The following was originally published at couturesquemag.com.
I was recently asked by an interviewer to describe the person that I was five years ago. After a certain age, a question like that must be easy enough to answer, when five years represents only a tiny fraction of your whole life. But at 20, five years represents a quarter of my life. So, in responding to this question, I was confronted by an armada of self-reflection, considering what this last 25% of my existence has amounted to.
In the last five years, I became a paid, published writer. I moved to New York for college, during which time, I also moved temporarily to London and Florence to study abroad. I’ve lived in four countries, two continents, and moved nine times. I worked in different industries, read widely, and have been enveloped by stimuli, culture, and a cacophony of personal up’s and down’s. I have been driven to start new projects, which has led me to new territory – socially, geographically, emotionally, professionally.
In recent years, it has turned out that my one constant has been change. I am turning 21 in a couple of months, and so at this point in life, a relationship to change is very normal, as is the uncertainty and fear with which it comes bundled. As I embark on the next five year chunk of living,; however, I no longer feel the pull towards ungrounded self-discovery that I felt at the end of my teens. Rather, I feel more confident in my knowledge of myself, my capacity to overcome challenges, and my grasp of knowing what I want. If the last five years were about overcoming my insecurities to search for who I want to be, this coming chapter is about implementation.
This is all to say that after five years, also, as Editor in Chief of Couturesque, I have decided to step down and exit the magazine, as of January 31st. When I started the publication at the age of 15, from my bedroom in suburban Toronto, I imagined creating a space where young writers could claim authority and frame the fashion and beauty world from their point of view – smartly, originally, and thoughtfully. I never foresaw that this project would occupy most of my spare time, introduce me to a whole community of new friends, and play a major role in sending me to college in New York. I started Couturesque at a moment where I was also reckoning with an intense bout of self-loathing, the kind that comes when you are most vulnerable to cystic acne, social drama, and the toxic rhetoric of YouTube beauty gurus. Channelling my abilities and learning new ones, through the magazine, inspired me and gave me the confidence to claim my value and my worth in the world around me, at a time when I wasn’t sure that I had any. As this publication opened up new doors for me, I increasingly felt powerful enough to open them for myself.
Now, I also feel confident enough to know when the time has come to close certain doors and open others that I haven’t had the chance to explore yet. After five years in the fashion industry, internships and school coursework have shown me that this might not be the field for me. Fashion and clothes are still personal hobbies, but the industry no longer holds my interest, and I’ve been pulled instead towards other areas that occupy a more meaningful place in my heart (and that always have). For example, though writing about fashion doesn’t appear to be my priority anymore, writing remains my lifelong passion and something that I have wanted to do professionally since the age of seven. Leaving Couturesque will allow me to pursue freelance writing opportunities in the domain of arts/culture and feminism, where I see myself hopefully working for a long, long time to come.
This does not, however, mean the end of the magazine. Though it started with just me, Couturesque has become much bigger than one person and that is perhaps what I am the most proud of. I am excited to be handing off leadership of the publication to former Market Editor Autumn Breeze, who as the new Editor in Chief, will expand and enhance the aspects of Couturesque that you have enjoyed since our founding. Autumn is committed to the publication and always has been, and there is no one I would feel more confident handing the torch along to.
To all of our loyal readers – thank you. Thank you. There is such an indescribable pleasure in knowing that someone else is reading what you are writing – in being heard, and the messages of support that I have received from you over the years have been so moving. As I have mentioned over and over again, Couturesque has been about creating space and visibility and making people feel heard in a world that might not always take their voices into account. I hope that for you, Couturesque can play a part in helping you find your power, just like this magazine has done for me. Thank you.
Tia Elisabeth Glista