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Want To Become A Great Fashion Writer?


Mary-Ann McLaughlin

Fashion writing, is it really the case that all that glitters is gold? Is it really so glamorous to be a fashion writer? As a fashion writer are you master or mistress of your own world? Or do you perhaps defer ownership to a magazine or newspaper; bound by an unwritten code of ethics that dictates who can write what about whom and for which publication or forever fear the unfortunate demise of never working in the fashion world again.

Through research and interviewing a diverse group of people entangled within the fashion world, I may perhaps have found the answers that would be useful for any budding fashion writer embarking on a career in the word of fashion.

The Market

One line of thought is that fashion writers are great marketing tools, perhaps greater than they are given credit for. The angle the fashion writer projects and the target audience they are aiming at will have great importance, perhaps even more importance than what is actually contained within their article.

With print media now, no longer the only form of advertising, digital media and fashion influencers have been given VIP status in the fashion writers territory. They are given front row seats at esteemed fashion shows enabling them to watch and blog simultaneously, giving designers immediate coverage and, in some cases, immediate sell-outs of collections. Even to say that these fashion bloggers work in collaboration with the designers and perhaps can affect their design choices from the onset. To this end, fashion magazines will now also have an on-line presence to capture the whole market.

What Makes A Good Fashion Writer

A fashion writer is someone with an eye for detail. Someone who perhaps likes controversy and likes to think out of the box. A fashion writer is a person with a genuine passion for fashion, who feels the collection and is not afraid to stand out on a limb.

Fashion writers need to be creative, have imagination and insight. These individuals need to be impassioned themselves otherwise there is no way they can write about a designer’s collection with any great effect. Remember that a good fashion writer does not necessarily require images for their article – if they can recreate the image to the reader, they are already there!

For a fashion writer who is tied into writing for the same magazine day in, day out, it is imperative that they remain focused not only on the collection they are writing about, but to the regular readers of that particular magazine. Therefore, it is important to think about whom will be reading your article before you start writing, otherwise you are lost before you have even started, no matter how glamorous the collection is you are writing about.

Let’s not forget that for both fashion writers tied into magazines and freelance fashion writers, it is important to have your own opinion. Remember that you are viewing the collection on behalf of the world of women and men out there and as much as each person is an individual, you are a fashion writer for a reason, and that reason is that you have passion and an opinion – so use it. Although, bear in mind that trashing a designer’s collection will not get you into the front row at their next fashion show!

What The Client Expects

Clients are ever more demanding but essentially they want the fashion writer to know what the readers want and to be the first to spread the word about their collection. They expect fashion writers to have the wow factor in their fashion presentations; even if the collection in question is not at its best. Clients would expect the writer to have vision and honesty and to project the collection to all of his or her followers new and old.

Which Writing Styles Are More Popular?

There are a variety of styles but those that offer personal opinions seem to be the winners. Those that promote the upcoming and latest trends, offer a ‘How To’ approach, showing the designer collection and then perhaps the lower budget alternative.

Marie Oakes Wade (Founder of The Trend Academy) says:

The influence of a fashion writer is undisputed. To be a great fashion writer you need to be interested in the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’. Never knowing when the change is going to come, we need to lead with a unique voice and vision, a sharp eye and a desire to learn everyday and teach the world our findings.

Fabian Hirose (Strategy, Development & Management Consultant for Fashion Businesses) says:

Fashion writers are great marketing tools and it depends on which angle they are writing and who is reading.

Based on the above, we can conclude that being a fashion writer is indeed a real job. Yes, there is the glitz and the glam, but there are also the politics, the deadlines and the audience, whom if you fail you become redundant. It’s a high pressure but fun job that can, in my opinion, only be carried out by creative and passionate people who enjoy the world of fashion and all that encompasses it.

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