“This was a magazine that grew out of a deep love of thrifting. It was founded in 1996 by Kira Joliffe and I became the co-editor when I moved to New York City shortly thereafter. Cheap Date became a celebration of individual style, freedom of choice, empowerment and a love of dressing up; with interviews with the people that we loved. The magazine was embraced by incredibly talented people – like Karen Elson, Liv Tyler and Chloe Sevigny - who did things for us that they wouldn’t normally do. It took on a cult following. The sense of fun and irreverence was amazing.” Bay Garnett
At the Selfridges Denim Studio event I very nearly rushed over to Bay Garnett, who was styling the live campaign, to politely demand when she was thinking of reviving Cheap Date, as she had hinted at its resurrection in an interview with Oyster magazine not so long ago. I was even going to be so bold as to offer my paltry services as a writer/dogsbody/slave should she wish to take Cheap Date to the 21st century next lev. Alas, we all know how great I am at fan-girling people I admire, so the opportunity to give Garnett a gentle nudge came and went.
That leaves me no option but to pine and whine, as I flip the pages of this Cheap Date compilation book (only available through 2nd hand Amazon peeps unfortunately), featuring content from the first six issues dating from 1997-2000. Every page of thrift-related interviews, Jackie-style comic strips and DIY pin-up photos feels scuzzier and funnier than the later issues of Cheap Date and definitely less glossy than their more well-known book counterpart The Cheap Date Guide to Style (which does admittedly do a good job of filling the gap after great tomes such as Vogue's More Dash to Cash and Cheap Chic). The writing and presentation style of Cheap Date is perhaps of its time but the pages certainly hold up today, when you consider that game-changing irreverance in fashion feels scarcer than ever, despite the onslaught of blogs, zines and indie title (I'd cite Rookie as an exception to that observation). It portrays a hilarious extreme in anti-fashion sentiment that perhaps can't ever exist again because of the way brands fuel and feed content today (from credits in shoots to advertorials to the basic reliance on brands to provide content filler). Despite loving what Cheap Date stands for, I can't profess to being the 100% thrifter, hate-trends, hate-fashion persona, which the magazine celebrated. Perhaps were it to ever resurrect, it would have to have a different stance anyway considering Garnett herself is still a contributing editor to British Vogue and is for want of a better word, part of the fashion establishment. Just a few more thoughts to add to the mix if I were to by chance to encounter Garnett again.