Today we have a guest post by Sarah Oxley on how to get a career with a fashion magazine. Sarah is a writer from Leeds, who is currently working on an online marketing campaign on behalf of ASOS, online fashion retailer and trend setters.
With a BA in creative writing from Bradford, Sarah has been an avid fashion fan since she was young, and is very keen on the new Baroque fashion styles.
Becoming a Fashion Journalist
Breaking into the fashion world is tough. Whether you want to be a designer or model, it’s not an easy business. Breaking into the world of journalism is a tough nut, too. So combining the two as your career goal is quite a steep challenge, but a challenge worth taking on, if you’re truly passionate about fashion and writing.
To help you face this challenge, here are some tips on becoming a fashion journalist.
Hone Your Writing
You know you can write, but you’ll need to show the world that you can. A first step for this is starting a fashion blog. This way you can show off your style and passion for fashion, as well as your writing skills. Not every post needs to be a fashion article or review, some can simply be images you like or which inspire you, but remember to use this blog as a stepping stone for more opportunities. Personal fashion and writing style is a must feature on the blog, as that’s what your promoting through the site, but personal stories should be kept off this blog.
Your blog will need time to grow and gain a following. Spread the word about your blog to friends and family, and remember to use social networks like Twitter to announce when there’s been an update. Posts and updates must be done on a regular basis. Daily is ideal, but weekly works, too.
Aside from a blog, you can also hone your writing by starting a writing portfolio. Magazines are often looking for freelance writers; and although places like Vogue are unlikely to give you a shot at the beginning, there are some smaller, independent fashion magazines which will. Get in touch and see what you can find.
Don’t forget about your resources and opportunities at university. Cardiff has Gair rhydd, an award winning tabloid. Approach your students’ tabloid with your writing and see if you can be a part of it. Becoming an exec at this newspaper will give you experience and skills relevant for your later career.
Hone Your Knowledge
Your knowledge is your greatest asset when standing out in the crowd, so make sure it’s at its best. This means knowing the industry. Research the big magazines like Grazia, Glamour and Vogue, then look up the designers in these magazines, which you liked.
Take a look at smaller magazines, as well as online only resources, such as style news by ASOS, which focuses on styles from ASOS fans and the ASOS community. Join fashion networks and online communities, and be part of the conversation. You can learn from others, whilst sharing your own knowledge.
Although the emphasis of fashion is on the new, be aware of the old, too. A lot of collections and shows have been inspired by the past, so it’s important to know what has gone before and how this can be modernised. During this research, you’ll notice the impact of politics and society on fashion, as well as vice versa. A good general knowledge base is important for you to break into the world of fashion and for your journalistic career.
You’ll gain a lot of knowledge through internships, and these are expected of you if you want to get into fashion. The internship doesn’t have to be with a big name magazine (although if you can get it, great), as you can learn a lot from any magazine experience. Just like your tactic of distributing your writing, don’t dismiss the independent magazines, as smaller often means more responsibility.
Key to a successful internship is your attitude. You’ll likely to have stressful days, not so stressful days, big tasks and little tasks like making tea. No matter the task, make sure you do it with a smile. Attitudes are often what colleagues notice most, and a positive one gets you further than a negative or indifferent one.
Hone Your Network
The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” isn’t completely true, but it is partially true. If you have the knowledge and know the people, then you’re on the right track to success. You need a network of people in the fashion and magazine business to help you get started with your career, and the only way to get these people is to meet them.
Your first networking event will be intimidating, and your second or third might still have you on edge, but they’ll be worth it in the long run. Prepare yourself before going to an event by knowing who will be there, who you want to talk to, and what you could talk to them about. Include some industry and small talk topics.
Remember not to ask for favours straight away. These events are about meeting people and building relationships. If appropriate, then favours can come later.
Also use this opportunity to show off your fashion sense. Fashion journalists are expected to dress according to their fashion likes, so don’t turn up to an event in jeans or a suit. Dress professionally, but mix this up with some colourful accessories, which are on trend with the styles you admire. For example, you can pull off a white suit with a sky blue blouse, or a printed maxi dress with a smart blazer. Dress to impress every chance you get to show that you know the industry.
Post by Guest Blooger Sarah Oxley on behalf of ASOS, online fashion resource for style news, and retailer for maxi dresses, suits and blouses.