Her fashion journalism career started with a love for “using words to entertain, inform and paint a vivid picture…”. Her drive to pursue this profession was fuelled by a job shadow experience at Conde Nast Traveller magazine when she was 16 years of age. Now she is a reporter (such as on the red carpet for MTV International) , television presenter (hosting such shows as NBC’s Fashion Star) and fashion columnist (for publications like Huffington Post). She even has her own designer line of bags and shoes. Her name is Louise Roe.
After graduating with an English Literature degree, Roe completed a six-month internship at Elle magazine, where she realized that she could combine her passion for both writing and fashion. “Yup, you make the tea, you photocopy, you run to Starbucks, you transcribe interviews,” wrote the fashion journalist for Huffington Post (January 23, 2012). “But every now and again, there are moments that remind you why fought so hard to get there, giving you the boost to keep going for it.”
Roe described doing her first backstage interview at London Fashion Week and being asked to fill in for her nervous editor to talk about wedding dresses on BBC News are some of the hallmark highlights of the beginnings of her successful fashion journalism career. Her dedication and hard work, her willingness to do grunt work while embracing new and different opportunities (even if they involved going out of her comfort zone) ensured her initial and ongoing success.
If you have a genuine passion for fashion as well as communicating through words, visuals, speech and/or other forms—plus dedication and a hard work ethic—keep on reading to learn more about a fascinating career in fashion journalism.
Schools Offering Fashion/Media Related Degrees
What is Fashion Journalism?
Fashion Journalism covers a range of themes and media. It is not uncommon for a fashion journalist to work in several media on various themes throughout their career.
In the print world, magazines may be the most predominant medium; however newspaper pieces, books and other forms are also tackled by fashion magazine journalists.
Fashion journalists also work in radio and/or television broadcasting, such as hosting a fashion news show or reporting on fashion-focused events.
A new niche for fashion journalists has been evolving in new or digital media, where blogging, reporting for websites and social media are just some of the online communication styles important to this international industry.
The world of fashion journalism may seem dazzling and cushy, like it’s centered around sipping champagne as you schmooze with high profile designers, models and celebs. But this could not be farther from the truth.
“If you want to work in fashion because you like how it seems on TV or movies, don’t bother,” reported Fashionista’s Alyssa Vingan (June 27, 2014). “…Most of the time, the job will not be glamorous, and if you’re not truly passionate about writing, styling or another aspect of the industry, you probably won’t last long before you burn out. ‘If you’re not obsessed [with fashion] to the point where you’ll be happy getting coffee, you’re going to be miserable,’ [Ariel] Foxman [In Style’s Editor-in-Chief] said.”
Fashion Journalism Career Information
Throughout their careers, fashion journalists may focus in one specific niche or they may work for a variety of media types, fulfilling numerous roles, holding a variety of job titles, sometimes at the same time! They may be employed by a publication or media source, or work as a freelancer covering assignments for various sources.
Fashion journalism is made up of extremely creative professionals, from how they communicate their message, research, build long-lasting relationships with a myriad of members of the industry and conduct interviews to the artistry and uniqueness they recognize on the catwalk, in the fall catalogue or on the street. They are also creative when it comes to ambitiously fashioning their own positions and roles, whether they are pitching a story or show idea or launching their own fashion blog with the aim of attracting a wealth of readers/viewers.
Types of Fashion Journalism Careers
Let’s look at just some of the types of fashion journalism careers—traditional and new—through examples of media, functions and themes.
- Fashion Magazine
- Magazine with a lifestyle/fashion section
- Newspaper with a lifestyle/fashion section
- Fashion-themed TV Show/ Report
- Fashion-themed Radio Show/Report
- Fashion Podcast
- Online magazine
- Visual Media
- And More!
- Photojournalist or Photographer
- Social Media Specialist
- And More!
- Fashion Designers (biographical profiles, news, their latest clothing lines)
- Celebrity Fashion (from models, royalty, chic stars to those who may not normally be known for their wardrobe)
- Critique/reviews of fashion trends and designs
- Fashion and culture
- Fashion History
- Events (such as local and international Fashion Shows and Fashion Weeks, Award Shows, etc).
- Fashion Industry (economics and business)
- Fashion Industry Career Advice
- Interviews with Fashion Industry Professionals
- Fashion Advice (for a variety of demographics)
- Fashion Forecasting
- Fashion and Lifestyles (from business attire to healthy living/exercise outfits)
- Visual essay/photography spread
- And More!
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides employment outlook and salary data for hundreds of occupations. They do not provide specific data for the position “fashion journalist” but they do provide information on reporters, correspondents & broadcasts news analysts, writers & authors, editors, and photographers (which includes photojournalists). According to the BLS projections, the Job Outlook for 2012-2022 for each of these occupations is either slower than average or on the decline.
It’s important to note that the BLS data does not necessarily reflect all self-employed workers or freelancers. And fashion journalists, as with other journalists, are able to tap or create more employment opportunities particularly through new and online media.
And although it is very hard to break into—whether you are a designer, model or journalist—the fashion industry is arguably bigger than ever before.
“The fashion industry is attracting more would-be employees than ever now,” wrote Fashionista’s Cheryl Wischhover (April 5, 2012). “Thanks to more perceived accessibility through (sometimes not-so-realistic) fashion reality shows and the proliferation of fashion related blogs, it’s an industry that’s in high demand…we’re well aware that not everyone who wants to be in fashion wants to be a designer (like, say, all of us here at Fashionista).”
Fashionista is a successful fashion news website, and Wischhover is referring to those who want to work in the fashion industry as journalists or communicators.
Is there Hope for Me to Become a Fashion Journalist?
The job outlook data from the BLS for overall journalists may seem like an extreme obstacle you if you want to become a fashion or other type of journalist.
But if you consider Georgetown University’s Hard Times 2013: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings report, the state of journalism employment seems a little more hopeful. The study found the “overall unemployment rate for recent college graduates” was 7.9%. The unemployment rate for those who graduated with a journalism major was below this average at 7%; unemployment was 5.4% if that journalism college grad gained experience—which can be gained through internships or job shadowing!
To help set the wheels in motion, you could complete a journalism or relevant degree. The program might also offer coursework or concentrations in fashion media or fashion journalism. The most valuable part of your education—which will be ongoing throughout your entire career—is the internships and job shadowing opportunities. Start these immediately, whether you are still in high school, in your first year of college or just graduated. They are ideally included in your college program, but if they are not, create your own. Reach out to publications, media sources and mentors and tell them you want to intern for them! If you have this undying drive, this attitude of “never giving up,” you could find, define and refine your role in the fashion journalism world.
Additional Resources & Sources