Where. To. Start.
Nearly two years ago at a friend’s wedding in rural Maine, I was chatting with Persephone, a former New College classmate turned Brooklynite. She was commuting into the city, designing content and graphics for Inside Hook, one of the many fashionisto curator services based in NYC. I found that ironic, seeing as she was (1) a lesbian and (2) a total Daria.
I think she sensed my thoughts because between swigs of beer and resigned chuckles, almost simultaneously, we both threw out the concept of the meta curator: a person or persons who condense and select the best of the best, of those that already claim to do just that. In essence, a cultural curator, whose authority on all things fashion, music and art trumps anyone else’s.
Older Millennials (those of us in our late twenties and early thirties) should recognize the likes of Details, Valet, Gilt, Urban Daddy, NOWNESS, and Jack Threads, all of which run in overlapping circles of content creation, product and service promotion, and expert opinion. Fresh out of college, I latched onto them because it was the most terribly chic thing to do at the time.
It’s now been 6 years since I graduated college and the meta-curator seems to be everywhere. Between Instagram, Snapchat, and smart Google Ads, the culturally conscious are able to promulgate their opinions on a plethora of different topics, and they do so with a, usually undeserved, sense of authority.
How presumptive, if not downright pretentious, is that? That your ‘top 10’ is just that, rather than a laundry list of underwriters and sponsors. It came to a point where I couldn’t help but wonder: did I need all this noise?
Today, I have unsubscribed from almost all of them, though occasionally one slips through, like Details did recently. Let’s see…”How to be a bro.” A story about Jason Schwartzman. A gallery of street style from Milan fashion week. And apparently, the answer to why everyone is suddenly drinking matcha tea, the new black coffee.
UUUUUUUUGH. Make it stop.
Nowadays, when I need to see what plain white “summer essential” sneakers Valet is hawking, I can check in all by myself. And when I need a critique of woeful, underemployed single life in Bushwick? I can go to Thought Catalog, with my own clicking finger.
Odd as it may sound, Twitter is an interesting mechanism for catching these bits and pieces happenstance, without being bothered. You can’t possibly keep up, but if you happen to check your feed and see something cool, you can read and absorb it. If not, whatever! It’s as if the universe will make you check when you’re meant to, if there’s a feature you just have to see.
Occasionally I question how my own reviews, recommendations, and opinions come off in this space. Presumptuous? Arrogant? Entitled Out of Touch?
To any of those accusations I would respond: I have no delusions that I am the single best authority on anything. I expect you, reader, to take my words with a grain of salt, as you should with any single online voice. Humorous, yes, but the meta-curator concept is absurd. North Korea style.
What I hope to achieve here is inspired suggestions and honest, unbiased review. It’s partly why I have shied away from accepting ads on Remarqed, or attempting to grow beyond my relaxed pace.
In almost any aspect of life, doing what feels good and makes you happy, versus what makes someone else happy, is the better option. Read: make your own conclusions, trust your own opinion.
Case in point: though Vogue is classic, Monocle is hip, and Kinfolk is curated to death, Departures magazine has become a favorite of mine. It sounds like the proprietary throwaway of a domestic airline, but it is fresh, light, and high-end without overt snobbery.
It touches on fashion, design, hotels, and food, and mixes in bits about music and literature in small digestible bites. When people ask me what books I like to read, I want to tell them: “Departures magazine.”
Sure, it makes me long for more travel, and to experience chic stays at The Sorrento in Seattle. But it doesn’t make me feel lesser for not jet-setting constantly.
And where did I discover Departures? A friend gave me her copy. AKA THE UNIVERSE SENT IT TO ME.