Interview: Alyssa Coscarelli, Refinery29

Budding fashion editors, take notes.


If you're compelled by the ever changing landscape of fashion journalism, then Alyssa Coscarelli is a talking point.  As Fashion Market Editor for digital tome Refinery29, her job is all about covering the fashion beat in its many forms and making it digestible for millions of millennial readers.  Alyssa landed her gig with R29 right out of college in 2014 and has been climbing the editorial ladder ever since (next stop, world domination?)  With 25,000 followers of her own, she is also something of an Instagram fixture, serving up a perfect grid of savvy fashion show shots, brunch snaps, and enviable OOTDs that make you fall in love with brands you haven't even heard of before.  Couturesque caught up with Alyssa this spring for a quick fire round of questions about her career wisdom, and she shared some refreshing insights that you'll probably want to remember.


Tia: What is one word that captures what you're doing right now?
Hustlin'.

Tia: What are you working on ATM?
I'm working on a mix of festival, spring, summer/travel, and evergreen (meaning relevant year round) fashion stories for Refinery29 that I know our readers will find super useful.

Tia: Tell us a little bit about your role as Fashion Market Editor for Refinery29.
I write the product-driven stories you see on Refinery29, and cover all womenswear and accessories. I do trend roundups, outfit collages, trend pieces, fashion month coverage, personal essays, and more. My job overall is to keep the pulse on trends, brands, and the fashion industry as a whole so that our readers don't have to!  I write a few stories per day for the website in addition to going to brand showrooms and runway shows to keep tabs on what's coming down the pipeline and forecast the trends that I think our fans will care about and like. I also run our @r29fashion Instagram account on the side as my (not-so) little passion project.



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Tia: How did you get involved in the fashion industry?
I was interested in fashion from a young age. I used to change my own outfits a million times per day before I was even 5 years old. Down the line, I attended a fashion college here in NYC called LIM College, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with my passion for fashion until I started interning at Refinery29 a few years ago and felt inspired to start writing and sharing my fashion perspective with an audience. 

Tia: You pretty much nabbed an editorial position at R29 right out of college, right?  What are your tips for fashion students – or young people interested in the industry – who are hoping to do the same?
Get a writing portfolio going in college (or even before then). I wrote constantly for my college's blogs and magazines or just for myself.  Not only will you get a ton of writing practice under your belt, but you'll also graduate with examples of your writing, taste-level, and perspective that can go a long way when applying for an editorial internship or entry-level position. People want to see that you've got experience and have started developing your writing voice — it'll separate you from the crowd. Especially these days when there are so many blogs and outlets for writing, I can't stress enough the importance of getting your name published and getting yourself out there on the Internet in a positive way, both through writing and social media platforms. I feel that those two things (my writing experience and my social media presence) had a lot to do with my accomplishments

Tia: So what does an average day look like for you now?
My days usually go like this: Breakfast with a brand, PR gal, or my best friend Lauren, stop by a brand preview or showroom (or 2 or 3!), Uber to the office, check emails, write stories, do research, meet with my team members and other teams at the company, attend after-work industry events, and maybe fit in a workout or some time with my friends or boyfriend after that.

Tia: What is something about working in fashion that you wish someone had told you when you started out?
We're not saving lives. Yes, fashion is wildly important to me and I live and breathe it every day, but at the end of the day, it's just fashion. Sometimes we in the fashion industry need to take ourselves and our jobs just slightly less seriously.
 
Tia: What is the most challenging part of your job and how do you deal with it?
The most challenging part of my job is the sheer volume of stories that we produce. The fashion team can produce anywhere from 10-20 stories each and every day, so it's super fast-paced and we're constantly challenged to meet tight deadlines, come up with fresh ideas, and turn a lot of work around in not a lot of time. It's kind of crazy, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We love what we do and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Tia: Where do you get inspiration for new stories?
Instagram, indie publications and art magazines, traveling, talking to my friends about what they want to see, my own life/shopping experiences, runway shows, brand showroom visits, meetings with my teammates, Tumblr, other women's media websites, books, pop culture, the list goes on and on...

Tia: What motivates you?
I'm a perfectionist and expect the most from myself. I also really believe in the mission of the company where I work and respect the people I work with and report to, so that drives me to do my best work.

Tia: You also keep up a significant presence on social media, particularly Instagram.  What do you enjoy about it and what are your tips for someone looking to grow their digital presence?
I just love taking photos of my everyday life. I'm addicted to doing it. You can't take me to dinner without having me wander off to take a photo of a corner of the restaurant. I think inspiration is everywhere and I enjoy capturing it as a hobby and as a way to share my creative perspective with the world. If you're looking to grow your digital presence, be consistent, establish a brand and a point of view for yourself, and stay true to it. The rest will follow.



Keep up with Alyssa on Instagram, then get the scoop on 23 year old Kristie Dash (a.k.a Allure's Digital Beauty Editor).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WHO: Tia, Editor in Chief at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Toronto
OBSESSED WITH: 70s style Aviators
Listening to: Whole Again - Play (#tb)
CAN BE FOUND AT: @tia.elisabeth

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

xo,
Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief