CupcakKe

The new issue of Polyester celebrates women doing it on their own terms

CupcakKe and Polly Nor front issue 8 of the zine, which also sees features with The Slumflower and Sateen – see inside here

Polyester is back with its biggest issue yet. While most of the zine’s 8th edition has been kept under wraps, over the past few days, readers have been given glimpses of its two cover stars; rapper CupcakKe and artist Polly Nor.

Founded in 2014 by Ione GamblePolyester has always encouraged people to “have faith in your own bad taste”. Giving readers access to alternative worlds to what the mainstream media was offering, from Cherry Glazerr’s Clementine Creevy to Rookie’s Tavi Gevinson, and singer HANA, Polyester last graced our shelves in late 2017 with its birthday issue – a celebration of three years on top of its game.

When we ask Gamble what we can expect this time, she beams: “So much!” She reels off features such as, “Drag Race’s Naomi Smalls interviewing my favourite band at the minute, Sateen and Penelope Gazin who hoodwinked Silicon Valley with a fake male CEO.” Alongside interviews with both cover stars, Gamble adds that, “Tabloid Art History and (photographer) Christina Poku teamed up to modernise and re-contextualise works of art, I worked with Mila van der Linden to create a set of images that hark back to vintage Playboy, while flipping the term ‘Bunny Boiler’ on its head, and loads more...”

As Gamble puts the finishing touches on this Thursday’s launch event, we caught up with her to find out what was the driving force behind the new issue.

“It’s constantly and personally affirming to be able to facilitate the creation of work that helps you feel better about your own body” – Ione Gamble

Tell us about the cover stars? Why did you choose them, and do you feel like there is a dialogue between them as artists?

Ione Gamble: I’m not sure if there’s an explicit dialogue between them but I do think they work well together in terms of fronting the issue. They both perfectly represent what Polyester is about in their own way, and use their chosen artistic mediums to reflect their own truths and break down societal taboos on female sexuality, mental health and more – they’re also both artists that are in complete control of their own careers. CupcakKe manages every aspect of her career by herself and Polly is really inspiring to me in the sense she’s turned her illustration into a legitimate career without compromising herself or her morals. In many ways they’re kind of opposites – CupcakKe was obviously born to be a star whereas Polly shies away from putting herself in front of the camera.

I wanted to celebrate those who aren’t necessarily always given cover opportunities and usually work more behind the scenes for whatever reason, as those women are usually the most inspiring to me personally. This is why I’m super thrilled to have Polly front this issue especially.

Was there an overarching theme to the issue?

Ione Gamble: There wasn’t an overarching theme — the birthday issues we released in October were kind of a one-off (for now) in terms of being rigidly themed. I want Polyester to reflect an overarching mood or consensus amongst its audience and contributors, so usually, even though I don’t prescribe a theme, one kind of emerges.

This issue I found myself, personally, and also the people I interviewed, talking about freedom frequently – within their careers and artistic practices in particular. Sometimes creating work independently, freelance, or whatever, without the guidance of a mentor or the bolstering of a big company can feel really daunting and, at times, impossible. So I wanted to highlight women that make it work on their own: Penelope Gazin, Polly Nor, The Slumflower, and Sateen, all represent this really well.

When starting the issue, and throughout the production process, I was feeling really frustrated with the disparity between brands cashing in on young marginalised creatives and our beliefs, and the actual payoff for zine culture and those who operate within it or in the creative industries in general. Even though corporations are often desperate to cash in on our appeal – we’re still considered often too weird to actually work with, or alternative women’s publishing too much of a risk to invest in. To speak to and feature people who have managed to push against that and become successes on their own terms re-energised and motivated me immensely. I think that’s reflected in the overall tone of the issue. I want it to be hopeful and full of the possibilities of what we can achieve.

“To speak to and feature people who have managed to push against that and become successes on their own terms re-energised and motivated me immensely” – Ione Gamble

What are some of the personal highlights for you?

Ione Gamble: Having Polly Nor on the cover, as well as her providing illustration for the cover, is definitely a personal highlight for me – I think it might be my favourite to date. Camille Marriet, who shot the feature is one of my favourite photographers, and to see it all come together was amazing.

I also really adore the “Double Trouble” shoot, which is an all-out celebration of double chins. It’s constantly and personally affirming to be able to facilitate the creation of work that helps you feel better about your own body.

What lessons have you learned from creating previous issues that you have been able to utilise this time around?

Ione Gamble: Just to take my time and not to rush something out when it’s not perfect. Speaking to Polly about this was really helpful actually – literally, no matter where you’re at or who you are, there’s always this pressure to be creating. And it’s an idea we all need to step away from. I sat on some of my ideas for this issue for quite a long time until I knew I had enough to make the zine as strong as I wanted it to be, and hope it is.

What’s next?

Sleep, and lots of it! 

Polyester’s issue 8 launches this Thursday, for details click here. Pre-order the issue here

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