Anne-Marie Curtis' October 2018 Editor's Letter On Digital Detoxing

Anne-Marie Curtis
Photo credit: Kai Z Feng


We live in an age when sharing every aspect of our lives, from what we are wearing to who we are dating, and just how on point our pets/babies/brunch choices are, is the new normal. And despite all the talk around digital detoxing and social media’s impact on our mental health, I still believe there are positive aspects to this new social way of ‘being’.

As well as a sense of belonging and a way of discovering new things, in these turbulent political times it’s also a means of actively engaging and voicing our points of view. That said, we all need time off from this 24-hour sharing mode - to re-engage with our inner selves and reflect on our lives.

I have started doing this myself through diary-keeping, the original form of self-documentation. In the past year, my first as editor-in-chief of ELLE, it’s fair to say I have been challenged in new ways. And with all the wonderful things this has brought, I have also sometimes felt overwhelmed. Journal-keeping has helped me because it’s a moment in which I can be really honest about how I’m feeling, mentally download events and figure things out.

And it seems I’m not alone: more and more of the ELLE team have started journalling. And so we’ve taken a deep dive into this, asking four brilliant and very different women – Tina Brown, Dolly Alderton, Afua Hirsch and Tavi Gevinson – to open up about their own diaries. (If you haven’t read Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries, her brilliant account of her time as editor at Vanity Fair, I urge you to do so.) Not to mention that keeping a journal is good for your health. Researchers claim that diary-writing can contribute to everything from a lower heart rate to improved wound-healing.


Our cover star, Selena Gomez, who is vocal about mental health, was photographed carrying a journal last year. And while we may never know what she had written inside it, it’s been fascinating watching this impressive 26-year-old cope with fame (she is Instagram’s top-ranked celebrity, with 140 million followers and counting) and come to terms with who she really is. She opens up about leaving LA and taking a break from fame to work as an intern at an anti-human trafficking charity.

And on the fashion front, you’ve hopefully had time to absorb the new season and its mood. Let our fashion pages help you decide what your key purchases for autumn and beyond will be. From our guide to wearing the leather dress (tip: avoid black and team with soft tailoring) to our ‘Big, Bad and Bougie’ edition of Zoom, which celebrates the bold brilliance of this season’s accessories, our front-of-book section is a smorgasbord of new ideas and things to love.

Meanwhile, our fashion shoots will take you on a journey through the most inspiring new trends, from soft winter florals to Eighties party dressing, as well as the new monochromatic suiting. And for a deeper reflection on where fashion is at the moment, Nosheen Iqbal’s ‘Beyond the Hijab’ explores how Islamic fashion has become a force to be reckoned with, influencing the runways and going beyond headscarves and modest dressing.

And now you’re all ready to head out and show off your new-season look – or are you? While fashion has been giving us many reasons to dress up and go out, it seems few of us actually want to (go out out, that is). A hilarious vintage New Yorker cartoon of a man flipping through his diary, on the phone, with the caption: ‘How about never – is never good for you?’ has clearly hit a societal nerve recently, judging by the number of times it and similar memes have been shared on Instagram. Eva Wiseman takes a look at our collective need to bail in her hilarious piece ‘Generation Flake’.

More of you are cancelling social plans than ever before, it would seem. Perhaps we are simply scheduling in too much? Or are we already overstimulated enough thanks to our social feeds? Whatever the reason, one thing I have learned over the years is that life really is too short to spend it doing something you don’t want to do. But what I also know is that a social event with properly good friends really can be the cure to most things that are ailing you. That said, if you find yourself at home, writing your diary while wearing a pair of outrageously bougie Gucci platforms and, of course, reading ELLE, just be sure to remember you are not alone. In the wise words of poet and writer Rupi Kaur, ‘Fall in love with your solitude.’


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