A Bargain Journal That Beats Moleskine Paper


Get your hard-earned cash ready, but it won’t take much of it to buy this Swinton journal. The medium-sized one I bought today beats the pants off Moleskine paper and the photo proves it.

The Chinese paper is heavier than Moleskine and feels lightly coated. No feathering and only the Rohrer & Klingner produced very mild bleed-through. No show-through or bleed-through with the other inks. Even the notorious Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear performed well. Without filling the journal, I won’t know if other pages will perform similarly, but they feel the same. So I am hopeful.

The binding is stitched and the journal I purchased lays flat easily. It has a slim white ribbon bookmark. I like the width of it as it does not interfere with writing like wide ribbons can.

There are four sizes including small, slim, medium, and large. The medium is 4.7″ x 6.6″ and comes in a variety of covers and closures with a pocket in the back. Line spacing is 6 mm, the same as Moleskine, and it has 160 pages lined on both sides. The paper color is identical to Moleskine, but the lines might be slightly more gray though not darker than Moleskine.

I bought my Fashion Journal in an Office Depot and it appears that Swinton Avenue Trading Ltd. is an exclusive supplier though the journals are not available online. They were displayed in an exclusive kiosk next to the pen and pencils. It was fully stocked so this might be a new product, and if so, could wind up on the website in future.

The label is easily removed leaving a clean back cover.

Now here is another reason to give these journals a try. The small and the slim are $3.99, the medium is $5.99 and the large is $7.99. I like the size of the slim very much, but my handwriting is too large for it. The medium comes with either no closure, an elastic band, or a flap with a concealed magnet. I opted for the latter to protect the pages when traveling in my handbag.

My standards are high if my expectations are low and finding an inexpensive product that takes so well to fountain pen ink was a real surprise. The Fashion Journal from Swinton certainly made my day. Yeah, I’m easy.

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  1. Sounds like just the journal for me! I’ll be keeping an eye out for these in the future.

    • It would be helpful to know if anyone else has such good results so please post feedback when you can. Thanks.

  2. Wow, this looks really nice. I refrain from Moleskine because of the price, so usually just end up using composition books for journals or flip notebooks for various projects. However, I’m always on the lookout for new and decent priced journals. Thanks for posting about this.

    • Glad to help in the search for decent paper. Comp books have their place, but for something a bit more upscale, this one will do.

  3. Thanks for this! I’m always looking for FP friendly bargain journals. Did they have any that are maybe a touch more neutral or masculine in color?

    • Yes, there were black covers in the medium size and a few other single-colored covers in the large size. A few of the smaller ones had brown and white designs that were more gender neutral. I would love to get some feedback on the paper if you purchase one. Hopefully, my journal is representative of the entire line and not just the medium.

  4. I have seen these in my local Office Depot but did not try them because I expected them to have very poor quality paper, but now I will give one a try. Also, I have read that the Gibson line called Markings, which is found in Walgreen’s and Target, can also be good. Have you had experience with Markings?

    • You reminded me that I have a Markings notebook, but never reviewed it. I just tested seven fountain pens, all to good results. The cover of the notebook is a Monet painting and the paper has zero bleed-through or show-through. One side is lined and the other blank for drawing. Good quality indeed.

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