Take Ivy, a photographic volume that has achieved iconic status among fashion insiders, was first published in Japan in 1965. Fifty years later, a group of Penn students seeking to emulate the original publication’s methodical study of Ivy League sartorial life has produced their answer to the mid-century classic, which was reprinted in 2010. Part photo-book and part social documentary, 33 to 40 looks to the past in an attempt to continue the cultural dialogue between the American Northeast and the world of Japanese fashion.
Judging from its elegant hardback cover, one might be surprised to learn that the entire venture was a whirlwind project. “From when we met with models to when we sent everything off to print was almost exactly five weeks, and all the essays were written during the period of one month,” lead photographer Alex Fisher, a College sophomore, explains. “We really wanted this to be a snapshot of Penn at a very specific moment in the spring.” The result is a set of whimsical images and essays that reflect the evolution of the Ivy League aesthetic that so interested Take Ivy’s creators.
With a title referencing the city blocks that contain Penn’s campus, 33 to 40 aims to counter the ephemeral way college students document their lives today. Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are not meant to be archival, but a publication of this nature can act as a time capsule, bringing readers right back to the specific moment it documents. Ashley Leung C’16, the book’s design editor, calls it “the Penn she wants to live in every day.”
Those interested in the book, published in a limited run of 200, can read more about it on 33to40.com, the publication’s student-built website. However, since the project emphasizes the importance of the print medium, the editors are certain that an eBook is “off the table.”
—Sofia Demopolos C’17