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A New Magazine Takes on Old Rust Belt Stereotypes

Belt wants to move beyond sad stories of deindustrialized America, written by and for outsiders.
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Richey Piiparinen

"Rust Belt Chic" is a movement. That’s according to a new online magazine out of Cleveland, Belt, that aims to address the highly specific and often superficial attention paid to a wide swath of deindustrialized America.

Last year, Anne Trubek and Richey Piiparinen set out to publish Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, a collection of essays that explores life in Cleveland beyond the easy shorthand of manufacturing, ruin, and renewal. The project started out as a bit of a lark, but they knew they’d hit a nerve when they received 80 submissions in three weeks, “including ones that came to us from people who don’t consider themselves writers—politicians like Jim Rokakis and Kenyon College President Sean Decatur," says Trubek. They also received pieces from established writers such as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz and food writer and cook Michael Ruhlman.