collecting & curating

It’s a Saturday morning. French Pop music is playing on my Spotify, the window is open to let in a breeze that helps my claustrophobia while living in this tiny 1-bed, top-floor flat. I drink from my cup of tea—milk and two, of course, and open the latest issue of KENNEDY magazine.

I only started reading KENNEDY not that long ago. I stumbled upon it while I was in the Magma Shop in Covent Garden with Brad. I’ve always enjoyed magazines. When I was a kid, I had a whole collection of different issues. It started around 8 years old with Total Girl. After that it was M Magazine, to satisfy my obsession with Disney Channel.

When I got into my teens, I moved on from celebrity tween gossip magazines and started developing an interest in fashion. My brother and Mum came home one day and had bought me an issue of Teen Vogue. I remember how it smelt—there was probably about five different perfume samples inside. I remember loving every single page that was in that issue. I read it over and over again. It was the first magazine that really made me start to think about what I liked and how I wanted to be seen in the world.

Collecting magazines was a hobby of mine. I never realised this until looking back now. There were times when I would know a new issue of a magazine was out and I would make my Mum go to a newsagency to ask for it. I'd be so bummed when she'd tell me they didn't have a certain issue yet.

After years of collecting magazines, the Internet started to change. Blogging became more significant and the online world took over. No longer did I feel the need to buy a physical magazine when I could simply go onto my computer and discover new inspirations and trends online. It was much quicker and easier—and free.

I would go to my favourite bloggers and save every photo I liked, then put them into organised folders on my desktop. Online curation eventually replaced collecting magazines. Some nights when I didn’t have school, I’d be up until 4 AM, Lily Allen’s It’s Not Me, It’s You album playing on repeat, adding photos of Swedish bloggers into my “A/W Style” folder. Then when I discovered Tumblr, I moved on from saving photos and found it even easier to curate through Tumblr.

But it’s been a decade since I slowly started preferring online over physical and somewhere along the way I think I started to get information overload. It probably happened sometime after Instagram became the literal centre of attention. I think I only really noticed this quite recently. I consciously started to—again—think about how I wanted to be seen in the world and this only happened as I started discovering new interests and having new experiences.

The more popular online platforms like Tumblr and Instagram and Pinterest became, the more I felt the need to take conscious breaks from them. Suddenly the Internet became so oversaturated with information and inspiration. I think I reached a point where I didn't even know what I liked anymore. Or if I did, I didn't know where to find it because if I went online, there were just too many options, too many images, too many posts. Nothing was curated, everything felt like a bit of a mess.

In order to deal with all of this, I've been in the process of slowly re-curating my life. It's so easy to get excited about finding new songs and brands and things to do but it's also so easy to get overwhelmed by always needing to know what the new best thing is. Sometimes I feel like always searching for something new can take me away from the things I already know and like about myself.

In my journey of curation, I've also found it easier to go back to choosing physical over digital. I think I become more intentional with what I pay attention to when I'm holding something physical in my hand. I feel more at ease when I can go pick up a new magazine instead of scrolling through a bunch of irrelevant posts on Instagram just to find one piece that catches my eye.

But when it does come to anything digital, I'm being more conscious of who I follow. I'm definitely not against social media, but I do think there's a way to go about it without feeling like you're scrolling just to scroll. All in all, I'm being more aware of how and where I receive information online.

I have a tendency to question myself. Sometimes I can be a little too self-reflective. So curating tends to ease this. It helps me understand myself and helps me be aware of who I am and what I like.