Text: Alec Coiro
All Images Courtesy of Lyz Olko
Do you feel unsafe? I had almost forgotten to be afraid of the nucs being unleashed, it’s 2017 here the nucs are back. And not just the abstract threat of Armageddon. If you’re not personally unsafe right now, someone you know is, and I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. And anyone who reads the title of Olko’s zine knows what she’s getting at. But in case you don’t, Olko gives a very insightful explanation when we asked her why she picked this moment for this theme, “This collection has to be now. Because of the political environment, it’s the right time for other people. But I grew up feeling unsafe in a lot of ways, and I understand being afraid. So for me, safety and money have always been part of my emotional landscape. But it’s not a personal issue anymore. Emotional safety and physical safety are kind of the same right now. It’s something everyone is grappling with.”
Lyz Olko is, of course, the creator of Obesity + Speed, who now designs an even more forward-looking clothing under her own name. We got to know her best through her conversation with William Strobeck. And as we learned in that interview, Olko’s approach isn’t limited to fashion; she takes on culture writ large, and this zine is a great example of that. She tells us that it’s a format that she’s always been attracted to “Zines are this great informal way of being able to tell a story however you like: drawings, photos, text, whatever. They are an amazing way to stay connected or make new connections with other people.” In the case of Everything is Going to be Alright the zine also became the perfect way to bring people together. “All of the collaborators answered the two questions I asked them, which formed the narrative of the zine. Some also gave me drawings, photos, paintings of their own in response to the questions. I also photographed some people and included their portraits, there are additional photos and collages of mine I included as part of our shared story.”
According to Olko, the original inspiration came from her own collection of magazines: “I have a magazine archive. It’s massive. I’ve been collecting it since I was a teenager. I’ll go back to that magazine collection every season. And I used to have to save up for them. Magazines that were $10 or $20, that was expensive to me then. My favorite issue ever is this ID Magazine issue from 1999. It’s called the Beyond Price issue. And they ask everyone in the magazine, ‘What’s beyond price?’ When I realized that’s what this collection was about, I knew we had to do a tribute to that magazine and make one of our own.”
Our last question for Lyz was how the idea came about of combining the SS18 collection with a zine. It turns out that it didn’t so much come about naturally. “I have always made small books and photo stories mixed with text and drawing. As I had started to think about what being safe meant to me, and also how much my last show was really a collaboration between everyone involved I realized: everyone can tell their story and I know the way to do that is to make a zine. Each person I asked to collaborate with me I knew would have something special to say and contribute, and I also loved the idea of photographing each person individually. I loved the one on one time and just the opportunity to shoot and make something new.”
If you don’t have your copy yet, we’re lucky enough to be able to share some of the pages of the zine right here.
For me, safety and money have always been part of my emotional landscape. But it’s not a personal issue anymore. Emotional safety and physical safety are kind of the same right now. It’s something everyone is grappling with.