“So… what do you do, exactly?”
As a fashion sub-editor, this is one question I get asked A LOT and you’re probably reading this because you’re curious too.
If you aspire to be a fashion writer, you might already know a thing or two about editorial teams. From the social media editor to the product copywriter, everyone in the department has a role to play in the smooth operating of a fashion business.
Now, let me tell you what the sub-editor, a role often unheard of, is.
As a sub-editor, I proof-read content across all the media created by the teams in my business. This includes the product copy, videos or images that fall under the media category. This also includes overseeing fashion features, lookbooks and even Instagram captions.
Did you receive an email from your favourite high-street store this morning? Or tapped a notification that popped up from a shopping site informing you of an upcoming sale? Well, this is also the kind of content a fashion sub-editor is in charge of writing, updating or double-checking.
We conduct thorough checks to make sure everything is perfect before the customer sees it.
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
Born and raised in France, I studied Modern Languages in Paris. I have always been interested in writing and pursuing a career in the fashion industry, which led me to intern as an editorial assistant and work as a freelance writer during my degree.
A few years after I moved to London, I started to work as a product sub-editor at MATCHESFASHION. At first, I reviewed product copy and conducted audits to keep the luxury e-commerce platform up-to-date. I then moved to the Brand & Content department, where my current role is focused on the French editorial perspective of our stories (formerly known as The Style Report).
I work daily with an external translation agency, reviewing copy translated from English to French before it goes live to our audience across the French channel.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Every day starts with Zoom meetings with production, design, email and subs teams, where everyone explains which assets they’re working on and discusses deadlines.
Then, it’s reading, writing, translating and more reading! For me, that means I’m working across everything. From subbing translated features from our agency to approving a press release ahead of a launch or a special campaign.
My typical day involves opening and closing a multitude of spreadsheets covering social media assets, email messaging or push notifications. Going through spreadsheets is not the sexiest part of the job (don’t tell anyone I said that), but it’s necessary. Also, the satisfaction of seeing a great interview or a wonderful campaign go live is always worth it.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
I hate letting a typo slip through or spotting a technical issue after giving a piece the green light! When you’re part of a sub’s team, you spend hours scrutinising long interviews or campaign information, so it can be quite frustrating when you miss errors. But hey, to err is human, right?
On the bright side, my role at MATCHESFASHION allows me to work on brilliant fashion campaigns, read and shape wonderful features before anyone else sees them and preview exclusive videos whilst being surrounded by a talented team of tastemakers and producers. That’s definitely the best part.
WHAT TRAITS ARE NECESSARY TO SUCCEED AS AS FASHION SUB-EDITOR?
First, a keen eye for detail is a big must. Remember that your gaze is the last step before publication.
As a fashion sub-editor, expect back-and-forth emails and testing sessions with different teams across the business to make sure copies are not only flawless but also readable across all devices (a phone, a tablet, on the app or on a laptop). Arm yourself with plenty of patience for that – you’ll need it.
You might also be expected to use CMS, CRM and data-driven platforms to make sure the content produced is relevant and pumping revenue back into the business.
Within a constantly evolving industry, this role is a niche, yet decisive position where you oversee and produce innovative and exciting content. All in all, as a fashion sub-editor, you can make magic happen behind the scenes!
Words by Llivane Lawson