebook event for Polyester’s birthday party 
here and preorder the zines here.