How to be: a fashion magazine editor
From left to right: The author at 21, 26 and 32 years old.
Sneaking into your first fashion show, working on a photoshoot or seeing your first signature – it’s the reward for hours spent returning samples or transcribing drunken 4-hour conversations that pass for interviews, during a fashion internship. Of course, you could also miss your first fashion show, lose clothing samples and get brutally fired.
In this new series, we take a look at the jobs that have allowed us and our people to be where we are, whether they are near the top or in an emerging phase of our careers. First up, our Global Editorial Director, Jack, shares the three jobs that set him on the path to becoming a writer and editor.
How do you become a writer and fashion editor? It was the question as I was immersed in TheFashionSpot as a teenager, watching grainy images of real editors coming out of shows and reading low-res scans of their articles. A little research indicated that going to fashion school might be the key, so I applied for the BA in Fashion Communication at Central St Martins. Soon after acceptance, however, my tutors informed me that most of the teaching would be done by us, the students; we would have to seek knowledge, rather than spoon feeding it. Fortunately for them, the issue of tuition fees had not yet been raised in 2007.
So I set out to do a bunch of internships, then real jobs, while studying – to get some of the valuable knowledge that only experience can give.
My first real internship was with 10 Magazine, the now 20-year-old style title founded by Sophia Neophitou. Before I walked into doors 10, I thought I knew what it was like to work in a fashion magazine – mostly wearing black and maybe smoking. These are things I had learned during a work experience at Vogue Paris, which mostly involved the above, as well as huge samples across Paris in the scorching July weather. Which was great, obviously, but quickly fooled me from the idea that I was interested in working for a stylist. More on that later.
When I was 10, I was quickly asked to do blogging, which I loved from the first moment I was asked to write on a topic related to fashion (this could also be related to Mariah Carey). 10 had a small team of around 6 people including me and I quickly moved on to handling the aforementioned samples, writing the magazine, buying coffees, and writing – whatever I wanted so badly that it was fashion. I stayed at 10 for two years – they finally gave me my first job, which I’m grateful for.
My biggest takeaway was that you should love the people you work with – otherwise misery is going to work every day. I wouldn’t have been in a basement for so long if I hadn’t been inspired by the team and their dedication to pushing every idea as far as possible. I also loved working in a small team, with minimal hierarchy and a lot of involvement.
Between my work at 10 years old, which I loved, I assisted several stylists, which I liked but was not very good at. I really wanted to work with clothes, but I quickly realized that without an eye for detail or an appetite for pain, you just weren’t going to get it done.
It is really physical work; the hours are long, it’s stressful and you really, really have to take care of each item of clothing. I’m not a particularly lazy person, but while I love to write, I don’t care about socks after 8 p.m. This is not to downplay the many stylists and fashion editors I work with. They’ve made a lot more money than me, have a maniacal eye for the little things and also a flair for creative direction. They are such an integral part of the modern fashion industry. I just suck. I also thought that being a writer would be a fast track to becoming an editor – now all IECs are stylists! It was therefore an error in judgment.
Fashion week in 2007. I remember cutting this photo out of a magazine. Photo by Michel Dufour / WireImage.
The job that I cracked the most was working for a photographer. There was a deep macho vibe to this particular work and a general air of masochism. I thought, for a minute, that I could be a great artist, but very quickly I missed the team spirit of working in a magazine. The long hours spent alone sorting through the negatives quickly made me lonely and depressed. And I was just bad at holding the lights. I once thought I had lost the value of a shoot of negatives by putting them on the wrong courier and couldn’t sleep for a week.
By this point (I was 21) I had explored some of the areas of the industry that interested me and worked in a pub for 4 years – perhaps the most valuable experience of all. I assumed, surprisingly correctly, that the thing that made me want to wake up in the morning was collaboration – whether doing an interview, attending an introductory meeting, or scheduling a month. of content.
I’ve been with iD for three and a half years – first as Editorial Director for the United States, and now as Global Editorial Director. iD has the print publication, sites in 8 languages, a host of social media accounts and pre-pandemic events. One day I’ll be talking to our teams in UK and US about editorial ideas, the next the Italian office is going to need edited business collaborations – and there’s the day-to-day communication work throughout the company, as well as, occasionally, writing.
iD is never boring. The trip here either. If I had a tip it would be to try as many jobs as possible to figure out what you want to do. The sooner the better – later in your career it is much harder to change paths. It was only by failing and doing things I wasn’t so good at that I figured out what I wanted to do. In short, don’t be afraid to fail! And try everything.