I started at TEEN VOGUE in July of 2004-almost exactly eight years ago. It's crazy how the time has flown by. The magazine was only a year old when I came on board as Fashion News Editor, so I really got to be a part of helping it find its voice and helping to shape it into what it is today. As the magazine has grown into a brand, my role has evolved too. I worked closely on the TEEN VOGUE Handbook and I help strategize for events like Fashion University. There are so many "extracurriculars" outside the scope of the magazine and website, which keeps the job exciting. I'm now the Senior Fashion News Director. I feel lucky to be a part of such a great team. Amy Astley is an incredible editor and mentor.
Where did you go to school, what was your major, and how has it helped you in your career?
I went to Barnard College, Columbia University, where I majored in English Literature and minored in Art History. There is no one prescribed course of study to becoming a fashion journalist, but I think both of those concentrations help develop a verbal and visual library, which is extremely valuable as an editor. It's so important to have a base that extends beyond magazines and blogs. To this day, I'm always trying to broaden my scope, whether it's by watching a new film or sitting in on a Rem Koolhaas lecture or traveling and taking in different cultures. College is a great starting point, but the learning process never stops.
The other major component of my education was interning. Because I went to school in New York City, I was able to work year round. I interned first at W Magazine and Women's Wear Daily, and then at Elle. By the time I graduated, I had three years of experience in the industry. That was a huge asset, and equally as valuable as anything I learned in a classroom. I'm a big believer in hands-on experience!
What is your writing process like? Where do you draw inspiration or topics for the pieces you write?
I draw inspiration from everything around me, but the shows are a big starting point. I'm looking not just for trends, but for who the new faces are, what's going on behind-the-scenes, etc. Pop culture is another point of reference. Ideas also come directly from designers and publicists (which is why it's so important to network and cultivate relationships within the industry), they come from the street-they even come from the TEEN VOGUE readers. We're lucky to have such a loyal and impassioned fan base, and I'm always looking for their feedback and wanting to hear what's on their minds.
Being an editor is seen as a very glamorous job, what is the most exciting aspect of working as an editor at TEEN VOGUE?
First and foremost, being an editor requires passion, drive, and hard work. We're creating a glamorous product, but there's a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into it. When I go to Paris for fashion week, for example, I'm running from show to appointment to show from 9am straight through to 9pm. There is nothing leisurely about it. It's incredibly inspiring, but it's work. I think that sometimes that gets lost in translation.
As far as the most exciting aspect of my job, I would say it's the people I work with: the editors, designers, and industry insiders. To be a part of a creative process with so many talented people is an incredible gift. I also love the process of discovery. The journalist in me always wants to be the first to spot a new designer or break a story.
Despite its glamorous surface, the job obviously requires a lot of hard work, as you said. What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Predicting where the industry is going and how to evolve as a response to that. It's an exciting time to be in publishing because so much is changing right now in terms of how news is processed and consumed. You have to know how to adapt.
How would you describe your personal style or signature look?
My signature silhouette is a nipped-waist skirt or dress. No pants for me!
Editorial positions are obviously very coveted, and I've read countless Fashion U. applications saying they want to go into fashion journalism. What advice would you give to girls who want to be a fashion news editor?
Read every fashion magazine you can get your hands on and familiarize yourself with the industry players-photographers, stylists, models, and writers. Getting to know other voices can help you to find your own. Stay on top of the news via websites and blogs. Write for your school paper or start a blog. If your school doesn't have a fashion-related column, start one. It's a great way to develop and hone your skills-practice makes perfect! And, if you're in college, intern, intern, intern. There's no better way to learn the ropes and get your foot in the door. Entry-level positions at magazines are extremely competitive so cultivating relationships as an intern can really give you a leg up.
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