THE BEST CAREER ADVICE (EVER) FROM FASHION JOURNALISTS
Is it just me, or do you also find yourself making more resolutions in the lead up to September, than on December 31st? Maybe this time of year means a new school year, or the end of an amazing summer internship, or just a healthy reminder that 2016 is more than half-over, and you still haven't achieved your goal of becoming Anna Wintour's right-hand/minion/heir-apparent. Whatever it is, we know the feeling of revival that comes with the dawn of fall, and we're here to help make your dreams become a reality. So many of our readers tell us that they want to work in magazines as journalists and editors. But as social media has given us a closer look at the lives led by style gurus at top publications, the competition to work as a fashion writer has become increasingly tough. It's an evolving industry and landing your dream job requires work ethic, creativity, networking skills, and so much more. But don't take our word for it (although, you should - we know what we're talking about!), why not hear from some of the best and brightest that the industry has to offer? We collected the sage wisdom of 6 #girlbosses making it happen at your favourite glossies and digital tomes, from Harper's Bazaar, to Glamour, to Refinery29, and so many others. Consider this a masterclass in the world of fashion journalism.
Keep an Open Mind
Even if you never know where you will find your dream job, or even what department it will be in. Kristie Dash, formerly Allure's Digital Beauty Editor and former assistant to Eva Chen before that, says that she didn't always know what she wanted to do, but internships played a role in helping her find her niche.
"Writing was my strength in school and I definitely cared about fashion and beauty, but growing up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, I didn’t know what it meant to work in the industry or that it was even an option for me," she told us. "It wasn’t until I kind of randomly fell into an internship at Harper’s Bazaar that I realized I could actually contribute to the magazines I always held in such high regard. From there, I did a ton of internships in a bunch of different fields to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, but my beauty internships at Teen Vogue and Vogue solidified the fact that I wanted to be a beauty editor. I’ll be forever grateful for those experiences."
Portfolio = Proof
Being a fashion journalist is about taste and style, but even moreso, you need to be a passionate and talented writer. Media brands are looking for candidates who can prove their ability to craft a captivating sentence and Alyssa Coscarelli, Fashion Market Editor at Refinery29, says that the best way to prove this is with a portfolio of existing published work. "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," she explained. "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."
Make Good Relationships
The Devil Wears Prada may give the impression that fashion is a dog eat dog world, but according to British fashion darling andSunday Times Fashion Features Editor Pandora Sykes, patience is more important than your quest for supreme power (seriously, chill). "Kindness and generosity of spirit is key," Pandora told us. "Be patient, tomorrow is a new day." Lauren Chan, Associate Fashion Writer at Glamour, adds: "At Glamour’s Women Of The Year Awards in 2015, Iman said, 'Find your tribe. Collect them; connect with them, because there's strength in numbers.' And that stuck with me. One thing I learned organically was to never compare yourself to others, there's a piece of the pie for everyone."
Fact: success doesn't happen overnight. You have to earn it and work your way up the editorial ladder. Be willing to overcome challenges and go the extra mile, but also be true to who you are and don't compromise your values. "There’s nothing that I would change about how I went about my career—I think everything happened for a reason," says Chrissy Rutherford, Senior Digital Editor at Harper's Bazaar. "I had a dream, and I stuck with it, and never settled even when things were kind of tough. I knew that I would eventually find my footing."
When you're young, you don't have a mortgage to worry about or a family to feed - now is the time to take risks with your career. Be willing to adapt or try something new to serve a purpose, fill a niche, and stand out. "Say yes to everything, especially at the beginning stages of your career, and find ways to always make yourself a valuable employee," says Kristie. "Never settle. Doing these things forces you to grow and constantly reinvent yourself, both of which are very important in this ever-changing industry. Plus, you’ll be a more well-rounded, dynamic person in general."
It's important to be proud of your accomplishments, but it's also necessary to stay aware of the world around you and your place within it. Alyssa adds: "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."