What I Ditched When I Became a Fashion Editor
Because the only time you should be bringing baggage is when you travel.
May 09, 2017 11:11:17 AM
It’s been 10 years since I embarked on my journey in fashion. I was 22 when I started out as a shopgirl in a luxury department store, which was quite a humbling experience. There I was, acting like I was already one of the greats with my nose high up in the air—it wasn’t until I was on my knees putting shoes on a customer’s feet that it sunk in that I was just beginning.
Thankfully, I eventually made it as a fashion editor for a magazine. I mean, it wasn’t Vogue as I had on my dreamboard (the power of visualisation ladies), but it was somewhere. You never really know how fast things can be done until you’ve worked in editorial. Months can pass by without you even feeling it: all of a sudden you’re working on the January cover of the next year by September (the editorials of which you shot in June-ish). There definitely is a warped perspective on time and reality.
But back to the story: we as people (hopefully) evolve and grow over time. There will be things that you’re going to have to leave behind because they no longer make sense to where you are right now, or are hindering you from moving forward. One has to do a careful audit from time to time to realize how far you’ve come.
Here are some of the things I’ve personally left behind, and the things I’ve replaced them with:
What I left behind: The assistant mindset.
When you’re an assistant you tend to just keep your head down and do as you’re told. You keep your head down, keep your opinions to yourself, and dash out of the office when your boss asks you to get her Starbucks— *hot* Starbucks.
What I brought instead: Confidence in myself.
At some point in your career, you will be asked to step up. Your superiors believe in you enough to carry out certain tasks and duties with full competence and diligence. When you are asked to step up, you can no longer be your meek self—you have to know that you can do it, and believe in yourself (or at least fake it til you make it).
What I left behind: “My way is the only way.”
As much as I would love to blame being a creative for this, I can’t. It was just plain bad attitude. It’s very good that you believe in your work, ownership shows a lot of dedication, but you can’t be too set in your ways.
What I brought instead: Humility and open mindedness.
I became more open to constructive criticism and listened to what other people had to say about my work. Because if, for example, our finance department doesn’t understand what we’re trying to communicate visually or with works, then for sure someone else in the world will share the same opinion—regardless of how beautiful you think your work is. You have to understand that you’re all working towards the same goal and are on each others’ sides.
What I left behind: A “that’s not my job” attitude
I used to be a snotty SOB, to be completely honest. There are things that I wouldn’t do just because they weren’t in the job description, or worse, just because I didn’t feel like doing it. To be completely fair, not wanting to do something is a valid reason to not do it. But when the list of those things become greater than the list of things you want to do or feel like doing, you’re gonna have to ask yourself if you’re doing yourself any good.
What I brought instead: Acceptance of the fact that any job IS my job.
Working for a startup like Uncloset is tough: teams are leaner, processes are faster, the hierarchy is flatter—especially if you’re not used to that kind of setup. But eventually, you realize that despite the massive difference in departments, anything you do within the company goes hand in hand, and moves everyone forward in the bigger picture.
Now onto the fashion:
What I left behind: Out there style.
Ashley, our CEO, can attest to this—she’s known me since college and has seen my style transformation. But I my outfits used to be really out there; like Johnny Weir out there (I’d show you guys a photo but I cringe at the thought of unearthing those memories). Now I’m not saying don’t be exploratory with your style, just stay within the confines of good taste.
What I brought instead: A stylish, tasteful, and most importantly, comfortable uniform.
What I love about having a uniform is that even if I’m running late in the morning, it’s not as hard to form outfits because you already know your formula. Plus when you have 3 of the same shirt, no one notices that you’ve worn it 4 times that week.
What I left behind: A high-street work bag.
I used to be a subscriber to the buy-then-toss type of shopping where I buy really cheaply and then just toss it a couple of weeks later when I’ve worn it down. Here’s why that’s bad: throwaway clothes and accessories fill our landfills, that money you spend on cheap things adds up eventually, and sometimes it’s easy to tell which is faux and which is vrai and it can easily ruin an outfit.
What I brought instead: Luxury work bag.
I saved my pennies and took the plunge with a second hand Proenza Schouler PS1—which I still have to this day, even after a few years later. Despite heavy wear, the condition hasn’t changed that much, which just goes to show you that it’s worth it to invest in premium materials. (PS, I chose the bag on the left at the end of the email)
Now, it’s your turn to spill: what have you chosen to leave behind on your journey? What have you brought along? Send me an email all about your experiences!
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TAGS: Work, Proenza Schouler
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