Visible Women

Introducing Stylist’s Suffragette issue

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Stylist Team
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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, Stylist is proud to present the Suffragette issue: an entire magazine dedicated to the women’s suffrage movement. 

On 6 February 1918, the British government passed the Representation of the People Act: a landmark piece of legislation that extended voting rights to property-owning women over the age of 30 for the first time. While the Act wasn’t perfect and still blocked many women from voting, it allowed more than 8 million women to formally take part in politics for the first time: a huge milestone in the march towards gender equality in the UK.

With that in mind, it seemed only right that Stylist paid tribute to the brave women whose activism led to the Act being passed. On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 February, our Suffragette issue will hit the streets in cities around the UK: a special collector’s edition of the print magazine, aged to have the look and feel of a periodical from 1918.

The Suffragette issue will tell the moving stories of the heroic women from 100 years ago who dedicated their lives to gaining equality, and will also focus on present day activism for women’s rights. It is part of Stylist’s year-long Visible Women campaign, dedicated to raising awareness of women, past and present, who have made a difference to the world.

Artist Garry Walton created the illustrations for the Suffragette issue. Above: suffragettes Annie Kenney, Sophia Duleep Singh and Lavender Guthrie. 

The 1918-themed design for the Suffragette issue was the brainchild of Stylist art director Natasha Tomalin-Hall. She used a mixture of illustration and sepia-style photography throughout the magazine, and added a filter with the texture of aged paper over all the pages.

“I went back to the archives and looked at magazine design from the time,” she says. “The covers of magazines were predominantly illustrated in 1918, and there was a very specific style of illustration that came out of that research, so I found an illustrator called Garry Walton who could pastiche that style.”

The articles in the Suffragette issue were created in collaboration with Helen Pankhurst, the renowned international women’s rights activist and great-granddaughter of the leader of the British Suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst. She consulted with the Stylist editorial team on the content for the Suffragette issue, as well as writing the cover feature, and will be interviewed live on-stage at a one-off Stylist event in February.

“It’s been fascinating to be a part of the planning for this beautiful issue of Stylist, and to work with the team of passionate women behind it who have put so much thought and research into the topics covered,” Pankhurst says.

“The coverage in this issue and throughout the year as part of Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is going to be amazing,” Pankhurst continues. “It will include support for a range of women’s rights initiatives from the celebration of the first time some women could vote on the 6th of February, to events such #March4Women on Sunday 4 March in advance of International women’s Day.”

“The suffragettes were instrumental in changing social norms and giving women a greater say about their own lives and their roles in society – together in Stylist we honour them and continue the task of forging a more equal and liberated world.” 

Bespoke advertising from Galaxy for the Suffragette issue

The issue also carries bespoke advertising copy from the likes of House of Fraser, River Island, Sky, and L’Oréal Luxury & Paris, designed to celebrate the suffragettes and women’s equality.

“It was essential that the advertisers came with us on this journey for this issue,” says Georgina Holt, group publishing director at Shortlist Media. “The dedication of the suffragettes and the work of the editorial team to tell their story meant it was paramount we worked with advertisers who had the same values as us and were willing to put the borders around their advertising.

“For the advertisers it offered a really important platform to show their support for the landmark centenary as well as their commitment to equality & the power of the female voice. We want to thank all of the advertisers who worked with us – this is all about us working together and a community to achieve our goals.”

Stylist editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski: “Let’s finish what the suffragettes started”

Stylist editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski says that she circled February 2018 in her planner when she first launched the magazine, eight years ago.

“At Stylist we have always believed in the power of women. Like our suffragette sisters 100 years ago, we are on the cusp of huge, vital, urgent change,” she says. “The wheels are turning, and we can all be part of the movement. Let’s finish what the suffragettes started.”

Stylist readers who are unable to get their hands on a physical copy of the Suffragette issue can order it via Newsstand from 6-13 February. 

Alternatively, catch up on all of our content celebrating the centenary of some women getting the vote right here

Illustrations: Garry Walton at meiklejohn.com. Photography: Sarah Brimley for Stylist