Interviews and etiquette

As a senior in college, the countdown to graduation has definitely begun for me, and I must say it is not an entirely pleasant experience.  The thought of attempting to find a job has already caused more than a few sleepless nights, and I’m looking everywhere I can for advice.

The interview process is about to begin, so here are a few tips that I’ve heard or learned along the way that are slightly different than traditional interview advice, simply because magazines are not a highly traditional industry!

1. Do as much reading as you possibly can before the interview.  I’m talking at least 3 of the most recent issues, although the further back you go, more will give you a clearer understanding of the magazine’s direction and a few great talking points.  Take note of your favorite stories and don’t be afraid to mention what you liked, it shows you did your homework.

2. The outfit.  Obviously if you want to be an Anna you already have amazing style, but many people will tell you that a black suit is a must for any interview.  Not in this field.  If you are applying for a fashion position, make sure your style is reflected in your interview outfit.  Choose bright colors and don’t be afraid of patterns.  Wear great shoes and make it clear that you understand fashion.

3. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever tell the person interviewing you that you want to work in this industry for any variation of the reason I loved The Hills/The City/The Devil Wears Prada. Just do not.

4. Be early.  But in this industry, understand that while it will be noted that you are early, you will most likely be asked to wait in the lobby for what could be a very long time after your scheduled appointment.  Do not repeatedly call your contact asking to be let in.  They know you are there, but they are making you wait.  So wait.

5. Be enthusiastic. This is a demanding field with long hours and a high burnout rate.  If your passion is not visible, it may be called into question how long you would last.  Editors want someone who wants to be there and who is not going to give up after a tough day. If you love it, make it clear.  It can make all of the difference in the world between two equally qualified candidates.

So, that’s what I know so far.  I’m sure I have lots more lessons headed my way in the coming months, so I’ll keep you posted on my adventures.  What is the best interview advice you’ve ever received?

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Where to from here?

So, by now I hope you understand that internships and seeking advice are incredibly important on the journey down the runway.  I wanted to share one of my favorite sites with all of you, Ed2010.

Ed2010 is hands down the best site for anyone looking to go into editorial anything.  The site is a community of editors, assistants, and wannabe editors that offers job postings, mentoring programs, advice pages, meet-ups and forums to help you connect with others also interested in editorial. Explore the forums and try to make it to an event or a seminar, networking is vital and this is an excellent place for it.  The internship posts on this site are also great, so check out the Whisper Jobs tab for listings at some incredible magazines.

Make a username now and check in regularly, good things happen here.

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The rough stuff.

Editorial isn’t always easy, and neither is deciding if it’s the right path for you.  One of my closest friends in the industry, Morgan, has had some particularly tough experiences in fashion, both in magazines and visuals.  She interned at a major magazine and is currently in visuals for a major fashion label, and despite the trials, she’s come out stronger and more determined than ever to make it in fashion.

What drew you to fashion editorial?

I was actually never drawn to editorial, I kind of stumbled upon it. I felt it was overly publicized by reality shows and movies and I wanted nothing to do with it. I felt that a lot of girls watched the shows and movies and felt a deep connection with the characters (good acting) and wanted to be in fashion for that reason alone. I steered away from it for that exact reason, even after being accepted into the magazine’s intern program. People suddenly were overly excited for me. This was strange because I had interned at many other companies before and had gotten no reaction. This magazine is a great magazine but it is not the best of the best, I was surprised by people’s reactions. But I also understood if I told people I was interning for visual design at French Connection, no one knew what it was or what to reference.  With the magazine, I immediately got references to “The Devil Wears Prada” and Lauren Conrad’s internship at Teen Vogue. I had applied to a lot of internships and jobs for fun. I threw a magazine application into the mix for random fun. I didn’t realize I would get offered the position the next day. After being in editorial for a day, you’re immediately are drawn in. The excitement, the clothes, the status, and mainly for me, the best part was being among some of the most powerful women I have ever met. They were dressed from head to toe flawlessly but at the same time were ruthless. Every day I wanted to work harder and dress better. It was a new project for me.

What was the best part about editorial? The hardest?

The hardest part is accepting you will never get every single task done in every single day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Also accepting that you can’t be everyone’s friend, you need to be tough and friendly at the same time. You have to steer clear of self-destructive people and also be able to stand alone if needed. The amount of work you get is hard and it always will be. If you try your hardest and your absolute best to genuinely get everything done and be professional towards everyone, you will survive. You have to be able to accept defeat and learn from it. Make mistakes but don’t make them twice. Never burn a bridge. The best part is, it’s like boot camp and when you survive, you are equipped with life and work skills you would have never acquired elsewhere. You truly are prepared for anything.

What is the best part about working for one company? The hardest?

The best part of working for the magazine is that it’s a major name, it’s under a larger company and it can help you segue into the company for larger magazines. The bad part is that the magazine is confused about its direction and its sales have been suffering because of it.

What was the most important thing you learned from your time in editorial?

At the magazine, I learned that I love editorial and I also learned a lot from my mentors. I learned that I’m good at it, and that people do notice if you put in the extra time and effort. You have to be nice, no matter what. You must always be professional and keep everyone neutral. You can’t let others affect your work and if someone’s bringing you down, you need to do something about it and stand apart from the individual. I learned to love fashion even more than I already did; I learned a whole new side of it.

What was the most important thing you learned from your time with one designer?

Before the designer and the magazine, all of my internships have been visual merchandising and display. The magazine was a curve ball and something I did for fun. After the magazine I went back to visuals with an internship at the designer label. I am currently still there but i haven’t learned very much from my mentors.  It is my first experience where no one wanted to use my skills and eagerness to learn. This is not a good thing. I am sad about my experience at the designer label, but glad I did it. I learned that sometimes people only want to benefit themselves and don’t want anyone to overshadow them. You have to smile always and just take it. You can’t burn bridges, like I’ve said many times. Having the designer label on my resume is huge, the work I did there is mediocre but by no means bad. It only bothers me because I work very hard, in everything I do and am normally respected for that. I learned that while I’m good at visuals and trained in it, it may not be where my heart is, or at least this designer’s visuals. I also learned sometimes no matter what you do or how good you do it, some people would rather do it themselves and you must let them. I also learned a lot about processes and procedures of corporate visuals.

Where would you ultimately like to end up?

Right now I am undecided where I want to be, I had always thought it would be visual design, but now I am majoring in a business major and I hated one of my dream internships. Everything I thought I wanted is scrambled. I am very confused but I know my hard work and building of my résumé in the past will benefit me in the future. I am going to intern more before I graduate to help me decide. I will try Public Relations and another internship at a magazine. I have set up a summer job with in-store visuals to help build my sales background. I have made great connections in the past, and have met some amazing people. When I graduate I made sure my résumé spreads over and qualifies me for an entry-level job in any of those fields. If I had to choose right now it’d be editorial, it’s beautifully chaotic and challenging.

*Magazine and designer names removed.

This girl is tough, she’s going to be amazing in whatever she does. What do you think of her experiences?

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Tough love and good advice.

As I’ve said before, the only way to learn how to be a successful devil in Prada is to listen to those who have gone before you, so I wanted to share one of my favorite sources of advice with all of you.  Kelly Cutrone may very well be the Anna Wintour of fashion PR, both iconic and incredible at her job.  Her book, If You Have to Cry Go Outside, is a blend of blunt truths and maternal advice that makes it a must-read for anyone entering the fashion industry.

I’ve read the book more than once, because I feel like it offers some very real perspective that’s not always easy to find.  Here are a few of my favorite gems from Cutrone:

“My experience in the fashion industry has taught me to act confidently and decisively, without regret or self-doubt- in other words, with detachment from the outcome, which is the end goal of any good yogi.”

“This was when I learned that you have to give up your life as you know it to get a new one: that sometimes you need to let go of everything you’ve been clinging to and start over, whether because you’ve outgrown it or because it’s not working anymore or because it was wrong for you in the first place.”

And my personal favorite (seriously, incredibly true):

“If anyone really wanted to change the world, they’d bring in the fashion bitches, because nobody gets things done faster.”

 

Genius. What book inspires you?

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The PR parallel.

So Annas, it turns out that many of us who currently dream of entering the editorial world often make the leap over into the very closely related world of PR.  Fashion PR is the exact opposite of what we do, all of the samples that we receive, they send.  All of the pieces we shoot, they promote. Carine Roitfeld is reportedly headed to Barney’s post-Vogue, proving that even some of the big names trade teams once in a while.

To give us a better idea of what it’s like to make the switch, I interviewed my friend Lisa who recently did just that. Here’s what she had to say!

What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day starts with reading the top newspapers such as WWD, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post to know what is going on. I am an Account Coordinator so I typically am dealing with sample trafficking to editorials. Sometimes editors will contact me for samples when they have a story, but most of the time I have to contact editors to see what stories they are working on so that I can send over samples that could get our clients possible placement. A lot of my job is building a relationship with editors. Writing skills are important in PR. Depending on the client or event I am working on, I also pull together lists with editors and their contact information so that we can send invitations, media alerts for events, or press releases.

What was your favorite part of editorial?
In editorial, you are using your knowledge of fashion and trends and placing it artfully to the rest of America and the world to see and learn from. Being in an editorial office helped me learn so much about fashion. I have always loved fashion and thought I knew a lot about it, but I learned about new designers everyday! You are at the forefront of fashion, knowing all the trends and how to wear them. The amount of fashion and accessories that are available in an editorial office is amazing to me, and I loved having it all in front of me. During my time in editorial, I felt that my fashion style evolved because I was immersed and surrounded by the most talented stylists and fashion gurus in the industry.

What is your favorite part about PR?
When an editor contacts me with a story, it is up to me to pick the right pieces that would work for the story that is available in my showroom. My favorite part is to get a piece I sent to an editor placed in his or her magazine for my client.

What was the transition like?
The transition is a bit tough even though you would think it would be similar because a lot of it is sample trafficking. In editorial,
market editors have everything at your fingertips. If they need a certain style of clothing for a story, they can either approach the PR companies or if they know a certain PR company who has many different brands that would work the story, they can visit the showroom and pull whatever they see that they like. Since I work in a PR agency, I have several clients that I have to satisfy, and sometimes I cannot just wait for editors to approach me. I have to reach out to editors, sometimes twice or three times just to get their attention. The biggest part of the challenge is knowing that out of all the 30 emails I send out, I will probably only get 3 or 4 responses. It’s hard for me because I know how many emails these editors get a day from PR agencies. Knowing how much editors have to pick items for their stories, makes me always wonder what I have to send that will stand out over the other items when an editor goes through a run-thru for a story.

Which field do you ultimately hope to end up in?
Ultimately, I would love to be back in editorial because not only do I learn a lot about fashion 24/7, I am also inspired everyday. The ideal dream job would to be a fashion editor styling for editorial spreads. I used to get a high from being at a photo shoot. Watching the fashion editor decide how to make the perfect look was inspiring. I don’t know what could get better than putting the model, the makeup, the photographer, and the fashion all together to create works of art and inspiration.

So you can see why so many people  venture into PR. Do you think that having a background in editorial is an advantage for someone in PR?  Would you ever consider trying it?

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Thanks for the inspiration, Elizabeth.

Today we lost one of fashion’s great icons and muses, Elizabeth Taylor.

Check out this old picture from Vogue in 1948. Gorgeous. Thanks for always being a trendsetter, Elizabeth!

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Paris marks the end of fashion olympics

I hate nothing more than the end of fashion week (okay, maybe more like month), life just seems so uneventful without having new shows to obsess over every day of my life.  But I guess it had to end, after all, now all the Annas of the world have  sort through the millions of photos and put together stories to fill the pages of magazines until next season!

One more time, here are some of my favorite trends spotted on the infamous catwalks of Paris.

1. Always chic and ladylike, Paris had some lovely and demure moments.

Lanvin F/W '11

Louis Vuitton F/W '11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. There was also plenty of attention-grabbing shine.

Balmain F/W '11

Zac Posen F/W ’11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. From sparkles to suits, the menswear-inspired look was also very strong.

Chanel F/W '11

Stella McCartney F/W '11

Jean Paul Gautier F/W '11

Yves Saint Laurent F/W '11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. No white after Labor Day, huh?

Cacharel F/W ’11

Hermes F/W '11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Prepare yourselves, the ugly sweater of the 80s is back, both uglier and chicer than ever. Oh Givenchy, what have you done?

Carven F/W '11

Celine F/W '11

Givenchy F/W '11

Rochas F/W '11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So long, fashion week, it’s been fun. Thanks for the material, I’m sure the gorilla arms and ugly Christmas sweaters will keep me occupied until September.

 

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