How To Get A Job In Fashion: Fashion Editor Edition

Liz Doupnik
How To Get A Job In Fashion: Fashion Editor Edition
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Today, one of my best friends is delivering one of her last presentations as a college student before venturing into that foreboding abyss otherwise known as adulthood. As much as it’s tempting to be trusting in fate (or something), let’s get real; scoring a job in this economy is tough, really tough. Guess what? It’s even harder when you’re trying to break into the fashion world.

With shows (that we all love here) like The Rachel Zoe Project, sometimes it’s easy to get a somewhat (ahem) skewed perspective on the industry at large and the people who run it. Sure, we all love design – that’s most likely what drew us all in at the beginning. (I personally remember watching runway shows with my older sister on the Style Network back in the 90s). But, what’s next? How do we go from flipping the pages of a magazine or clicking through websites to being the one actually writing the stories themselves?

Alas, being a Fashion Editor is alluring on the surface: there are photo shoots, designer interviews and events after work. But what happens in between all of that? What does it take to push the envelope of your vision with conviction while being articulate to others? Unlike some career paths like medicine or law, there isn’t a formula that equates success. Sure, there’s grad school, BFAs and internships, but even after that? At some point you’ll find yourself inevitably asking “Now what?”

That’s why we decided to round up some of the most influential fashion people in the biz to share their insider advice on penetrating what can sometimes feel like an iron wall. Click through the slideshow to see just what these experts have to suggest if you’re considering becoming an editor.

Have a question? Be sure to post it in the comment section below or register as a user and ask in our forum!

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Derek Blasberg, Editor-At-Large, Harper's Bazaar, V and V Man.

Biggest tip to becoming a fashion editor?

"Intern, intern, intern. And be nice!"

Photo: LEANDRO JUSTEN/PatrickMcMullan.com/Sipa USA/Leandro Justen/McMullan/Sipa USA

Andrea Lavinthal, Style Director, People.com

Biggest tip to becoming a fashion editor?

"Never
limit yourself to doing just one thing. Meaning if you're in print,
familiarize yourself with web and vice versa. It strengthens your skills
as a journalist and makes you a more desirable candidate. Also, get
involved in as many social media platforms as possible, especially
Twitter. It's the absolute best way to communicate with people in your
industry. And last, if you're ever feeling 'over it' or jaded by all the
amazing opportunities in the style industry, it's probably time to move
onto something else."

Amy Odell, Editor at BuzzFeed, previously Fashion Editor at NYMag's The Cut

What to avoid when becoming a fashion editor?

"Don't have an attitude or act entitled. You should never act as though you're above a task.
You simply won't start out writing Marc Jacobs profiles -- the people
who do that work hard for years and years to get there and you have to
respect that. Remember, if a superior asks you to pick up something
from another office or transcribe a tape, you'll just piss them off
you put it off or say no. (I would also add if ALL you're doing is
picking up coffee and sushi orders and getting yelled at, quit because
that's just inhumane)."

Colleen Nika, Fashion Editor, Rolling Stone 

Biggest tip to becoming a fashion editor?

"For a fashion writer interested in doing more than writing
snappy coverage, I think it's important to know what you love and how to
turn that into a unique asset for yourself. I was a music girl who
loved fashion and from day one, I approached writing about one with the
other factor in mind. Since then, I've noticed how ubiquitous that
mindset has become in both branding and editorial alike, so I guess I
wasn't crazy! There's a million fashion writers, editors and bloggers -
how will you stand out? You have to let the finer distinctions of your
passion(s) be your compass."

Simone Oliver, Online Fashion Editor, The New York Times

Biggest tip to becoming a fashion editor?

"Be a team player. No matter how smart, creative and hard-working you
are, to be an editor is to work with others to produce something that
best represents your publication and would be most informative for your readers. So many of the best
photo shoots, newspaper sections or magazine issues are the result of
collaborations. Don't overlook how much of a resource a groupthink can be.
When working in an editorial environment, ideas and responsibilities
are meant to be shared."

Natalie Rotman, Fashion Expert, The Associated Press

Biggest misconception about becoming a fashion editor?

"Fact: Everyone loves fashion. That doesn't make you an expert. Many bloggers think that because they like fashion, that makes them an editor. Oh contraire. Just like any professional craft you need to learn it. Pay your dues and they will pay you back tenfold."

Kate Hogan, Style News Editor, People.com

What to avoid when trying to become a fashion editor?

"My
mom always told me that you meet the same people on the way up as you
do on the way down. If you're working for an editor that you don't
particularly click with, remind yourself of the opportunity you have,
the places you want to go and the resumé you're building — and just keep
plugging away. The fashion industry can be a surprisingly small place
and working at the assistant level can be really tough at times,
so giving attitude to your superiors (or your peers) isn't going to get
you
anywhere."

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