How to become a fashion editor


People are always asking me how I became a fashion editor and the truth is, it was so long ago I cannae remember! I jest but believe me, when I was starting out, the competition for styling and fashion editor jobs was nothing compared to what it is now. When people watch the Devil Wears Prada or Ugly Betty I don’t know what happens but they become completely deluded that being a fashion editor is about strutting the streets in high heels, swingy ponytails and Phillip Lim jackets (oh wait, it is if you work at Teen Vogue).

The reality is rather different. If you live for fashion the job is certainly fun, creative and varied but make no mistake, it’s flipping hard work as well. And the hardest part is getting that Miu Miu-shod foot in the door. So for all you wannabe Emanuelle Alts out there, here’s my fool-proof guide to beating the competition.

Work for free
Unfair though it is, if you want a job in any creative industry – film, TV, magazines, fashion – you have to be prepared to work for nothing. Why? Because if you don’t there’s always some eager beaver behind you who will happily fill your shoes. Hell, things are so crazy now that even getting a work experience placement or an internship is like applying for a paid job.

Be profesisonal
Before you’ve even set foot in the Vogue/Dazed/Heat office, you’ve got to make a good impression so for Gods sake be professional about it. Find out the person’s name who will end up being your direct boss and address them by their name, nor Dear Sir or To Whom It May Concern. (Hint: You’ll find it on the ‘masthead’, the list of names within the first few pages of the magazine.) Please spell their name correctly, bad-spelling and typos are unforgivable if you work in journalism.) Make your letter brief – one or two paragraphs will suffice. Tell them why you will be an asset to their team (not what they can do for you) and don’t be afraid to kiss ass. All bosses love to have their egos stroked so pepper your letter with sincere-sounding compliments. If you’re emailing your application, whatever you do, don’t type in text speak. And if you’re sending out multiple applications and have copied and pasted, please, please, please check that you haven’t left a stray ‘I’d love to work for Vogue’ when you’re writing to Elle. If in doubt get someone to proof read your email/letter before you send it.

Previous experience required
The only things I care to see on a CV are: name, address, email address, mobile phone number, date of birth, qualifications and the biggie…previous experience.
It’s all very chicken and egg but most magazines want someone who already has some experience so that person knows what to expect and won’t abandon ship after the first day. So if you have some previous experience flag it up in your letter then expand on it in your CV. No experience? Flag that up too but say how keen and willing you are to do anything. And point out how you can make yourself available at short notice. That way, if someone does drop out at the last minute (and it happens all the time), you’ll get first dibs.

Lying
You should never lie about experience on your CV because it will find a way to come and bite you on the bum, however lying about your age is different (but you didn’t hear it from me). A lot of magazines don’t allow work experience/interns under the age of sixteen. This is because you need a certain level of maturity to be a self-starter and to be able to go on errands without having a hysterical breakdown if you get lost. If you think you’re mature enough and you look 16 then chances are no-one’s going to check your ID (not in the UK anyway).

Follow up
Always follow up your email/letter. No-one has time to send replies these days so you must call to check that the email was received. Give it a couple of days, no longer, otherwise they’ll have forgotten you (popular mags get upwards of ten applications a day and even the less popular ones get ten a week). Don’t be shy. If you get this internship you’re going to be spending morning, noon and night on the phone so you may as well get over your talking-to-strangers phobia now.

Treat your internship like a paid job
The fact is, interns are like slaves and at the beginning you’re being tried out so you have to start with the shitty jobs. We’ve all been there. If you can act like opening post, unpacking boxes and colour-photocopying (worse than normal photocopying, it’s ten times slower) is the best fun you’ve ever had and do it like your life depends on it, then you’ll get upgraded to, oh I dunno, tidying the beauty cupboard and cold-calling Prs.

Act responsibly
Magazines work on tight deadlines and are usually under-staffed and fashion editors need things to be done fast and efficiently. This is why we’re stressed and shouty. It’s not that we’re horrible people we just need things done, like now! If you’re asked to do something and can’t get it done, don’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. Use your initiative and find a way to do it. Photocopiers run out of toner, people take days off, if the person you need to talk to isn’t there or the photocopier’s broken make sure you at least let us know. If you fuck up on something small you won’t get a chance to do the exciting stuff.

The cupboard
Every intern’s dream is to go on a shoot but however creative, clever and extrovert you are, I can assure you that you won’t be going on shoots from the off. Chances are you’ll spend most of your time in the fashion cupboard. Look at any magazine, however crappy and look at just how much stuff is photographed for their fashion pages. Now multiply this by 100. That’s the volume of merchandise (clothes, shoes, accessories, jewellery, tights, underwear etc etc) that goes in and out of the fashion cupboard. And guess who has to unpack it, log it, hang it up and return it? Although it’s a mindless task it’s vital to pay attention to what your doing when it comes to ‘returns’. A fashion editor’s nightmare is when things get returned to the wrong place and when this happens they know exactly who to blame. Even if it’s doesn’t come naturally, make a supreme effort to be tidy, organised and quick when it comes to working in the cupboard and I promise this will fast-track you to fashion editor success. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the job is never done. Each time you feel the rails emptying, you can be sure they’ll fill up again just as quickly so don’t let it demoralise you, just accept that’s the way it is.

The shoot
The most exciting part of an internship –allegedly. Most fashion editors have an assistant so don’t really need to take an intern on a shoot. Therefore you really have to earn the right to go on a shoot otherwise you’re just another mouth to feed. (Yes it’s really that simple. On my last magazine the lunch budget was £10 a head so to take an intern on a shoot was costing us money when she could be in the office ‘doing the returns’). If you’re lucky enough to be invited on the shoot make yourself indispensable. Find out the day before what you’ll be expected to do. Some interns are expected to unpack and steam the clothes, but some fashion editors prefer their assistant to do that. There’s a lot of hanging around on shoots but that doesn’t mean switch off or read a magazine. You should be on alert at all times ready to leap into action. It’s actually very rare to meet an intern who does this but so nice when it happens. Never forget, whatever job you do, your job is to make your boss’s life easier.

Team bonding
All magazine offices are different but they’re all pretty hectic so there often isn’t a chance for idle chit-chat with the interns. Yet it’s important for you to find a moment to engage with your fashion editor as she’s your golden ticket to the next rung on the career ladder. A shoot is a good time to bond with her/him but pick your moment carefully. Good times to strike up conversation are at lunch or after the clothes have been sorted but while hair and make-up is still being done. Fashion editors love to talk about themselves but not when they’re rethinking the styling or fretting about the lighting. The good thing is, unless they’re extremely rude they’ll eventually reward some of your questions with questions about you. And this gives you the chance to connect with them and make that all-important impression.

Be unforgettable
As well as being efficient and indispensable it’s important to be memorable. If you’re only there for a month, there will be umpteen interns after you before that oh-so-elusive job vacancy arises, so make a lasting impression. If you’re a bit of a wallflower it’s essential to force yourself out of your shell and make conversation with people. Get to know the other interns (Teen Vogue has fifteen!) and people in other departments and make sure they all know your name. Offer to make tea and collect faxes from the fax machine (yes some people still send faxes). Go the extra mile and I can guarantee they’ll love you for it. This is how I and all my assistants became successful in our careers. Talent hardly comes into it, it’s all about the hard workers.

Be warned that over-familiarity is a big no-no. Self-confidence is a great asset but if you’re an extrovert, try to read the mood of the office and be sensitive to people’s tones of voice and body-language. See if you can read their reactions to you and adapt your manner accordingly. Tip: some fashion editors don’t like to be given unsolicited advice or opinions.

Keep in touch
If you enjoyed your time at the magazine and got on with the team, make sure you keep in touch. Don’t forget, it’s a relatively small industry where everyone knows everyone and the best jobs are always filled by word of mouth. A post-internship thank-you card and bi-monthly email to say ‘how is everyone’ and pass on up-to-date contact info is always welcome. Don’t be a stalker though, magazine people are busy and however chummy, won’t have time to keep up a boomerang email correspondence.

Moving on
To move on to the next internship or the next level of your career is all about contact building. Once you have a certain amount of experience I recommend contacting a few choice fashion editors to request some friendly face time. A letter or email (followed up by a phone-call) giving your experience and asking if you can take them for a coffee is all it takes. It won’t happen immediately so be prepared to send ten or twenty of these emails (not all to the same person). On the pretext of wanting some careers advice (remember, appeal to their ego) you can get an appointment with them, ask how they got where they are and then – the clincher – if they know anyone else you can see. If they like you, they’ll want to help you it’s as simple as that. The rest is down to you.

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65 Responses to How to become a fashion editor

  1. Make Do & Mend says:

    Very useful and comprehensive – made me feel like giving up my day job and being an intern!

  2. Make Do & Mend says:

    Very useful and comprehensive – made me feel like giving up my day job and being an intern!

  3. Make Do & Mend says:

    Very useful and comprehensive – made me feel like giving up my day job and being an intern!

  4. Make Do & Mend says:

    Very useful and comprehensive – made me feel like giving up my day job and being an intern!

  5. susie_bubble says:

    Very very wise advice here…. you’re spilling all the tricks! Is it wrong that I don’t want to get into magazine work through the ‘intern’ way?

  6. Rollergirl says:

    Make do & Mend: Really? It’s meant to make people think ‘do I really want to do this crazy job’!

    Susie Bubble: You’re the exception to the rule!

  7. NATTY says:

    Working for free – *shudder* I dont think I could do it!

    Its great to see a post which actually details the amount of hard work you need to put in to get onto the first rung. People normally only see the glamorous side of things – same as PR, the industry I work in (financial unfortunatley, not fashion!), however it is very hard work.

  8. natty says:

    Work for free *shudder*. I dont think I could do that!

    It is great to see a post that acutally focussed on how much hard work needs to be put in. I work in the PR industry (finance not fashion sadly!) and a lot of people see that as being glamourous but it is hard work and starting off at the bottom rung is the hardest of all.

  9. ambrosiality says:

    wow that was a lot of really good info!

    wish I had a friend trying to get into the fashion world, so i could give it to them.

    work for free: shudders, such is life.

  10. enc says:

    This was great. I don’t even want to become a fashion editor, but I read the entire thing. More people should read this type of thing!

    I didn’t know people gave their birth dates in the UK. Here, it’s illegal to ask job-seekers their age, due to anti-discrimination laws.

  11. selinaoolala says:

    ah so handy! i’m loving the tips! great post. there are so many girls on my course that are like ‘i just luuurve fashion, i’ll be a designer or magazine editor’ they have no idea! i’m not so sure i want to work in the media now…! could you describe the perks?

  12. Allure says:

    Your advices are always great. But I have one question: should I mention I run a fashion blog as previous experience? or does it sound a bit “forced”?

  13. Rollergirl says:

    Allure: Yes! Mention your blog. It shows your passion and your blog is great (and I’m not just saying that). Anything that gives you an edge over the competition is a good thing, don’t be shy :)

  14. Rollergirl says:

    Selina: Ok, I’ll do it in a separate post…

  15. Blue Floppy Hat says:

    V. useful indeed.. I wouldn’t mind interning for nothing (though I’d rather do some scattershot freelancing), but it’s all a bit up in the air right now…
    But I must ask- what kind of qualifications would an editor want to see an intern with? A lot of places say they’ll only accept people who get academic credit for their work (which I wouldn’t, given that I don’t study fashion or anything creative)- is that it?

  16. Rollergirl says:

    BFH: Well, I never cared about formal qualifications – all I want to know is that a person’s passionate and hardworking. You don’t even need talent to start with, I think you can get that from osmosis as time goes on. I guess I’m not typical and having a degree shows that you can stick at things. The degree doesn’t have to be fashion/art related though, it can be anything.

  17. emsie says:

    this post was extremely useful
    i’m 15, but i don’t know if i could get any work experience this summer

    how early do you have to start applying?

  18. Rollergirl says:

    Good question Emsie. It varies from place to place but I think 2-3 months in advance is about right. If you’ve applied and been ‘put on file’ but don’t hear anything for a few weeks it’s OK to send a reminder or put in a call. Or even better, before you apply just call them up and ask what their procedure is. This gives you the chance to chat to them and ask questions as well (and also helps you build a rapport with them which gives you a head start).

  19. discothequechic says:

    another fantastic insight into the industry, DRG.

    These posts always leave me so inspired, it’s very generous to share the information, like shiny treasure for all us fashion magpies..

  20. Scarlet says:

    Oh how I remember my time in the fashion closet lol You give some really good advice and I would echo everyword. I never ended up working for a magazine I went the designer route where it’s more of the same, work hard and for free!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Really great post! Gosh you’re giving away all the secrets of us super-interns ;) Reading it reminded me what it was like to be an intern again!

  22. Noel says:

    This advice is really great! Thank you SO much. I’m currently 17 and am a junior in high school and I’m going to be interning in the Seventeen fashion department this summer…during the school year, I do a lot of fashion journalism on the side just to build clips and for practice. Your advice is absolutely amazing :].

  23. Gemma says:

    Absolutely brilliant advice. I’m thoroughly tempted to email this link as standard to anyone who emails me asking for work experience and doesn’t even bother to:

    a) capitalise their i’s (60% of apps)
    b) mention my company name in the email (instead of just ‘in the media’)
    c) use my name even though it’s in my email address.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I am 14 at the moment and would really like to go into the fashion magazine industry after I have left university. Your advice was really helpful and inspired me to follow that career path when I am older more.

    Do you think I could do my work experiance when I am in year 10 at a fashion magazine, or would I have to wait till I am 16 and do an internship?

  25. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Anonymous. It all really depends on the magazine. If you are quite confident and mature then pick up the phone, ring some magazines and ask them what their position is with taking on fourteen year olds for work experience. The teen mags tend to be the most amenable to teen ‘workies’ so try them first.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I am about to graduate in June, i ster last studied in New York for a semsester last year and persisited and got a 5 month internship with V. Fair and Vogue. also interned for the BBC, a stylsit and London and New York fashion weeks. i knew i needed to intern to get experiance and enjoyed all of it, but now i am about to graduate and can’t afford to intern anymore. Is it ok to start sending out CV’s to people?

  27. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Anonymous, yes now is a good time to send out those CVs. Any later and you’ll be up against all the other people graduating in June. If you’ve already interned for VF and Vogue etc why not get in touch with those people again for ‘a chat and some advice’ (which of course is code for ‘can you refer me to some of your contacts’)? As you’ve done a lot of work experience already you’re ready to look for a job now (well, that’s if you’ve been hardworking and enthusiastic!). Good luck!

  28. Rosa Cordaro says:

    Oh and I’ve been sending out emails to loads of magazines asking if they take on 14 year olds for work experience, none have replied. A few did the first time I did it, but they said no.

  29. Anonymous says:

    These are the most helpful advices i’ve seen on the net about working in fashion magazine industry! Thank you.
    I’ve always wanted to work in a fashion magazine, but as it was very competitive (and i only had psychology studies behind me), i started in a press office, the Ysl one. Now, after one year interning there i feel more confident and i want to move to the other side! Do you think my experience in a press office is something to emphase? how can i use it as a “plus”? Thank you for your article, i’ve printed it and it will always be in my handbag! :-)

  30. Sugoionna says:

    So I’m a senior at a College in Minnesota. I’m looking to intern at a small magazine next semester but I’m wondering what I should do if I don’t get it. Could I get hired even at the lowest rung with out any intern experience?

  31. Rollergirl says:

    In reply to the last three comments:

    Rosa Cordaro: If you don’t get replies to emails you just have to bite the bullet and call them up. Being shy will get you nowhere. If you get the ‘we don’t take under-18s’ reply, then ask if you can pop in and see them one day for ten minutes. This way you can make a connection which may come in handy down the line. I did this with someone recently and invited her to help out on a shoot. She proved herself to be very capable and I might find a way to use her in the future.

    Anonymous on June 19th:
    Of course you must big up your press office experience. It’s always useful to have someone on the team who has experience of ‘the other side’. Plus some of the skills are transferable – prioritising, organisational skills, problem solving. Don’t apologise for not having magazine experience, instead sell it like you are bringing something new to the table and can offer a different perspective. Think positive!

    Sugoionna:
    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you would get hired at the lowest level without experience simply because they don’t need to. There are enough people desperate to get on the ladder that will have that experience. What makes you think you won’t get it? If you want it, put ALL your energy into making sure you make that internship yours. It’s really worth calling and asking if you could meet someone ‘for some advice’ before you send in your application. That way you already make a connection and have an ‘in’. I’m not saying someone will definitely see you but I think it shows initiative and ambition. GOOD LUCK!

  32. gloria says:

    Like everybody here, I’d like to thank you immensely for your post. The tips are really helpful.
    I’ll be starting college next fall (La Sapienza, Rome) and I’m interested in getting an internship somewhere in Italy. Should I put some information such as proficiency in many languages (6 in my case) and being an exchange student in two countries? I think that tells something about me (being just 18 years old), not sure if that would matter for a fashion career, though. Thank you

  33. Rollergirl says:

    Thanks Gloria! You should definitely flag up your language skills. Not only do they set you apart from other 18 year olds but fashion is an international industry and languages are extremely useful. Also your being an exchange student in two countries shows an adventurous, independent spirit which is also appreciated in fashion where you often have to think on your feet and use your initiative.

  34. Lynlee says:

    I have been very interested in being in a fashion-orientated career for some time now, but I never really had any idea where to start. I don’t have much formal experience when it comes to the fashion industry. I’ve only worked at a few retail stores here and there. I’m currently studying music and am in my second year of university, but I’ve lately felt that I am perhaps going in the wrong direction since fashion has always been such a pinnacle in my life. This blog was so helpful, but I have a few questions. How long would somebody usually have to intern before they were offered a position? Would you recommend having a journalism degree. fashion school degree, etc.? Is there a lot of turn over when it comes to interns? How likely is it that a motivated and interested, but inexperienced, intern will be promoted? Thank you so much for answering my questions!

  35. Rollergirl says:

    Lynlee, there are no straight answers to your questions but I’ll answer them as best I can.

    Fashion jobs are hugely competitive these days so anything that can give you the edge should be utilised. If you are seriously considering changing to a fashion degree you might find this puts you in a better position when it comes to work experience. A fashion course will get you better internships and you have the added benefit of being able to network with visiting lecturers and make the most of their support and advice as they will already be working in the industry. However, you can still succeed without the fashion education if you don’t decide to go down that path. A few years ago I would have even said that a degree is not necessary at all. I used to believe that work experience was the only thing that counted but I think these days, as things have become more competitive, completing a degree (supposedly) shows you have maturity and the ability to stick to something and this is something that employers like to see.

    My suggestion for you is to think outside the box. Instead of applying to intern at the obvious magazines along with everyone else, consider local websites, cable TV stations or your local paper. This way you have something on your resume and a little practice too. From there you can apply to magazines. In actual fact, the big magazines will not take interns with NO experience so you do need to start somewhere else first. Often teen magazines are a good place to start, why not take a sideways step and approach the beauty editor? That way you can make friends with the fashion team as well and perhaps nab a fashion stint following the beauty one?

    There is really no set timeframe in terms of how long it takes to go from intern to employee. It used to be as little as three months, it could be as long as two years. In order for an intern to get taken on, a job needs to become available which means someone leaving or if you’re very lucky, the team expanding and a new position being created especially for you. Sadly, that’s a rarity. This is the crucial thing to understand, the reality of the situation is you have to love the job enough to be prepared to struggle for a LONG time before you get your break. But with passion, hard work and motivation, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t make it happen.

    Rollergirl

  36. Secretista says:

    I just stumbled upon this and I don’t think you coudl’ve said it all better.

  37. JessicaaaaxO says:

    all i want to do is be a fashion editor

    im 14, but the trouble is i live in the middle of nowhere, and theres nowhere remotely fashion magazine like near me :(

    what should i do???

  38. Rollergirl says:

    Hey Jessica! If it’s what you really want, you just have to think a bit more creatively. For starters, really absorb yourself in fashion. Start noticing what the people around you are wearing/not wearing. Fashion doesn’t start with magazines, it can come from the people around you. You could start compiling a scrapbook with your observations – this will get your brain to think ‘fashion’ all the time. It would also be a good idea to start putting fashion posts on your blog to show people how serious you are. What is a blog if not your own personal online magazine? If you do this for the next two years you’ll be in a great position by the time you are 16 to apply for work experience and convince potential future employers of your suitability as a fashion-editor-to-be. Good luck!

  39. xoxo gg says:

    hello drg,
    i read your comment that you had left on fashionista and this article consists of great advice. in realizing you are a “fashion insider”, i wanted to know if you had any contacts i could get in touch with (despite being in Britain), anything would help!
    thanks for all your help
    gabriela

  40. Rollergirl says:

    Gabriela, if you send me another comment with your email address (I won’t publish it), I can send you some advice…

  41. Anonymous says:

    Hi, was just asking if you had any contacts for magazines in the UK? I have just completed am internship at a men’s magazine and looking for some more work experience. As I know I have a lot hard work ahead of me. Any contacts or just general information would be a great help as i’v noticed many people are looking for fashion degrees and my law degree is not very relevant.

  42. Rollergirl says:

    Hi, those people asking for contacts, I am not going to be able to publish my personal contacts on the blog. If you leave your email address in your comment, I can email you back with advice. Your email address won’t be published. I can’t necessarily give everyone my personal contacts but I might still be able to help.

  43. ponypuff says:

    Hi Roller girl

    Your advice was SO encouraging!!
    I have been a makeup artist for 6 years, i worked with MAC cosmetics for 5 years and recently left as my dream IS TO work as a fashion editor!!!!

    I will sweep floors,be a coffee girl and shine shoes, if i have too!!
    I was a little bummed as friends hav been sayin im 27 and its a lil to late as i need LOADS of experience to get in and its a tough industry to get into….

    BUT IM WILLING TO LEARN AND DO ANYTHING, i wanted to ask your advice.. Should i do a basic journalism course as i have NO WRITING experience, BUT I ASSURE U MY WILL PASSION, AND LOVE FOR FASHION is bigger than i am xxxx

  44. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Ponypuff,
    Think REALLY hard about this because as magazines die out, there are EVEN less fashion editor jobs around than there were. But that's not to say you shouldn't be one of the few. Don't worry about your age – I know plenty of people who started late. It does mean you'll have to work harder to prove yourself but that doesn't bother you. Definitely get on the work experience circuit as soon as possible. And learn to write. You can do this by practicing – just read as much good fashion writing as you can or even start a blog to help you practice. You could do part-time journalism course as well – it could help with contact-building. Another thought is that you could use your make-up background by getting work experience with a beauty editor and moving into fashion sideways by making friends with the fashion dept once you're in situ (it's easier to get beauty work experience as most people go straight for fashion). The main thing is not to apologise for your age or inexperience. Just less your passion and willingness to work shine through – that is all employers want these days.

  45. ponypuff says:

    Hi roller girl

    Thank u for getting back to me! I realy want this and sometimes feel a lil discouraged with peoples negative attitudes towards the whole idea!

    I live in South Africa, so the industry here is even smaller than in the states,but your advice was so helpful and i AM GOING TO START RIGHT AWAY in following it.

    The beauty editor side sounds like a great,smart idea… THANK U AGAIN XXXXXX

  46. Thanh says:

    That was SO incredibly incredibly useful, I cant even express it in words.

    I want to be an intern so much, I just dont know how its going to happen. I have literally applied to EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE in all parts of the world and nothing. But Im just gonna keep being persistent.

    Someones bound to be happy to have a slave right..

    Anyway if you have any more useful tips on how to get to that dream of being an intern, please do share.

    Because thats all I want, I just wanna intern and get experience. I would getting a cup of coffee for someone SO much. (to begin with..)

  47. connie says:

    thank u for ur advice! but i was wondering wat i should major in at college. journalism or something more fashion oriented? and for school, a university or a fashion school like fit?

  48. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Connie,
    You could major in either. But first ask yourself if you have a particular leaning towards styling or writing. If you lean towards writing then go for journalism as that way, you could also consider other types of journalism if the fashion writing career didn't work out. If your leaning is more towards styling then go for the fashion option as you can then consider so many other fashion careers if the styling doesn't work out. If you study journalism I would personally recommend a general university journalism course as opposed to fashion journalism but this is purely my own point of view, I think in the curret climate it will keep your options more open. Fashion is best studied at fashion school where you can network with so many other fashion students who will be your future colleagues. I hope this helps!

  49. selinaoolala says:

    ah i'm going through my google reader at a quiet time on my first internship and saw your teen vogue handbook post recalling this post, just reread it and it's still great! what with all the tv shows (have you seen running in heels?) and books like the TV one, people are so much more aware that internships are the way to go that there's so much competition. i found like you said you really have to think outside the box and not just apply to the top ten high street shops and think fashion ends there. one thing i've noticed since being away from my course for a year is that so many girls have set up a fashion blog to put on their cvs, and i wonder what you think of this as someone in the fashion industry? one of my best uni friends who i lived with in my two years at manchester of course knew my blog for the whole time i've known her and just messaged me saying all her friends and her from our course have set up their own blogs for their cvs and asked how to get readers etc. i'm worried that if i put 'i have a blog etc' on a cv now, it's a bit tiresome and has less impact, almost like 'yeah a blog, whatever'. also meant to say, you said to always follow emails up but i was chatting with the lady here who controls work experience (i'm at the fashion desk at a newspaper and there's only about 7 people on the fashion team) and she replied to my email after a whole week and mentioned that if people email her saying 'have you got my application?' etc, she finds it a bit annoying and isn't tempted to consider the person. my other placement for next week also took while to email back, so maybe it's best to wait a bit?

  50. Rollergirl says:

    Hey Selina! So first to answer the question about everyone having a blog. To this I say, if you want to work in fashion, having a blog is like a window into what you're about. It shows how you write, your taste levels, your eye, even gives an insight into your personality. So it's pretty crucial now. 'Having' a blog won't make you stand out but having a good one will.

    Then your question about following up emails. My assumption is that most big magazines/papers don't have time to reply to work experience applications unless it's to the successful ones. I'm surprised that your one said they do send replies. That's great but I think your person's being a wee bit harsh on people who follow up 'too soon'.

    I had a simple system at my last job that made it very easy to check if I had received an intern request. These poor people are offering to work for (practically) free! If the would-be intern has made it into the 'possibles' pile then I doubt if a follow-up email would really put someone off taking them on. I'd say it shows initiative and tenacity and you want that in an intern (well I do). I guess everyone's different but I don't think there's any harm really in following up after a couple of days. Just say your email has been playing up!

  51. Clare says:

    These are very, very good guidelines. Wise words indeed!

    Definitely agreed with being professional, in my last job I used to get emails from people who started emails with 'Hey!' or just a complete lack of grammar/correct spellings. Not a very good first impression…

    Also, like we've spoken about before, when doing returns take a suitcase!

    tweet tweet tweet

    x

  52. Naj says:

    I am very interseted in becoming a fashion editor even with knowing the risk and how competive it is. Do you think that going to an online fashion school still has the same opportunities as being on campus? Sometimes I am a little quiet are there any recommendations to come out my shell a little? Also what type of things should I look forward to in an interview when that time comes?

  53. Rollergirl says:

    Hi Naj, I sympathise, I can be a bit (a lot) shy too but fashion is no place for shy people! If it's a choice between online or campus I must say I think your peers on campus are really important future contacts.

    How to come out of your shell? Get a weekend job in a store where you can have a lot of interaction with people, this will naturally make you more of a 'people person'. Or start a blog (or Twitter) and interact online. You'll then get to a stage where you want to meet some of these people. Social media is a good way for quiet people to learn to be more assertive but only if you put yourself out there eventually.

    An interviewer will want to know that you are a team worker but can also use your own initiative. They'll want you to be hard working and passionate (i.e. they don't want a clock-watcher who does the bare minimum of work). Think of examples that demonstrate that you have these qualities.

    It's important to research their company and act interested in it, like you really, REALLY want to work there! They might test you to find out how much you know about fashion/trends/celebrities etc so do some homework and have some non-obvious answers ready (sorry but no-one wants to hear that your style icon is Kate Moss). Look out for some new designers that you can surprise them with, they want to know that you can bring some fresh ideas to their team.

    Always, always have a few questions. Three or four is good so that when you get to the 'any questions' stage, you can have a bit of a conversation and your interest can really come across. Try and keep the conversation going a bit so that they will remember you. You don't have to be satisfied with the one answer to a question. If their answer provokes a further question then ask it, it's good to come across as inquisitive and interested – that's what makes a journalist, but make sure you listen too. Good luck.

  54. Naj says:

    So you wouldnt suggest going to fashion school online? & thanks a lot!

  55. Rollergirl says:

    Naj, no, it sounds like you would benefit from being around people!

  56. Naj says:

    OKay because in the situation I am in online would be the only way so I guess it would be a waste of $ if I wont benifit from it /: But thanks for that.

  57. Naj says:

    One more question just so I am completly clear. So sorry. Are you saying online isn't good for me because I can't interact with people or because online students aren't likely to get the job?

  58. Rollergirl says:

    Naj: …because you can't interact with people. So if online is the ONLY option then you should still take it.

  59. Kirsty says:

    Just came to this through your most recent post and so glad I did! I'm still studying right now and emailed quite a few people earlier in the year about internships but didn't get any replies. So it's comforting to know that this isn't necessarily because I wasn't good enough! Next time I will follow them up and not worry about looking too keen.

  60. Pixiepie says:

    I can't thank you enough for your advice. I graduated a year ago and am struggling to find my place in the fashion world! I have had 2 good fashion internships so far (Chloe & Joseph) and enjoyed them both very much . Unlike a marjority of people I don't want to be journalist, or beauty editor as i don't enjoy writing. I thrive working with people, and love the hectic nature of the job, where everday something new is thrown at you but I have yet to find my niche. what job would you reccomend for a someone who loves fashion but doesn't want to write?

  61. Rollergirl says:

    Hi PixiePie, there are loads of other jobs. You sound like you might be good at production or PR. Both involve working with people, can be very creative and are super stressful, er I mean 'exciting'. Have a look at the Teen Vogue handbook if you can, it gives a really indepth look at the fashion industry. Another job you might like is being a bookings editor. Its similar to production, you're responsible for organising the magazine shoots, from casting the models and building the teams to arranging travel, locations etc. Never a dull moment!

  62. PeachMcGee says:

    DRG I need your advice! I've been beavering away at fashion writing for some time and have completed 2 good, but short, placements (Vogue and Guardian) but now finding it hard to get anything longer than a couple of weeks.

    Have an interview for an unpaid 2-3 month placement at Cocosa doing merchandising and little admin odds and sods and really don't know if it's a step too far away from what I really want to be doing (fashion features) or if it's a great opportunity! Would be a no-brainer if it were paid, but alas it's not. Would it look out of place on a CV? Help!

  63. Rollergirl says:

    Hi PeachMcGee, you just have to find a way to make these things work for you. Be proactive. Make friends with the editorial department, offer to help them in your lunch hour. Maybe following your admin stint, you can do a couple of weeks with them? The opportunity is there, you just have to figure out how to make it work for you and keep the ball rolling.

  64. Keri says:

    Amazing advice :). I'm starting an internship at Drapers this Friday (..and will be in the Fashion Cupboard from the off!).. it's great to know I'm on the right track, and to note the things I should be making sure I do whilst around the office. Eeek, excited!

  65. Rollergirl says:

    Oh brilliant, well done Keri. Good luck!

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