So close! So Personal! You’ll almost feel like you’re in bed with ‘The Editors’ (Hence the silk sheets)
Tilly Macalister-Smith – Fashion Writer, Editor and Digital Consultant
Maya Zepinic – Freelance Stylist and Fashion Editor
Lucy Walker – Fashion Editor at Glamour Magazine
Jenny Kennedy – Fashion Editor at ES Magazine
Jane McFarland – Fashion Features Editor at Matches Fashion
MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES OF A FASHION EDITOR
Tilly (Host): Give us a brief line about what your main responsibilities are?
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): I consult for a variety of magazines and clients.
Lucy (Glamour): I style main fashion stories, celebrity covers, portraits and edit the fashion features section of Glamour Magazine.
Jenny (ES Magazine): I direct and style cover shoots, celebrities and main fashion.
Jane (Matches Fashion): I’m a little bit different being that I’m on the words side of things. I do a lot of the designer, celebrity and influence interviews and profiles. What’s interesting at Matches is that digital is a huge focus for us but we also have our print magazine which comes out 4 times a year.
FASHION MONTH – NEW YORK, LONDON, MILAN AND PARIS
Tilly (Host): How does your typical day-to-day vary?
Jane (Matches Fashion): I’m leaving for Paris on Tuesday for Paris Fashion Week.
Tilly (Host): What happens when you go to Paris for work?
Jane (Matches Fashion): I go to the shows, take in the new trends, have a lot of discussions with our buying team about what they’re excited about. We talk about what the street style girls are wearing.
I will also do a lot of interviews with designers. For example, Jacquemus is a new brand for us and we’re really excited about his PFW show. I’m interviewing with him after the show. I’ll also be going on a lot of dinners, which is very important during fashion week (laughs).
Separately, I’m doing an interview with Erdem so I’m preparing for that – reading up on all the interviews he has done previously and co-ordinating with his team.
Tilly (Host): When you’re doing a interview with a designer do you have to think about where it is going to live? For example is you mind busy with questions like: I need to get images for social media, quotes for twitter, will this go on the website, do you consider the print magazine.
Jane (Matches Fashion): That’s something that’s really changed in terms of fashion features. So much more business is done on mobile now, rather than desktop. So we have to think, is a long form read really what people want to scroll through on their mobile.
800 word articles may not necessarily translate well on mobile. So my mindset is always thinking about capturing videos, saving some collateral exclusive information for social media.
“When working on a 360 platform, it’s all about making
content engaging for the reader”
Tilly (Host): Jenny, tell us about your day-to-day with particular emphasis on London Fashion Week.
Jenny (ES Magazine): During LFW week the whole team are out at every show. That’s 9am – 9pm.
Tilly (Host): How many shows have you already done this fashion week?
Jenny (ES Magazine): I’d say about 40 shows. But it feels like more. It’s pretty hectic in the office, as we have our Menswear issue coming up – I style Mens too.
We have just confirmed a shoot for Monday morning and it’s Friday afternoon, so I still have to secure a photographer, location and we do all our production ourselves. There’s lots and lots of things going on and it’s quite stressful.
SPOTTING TRENDS AND CREATING STORIES
Tilly (Host): When you’re at the shows how do you remember all the looks you’ve seen and are you already thinking about how you want to shoot them for upcoming issues of the magazine?
Jenny (ES Magazine): I take pictures and do some notes on my phone too. Sometimes, I may spot a very special piece and in my mind, I’m already thinking about building a shoot around that look.
Tilly (Host): Lucy, how do you recognise trends during Fashion Week?
Lucy (Glamour): I’m working out the trends in a different way this season. Whereby, I have this running list of everything from colour combinations to embellishment and every time I spot something at a show I’m jotting it down.
What’s great now is that we have Vogue Runway on our phones, so at the end of the day, I always go through everything I’ve seen – taking a closer look at accessories and details and searching for things that I may have missed. It helps to read the reviews too.
Tilly (Host): What trends have you started spotting already? Are you seeing specific colour stories or wider themes?
Lucy (Glamour): What was nice in New York was that there was a sense of ‘Americanism’ coming through in the clothing. That’s clearly because of everything that’s going on in the States right now. And I felt incredibly inspired by the idea of what it means to be American, so for me, that’s a good starting point for a story.
Or the oversized suiting that we saw at Michael Kors. Immediately I thought of doing a Wall Street story or something along those lines. When you’re sat at these shows, you get ideas all the time. I keep potential story ideas on my phone and we’re constantly fighting (figuratively) with our Fashion Editors to run these stories in the magazine.
Tilly (Host): Maybe you can extend on that. Once you’ve got an idea, how do you map that out to show your Fashion Director, in the hopes that it gets signed off? Are you already pitching models options and location choices?
How do you go from an idea in your phone to a shoot on the cover of a magazine?
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): My job as a Fashion Editor is to communicate an idea to my Fashion Director. But not just that, we need to communicate to a photographer, a model, the hair and make-up team. It’s a collaborative effort.
As a Fashion Editor, your job is not to look at something that’s already been on the runway, take it and put it in a magazine. You have to show the world your interpretation and inspirations for that trend or that mood.
It can be something so simple. You can be inspired by how a model wore something, the way they walked, the attitude of the garment. It doesn’t always come from the most obvious place.
THE REAL BUSINESS OF FASHION (MAGAZINES)
Tilly (Host): Commercially, what are the challenges you face because magazines are supported by brands and advertisers. How much consideration do yo have to pay to that when you’re connecting these ideas?
Does your Fashion Director sometimes approach you with the brands that you contractually have to feature that season and how do you work with situations like that?
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): Magazines have always had restrictions based on advertising commitments, that’s just how they’ve been run. Almost being forced to incorporate a brand into my story can be a creative exercise – A good challenge.
Lucy (Glamour): Sometimes the brand we’re ‘contracted’ to feature may not have any pieces that fit the theme of the shoot. In situations like that, layering is a great tactic. A white collar layered underneath and sticking out of a floral dress (laughs).
Jenny (ES Magazine): Twice a year we have big shopping pages and we fit in all the brands we contractually need to feature in that way. That’s always quite good.
THE CHANGES IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A FASHION EDITOR
Tilly (Host): Where do you think the industry is changing the most?
3 of us on the panel worked at Vogue about 10 years ago and at that point, there were 3-4 shoots per an issue, once a month. It was quite a tight process but now there is endless amounts of information needed to be produced for the website and social, shopping galleries, picture galleries, trend stories and more.
How have your roles changed and expand and how have your expertise changed? Do we all have to be social media experts now?
Jane (Matches Fashion): YES!
I actually feel like the best piece of advice I can give the audience is ‘Do not be good at just one thing!’ Nowadays we are expected to be savvy in a lot of things, in terms of digital, print and social. The role of a Fashion Editor has changed, it incorporates everything now.
“Think about how you’re engaging with content and that’s a big clue
into how others will engage with content too”
Think about what you want to see when you’re looking online or in magazine. Adapt and take risks, be flexible and appreciate that the industry is changing so you need to be one step ahead.
Lucy (Glamour): Following on from what Jane just said there. We’ll shoot a story at Glamour and we’ll often have someone doing the video content which will go online, we’ll then run the story online with a shopping gallery of high street products attached to it, we’ll then social the shoot and that can go on Twitter and Instagram. We can’t justify spending a fortune on a shoot if it’s just for the purpose of print. It’s got to be more richer and textured. It needs to live on all platforms.
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): For me, gone are the days when we used to go on a shoot and do 6-8 shots a day and that was the fashion story. Now, when I’m doing an editorial or an ad campaign we have to cram in a model interview, you have to do the video, you have to do the behind-the-scenes, you’ll have someone on the side also doing still-life imagery.
It’s a lot more content to produce because peoples attitudes are so ‘I’ve seen it already, swipe’. We have to constantly come up with ways to engage the audience.
Tilly (Host): So as a Fashion Editor, does that responsibility fall onto you? Do you all feel like you’re now Jacks of all trades?
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): You have to learn to multi-task and you have to learn to adapt to different environments instantly.
THE PATHS TO SUCCESS IN FASHION
Tilly (Host): Because of the variety and the depth of the industry. The paths in are very varied now too. Tell us a little bit about your journeys and how you got to where you are now.
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): I stumbled into styling actually. I wanted to be a fashion designer and I did a fashion degree in Sydney in Womenswear. Halfway through my degree, I interned at Australian Vogue and learnt about this thing called a ‘stylist’. I thought “That sounds a lot more fun than sewing until 3 o’clock in the morning”.
“Having a Fashion Design background, helps me understand clothing,
the minds of the designers and fitting models.
My degree came in very valuable even though I didn’t end up becoming a designer”
I was at Vogue for 5 years, moved onto Porter Magazine for a year and a half and now I’ve been freelance for 2 years.
Lucy (Glamour): Interning is still a way that people are getting into the industry. We’ve certainly had interns at Glamour that have turned into assistants, it’s still very much an important way to get that experience and exposure.
Tilly (Host): Is that where you started?
Lucy (Glamour): Yes. My first internship was at Pop, then I moved to Glamour and I moved all over the place. But what made me stand out in the early days was that I was very quick at returning clothes back to press offices and brand (laughs). It was always a joy on the tubes, rolling around suitcases the size of two short, fat men.
You just have to be incredibly willing to be hard woking and get your hands dirty. It’s long hours but it’s also a fantastic job.
Jenny (ES Magazine): I studied Fashion Marketing at the University of Newcastle. It was a sandwich course so I moved down to London for that middle year and took on internships. I started at Wonderland and I was a human courier, running around with all the returns. I freelanced a lot of helped a lot of the big stylists and then later on I started at ES Magazine as the Fashion Assistant and working my way up.
Jane (ES Magazine): I studied Law and French, so my degree has gone to no use other than booking restaurants in France. I graduated and came to London, went to Glastonbury and my friend convinced me to stay with her for a bit because my plan was to move back to Ireland.
Whilst I was in London, I found an internship at a PR agency and was told that PR was a great way to meet loads of editors. So I did that, unpaid, and it was very hard work. Then I was lucky enough to meet Jess Wood, who at the time was the Fashion Features Editor at Marie Claire Magazine. She asked if I wanted to be at Marie Claire for 4 weeks and ended up staying for 9 months – which can always be the case.
After a year at Marie Claire, I worked at The Times for 4 years on the fashion features desk. That process really refined my writing because of the amount of copy you have to churn out on a daily basis. It was a great job and really reactive. If something happened that morning, you could write about it and it would be in the paper that evening.
THE BEAUTY AND HARSH REALITIES OF THE INDUSTRY
Tilly (Host): What has been your most glamorous and un-glamorous fashion moments so far?
Maya (Freelance Fashion Editor): A Kate Moss shoot is always glamorous. A Naomi shoot is always glamorous. I’ve got to meet incredible people, I’ve got to work with incredible people and I’ve travelled to some amazing places.
But that too can have its down sides. When it’s 3am and you’re lugging trunks down some street in a foreign country, with a man that speaks no English, a donkey and a cart.