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Editor's Letter

Youth and new perspectives

Milan Đačić

March 7, 2024

There are many sayings and quotes about youth, but few that I really like. Most often, they boil down to the fact that youth is wasted on the young, that it is there to do stupid things that you later regret, that you can’t be both wise and young, and all that in order to prove that youth is not really to be trusted and that it is certainly not here to last. It is changeable, unstable, and has no experience. I, on the other hand, am somehow more inclined to believe that youth is the one that can and should be trusted the most because it is the least interested in “how it should be” and what is “expected”, although it is certainly not completely immune to it. I believe that all those who claim that we actually spend most of our time ageless are quite right. Or at least, that’s how it should be. Because the truth is that there is not (just) one exact determination when we become more mature, smarter, or the “true version” of ourselves. There are experiences, and they may or may not have to do with age. Everything is in constant change, especially ourselves, and the only thing we can do is try to reverse familiar perspectives and discover new ones, do things that seem worthwhile, and support those we believe in. This is exactly what the new issue of Vogue Adria is about.

Gabrielle Owen, the author of the book “The History of Queer Adolescence” has written a great text about the unsustainability of the binary division between adulthood and adolescence, and all the prejudices that accompany both. At all ages we experience moments of recognition, belonging and identity exploration, and none are more or less open, fluid, adventurous and uncertain. It is necessary to normalize this, although it largely depends on how we approach life, and how much we know how to explore (depending on how much we are allowed to) and on not being afraid of it when our voice starts to be heard far away. The voice of this year’s representatives of Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest will be heard far and wide. All three are extremely young on the regional scene, and the simultaneity of their selection shows that we are collectively ready to support those who bring novelty and stand behind them. In the cross-interviews between Teya Dora and Konstrakta, Baby Lasagne and Vesna Pisarović, Raiven and Bojan Cvjetićanin, a lot was revealed about the regional music scene, authenticity and dedication, as well as about new musical directions that are only beginning to resonate.

Youth is beautiful because it has the most power to initiate, to envision new futures, and to open issues that were once considered the status quo. It does not accept “it is the way it is” as an answer, and this is evidenced by the members of the group Pretty Loud, rappers of Roma origin, who used stereotypes, stigma and underprivileged life positions as enough material to write songs and offer them to the world quite loudly. They talked about activism and the fight for a better future, not only personal but general, with Selma Selman, our diversity editor, who, starting with this issue, will work with us to include those who are unjustly left out of the mainstream and marginalized. The beauty of the diversity of voices and positions is confirmed by all the fashion stories in this issue, and one of them reminds us that no matter how different we are and wherever we are in the world, we all have that one place that we remember and are always happy to return to. Like, for example, the bench to which you used to run away from classes, which remembers long night conversations, arguments and reconciliations, in which someone’s name is carved, or the memory of a first date. About such a bench and what she learned on it writes Nađa Petrović, one of the writers of the youngest generation, who, along with other colleagues, shared her story about the advice she received but didn’t ask for, as is most advice young people get.

Youth is not only about age, but the ability to constantly wonder, to remain interested, open and curious towards the world and ourselves. It is necessary to think freely, in order to explore and create, and after all, to take risks with new experiments and philosophies, and this is evidenced by the product designers from the region, who delight not only regional art and design connoisseurs with their pieces, but also beyond that. It’s not always easy to be young, moreover, it’s very often not, but that’s why it’s necessary to stay young. From time to time lie down on the floor, put your feet up on the wall and see everything that surrounds us from a different perspective. Find the holes in the perfect plan, the little joys we forgot, the problems we hid under the bed and approach them from a new angle, think about how we can do everything differently and ask ourselves “can it be done now?”.