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Polyester Beauty Zine
Photography Roxy Lee

Polyester’s first beauty issue celebrates the body in all its glory

To celebrate half a decade, Polyester is focusing its attention on beauty in 2019

To open the pages of Polyester is to enter a kitsch and colourful world that is gloriously feminine and DIY-spirited, where those who feel excluded from mainstream media are championed and where bad taste is delighted in with joyful glee. 

Over the past five years, the London-based feminist and queer-centred zine founded by Ione Gamble has tackled issues of mental health, body image, and politics with empathy and consideration all in its signature confectionary coloured aesthetic. 

Now, to celebrate half a decade, Polyester is focusing its attention on beauty and what it means to us in 2019. “Beauty has always been a huge part of Polyester because right from the get-go we always wanted to shoot all body types; and due to sample sizes being so restrictive, the best way to do that was through beauty editorials,” Gamble tells us.  

“I think despite its problems, beauty is a fairly accessible way for people to express themselves; especially due to social media. It's so inspiring to see all the teenagers that use make-up as a way to create personas via social media and to push away from the standards that have been set culturally by the beauty industry.”

To put the issue together, Gamble turned to Polyester beauty editor Mona Leanne for joint creative direction, and the zine features contributions from Roxy Lee, Chloe Sheppard, and Lucy Alex Mac to name just a few. The result is a refreshing, celebratory take on beauty and body positivity. Colourful and imaginative, the shoots are welcomely far removed from the drab imagery that all too often is used to connote ‘real’ women. There's flesh adorned with sequins and googly eyes, decorated with angelic cherubs, embellished with pick n mix candy. There are tiger lips, feathered eyes and winged vaginas. ‘Polyester’ stencilled onto buzzcuts and dripping down faces.  

“Something that is really important to me is to not only represent bodies that are marginalised but to glorify them. Those who do not fit in with what society considers beautiful do not simply deserve acceptance, they deserve to see versions of themselves that are glam, that are over the top and aspirational,” Gamble says. “I want to see people’s perceived 'flaws' not only represented but treated with love and care. We all spend so much time hating our bodies, the least I can do as someone who runs a publication is to try and offset that slightly.”

Polyester Beauty Issue is available from October 31. Pre-order here.