Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone!


This is a requiem for a print stalwart. Ebony magazine, published 12 times a year since 1945, has given way to the online media revolution. The last print issue, above, was published in September 2016. The title continues as an online community at

Begun by entrepreneurs John and Eunice Johnson, Ebony was originally conceived of as a pictorial news magazine counterpoint to the popular Life and Look. The magazine, now published solely online, claims to be “the number 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the Black community…[which] reaches nearly 11 million readers…and ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration.” Johnson’s vision drew subscribers, but it took till 1972 for him to be named Magazine Publisher of the Year.




Ebony’s focus on African American life used/s features on successful people from many walks of life to represent a broader range of the Black experience in American life. While “mainstream” magazines featured (and still do) very few African American models, advertising copy, or success stories, Ebony presented these as normative. Regular features included marriage and relationship advice, specialized grooming and skin care tips*, business and education advice, alongside spotlights on Black entertainers, educators, politicians and sports stars.





In 1951, the publisher started a sister publication, Jet, which came out weekly in a small digest size. This title went strictly online in 2014. Using it’s weekly format, Jet helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement by publishing stories and details that weren’t being covered by white media companies.Their publication of photos of a¬†young Mississippi man who was lynched in 1955 is often credited as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.




Both Jet and Ebony have been digitized extensively by Google Books, which you can see here:


Eunice Johnson had a longstanding interest in fashion. From a prominent family in Selma, Alabama, Eunice decided to take her interest in beautiful clothing and bring it to the black middle class. In 1958 she called up the couturiers she bought her own clothes from and put together a fashion road show, the annual Ebony Fashion Fair. The show featured black models and often highlighted black designers, and it toured all throughout America. The 1978 list of tour dates included such cities as Fort Wayne, IN; Wilmington, DE, Dayton, OH; Evanston and Joliet, IL; Chattanooga, TN; and Mobile, AL. In 1961, the tour was invited to the White House, despite the models and stage managers being forbidden to use the front door in most southern restaurants.



The show continued until 2009, when Eunice died at the age of 93. It had the lasting impact of putting the African American take on high fashion front and center in American life, and engaging middle America in a world that had previously felt very far from their experience.




In 2016, Johnson sold his publishing company to a private equity corporation. The title continues in an online format.


*Kinky curly hair and dark skin have very different care needs than Anglo-European straight hair and pale skin.

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Green tech: Algiknit

Sample of Algiknit, project of FIT students and faculty

How big an eco-footprint does your closet represent? And how long will it take the contents to regenerate when you tire of them?


These are some of the questions that environmentalists are asking the fashion industry. We’re all trying to reach minimum environmental impact, but synthetics regenerate easily, and their manufacturing processes are produces quantities of harmful emissions.



Dyeing processes use large amounts of water and highly toxic chemicals. Cotton needs an arid climate that requires redirection of water into some kind of irrigation system, as well as extensive processing equipment and energy.



There are a lot of ways to answer these concerns, but FIT’s Professor Asta Skocir isn’t “sure that durable, long lasting clothing will encourage reduced consumption.” She set up the BioEsters project with a team of students working to develop biodegradable fibers from extruded funghi and bacteria. The project won the 2016 BioDesign Challenge for art and design students.

The team kept at their research and then won an even bigger prize: The National Geographic’s annual Chasing Genius Award.


The National Geographic awarded the team, now comprised of Aleksandra Gosiewski, Aaron Nesser, Tessa Callaghan in addition to Professor Skocir, $25,000 to develop the prototype into a marketable project. Additional support has been provided by the Fashion Institute of Technology and Columbia University, along with other tech companies.


Algiknit from bio matter through fiber and into knit prototype.


This winter, the team is working with the life-sciences incubator Rebel Bio, at the Imperial City College London, to work with scientists and entrepreneurs on improving the product and marketing it to investors for production.

The project continues to generate a lot of press, as you can see below.


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Our (citation help) Valentine for you!

Greeting card, artist unknown. c. 1925-35.

We wanted to wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day!¬† We have some Research Guides that show our love but it will also help your professors to love you!

When you cite your sources correctly you are happy, your professor is happy, and the person who wrote the book or article you quoted gets the recognition she or he is due.

Here are our Research Guides on APA and MLA styles:

Since today is Valentine’s Day, we’re also giving you this short history of Valentine’s Day cards!




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