Making a Career of Fashion Journalism

Journalism is one of those areas that will never go out of style! While print may be getting slowly phased out by digital visual content, humans will always turn to written accounts to document and share their stories. Writing is both a great skill to have and an irreplaceable creative outlet.

It simultaneously allows you to keep up with what’s happening around you, formulate your own ideas and opinions, and practice effective communication skills. It can also be a full-time career for those who are especially passionate about the craft! Here are some ways to set yourself up for success as a fashion journalist or editor, along with some advice from experienced journalists!

Create your Writing Portfolio

In journalism, a resume on its own is not enough to show the full range of an author, their experience, skills or specialties. This is why a personal portfolio website is the way to display your collection of articles, journal entries, blog posts and more! For most application processes, candidates are required to submit a link to their portfolio website or to attach a PDF version at the very least.

To nail your online portfolio, select your best personal and professional work and don’t forget to include a page for your author biography. The biography is necessary – it’s your first chance to tell recruiters more about who you are, where you come from, why you do what you do and what makes you different from everyone else!

Grow and refine your writing portfolio with each new opportunity to keep your website fresh with new work on up-to-date topics. At times, pulling inspiration on what to write about can be strenuous. Senior Fashion Editor at Beyond Fashion Magazine, Renee Butts reminds us that not everyone starts out with their niche in mind, and that’s ok!

“Sometimes finding what you like to write about is a journey in itself but don’t let that discourage you”, she says. “Think about what excites you, what you like being told about, what your media of choice is. It’ll come with a few trial and error eras but once you realize what it is, you’ll have the experience to make it pop! However, if your heart’s not in it, take yourself –and your words– out of it.”

Freelancing 101

Once you have set up your portfolio, you’re ready to start applying for new writing opportunities… but where? The vast majority of fashion writers start out in junior writing positions for businesses on a full-time or part-time basis, and freelancing is not uncommon as well. While salaried positions are more or less straightforward, freelancing may be newer to those of you who are just getting started in fashion writing.

There are a few noteworthy things to bear in mind as a freelancer which include but are not limited to contracts, invoices and taxes. And yes, these legal matters are notoriously dreaded and not fun to navigate, but it’s important to take the time to understand each of these elements so that you can make the most of your writing experience. Always seek professional guidance when in doubt.

Legal stuff aside, the principles remain the same whether you’re salaried or a freelance journalist. Learn to work fast and hit your deadlines, always be professional and ensure your work is error-free to the very best of your ability. In the long run, this will open doors to the best opportunities for you.

Style Nine to Five might be your first stop when searching for writing positions, however you can also make use of Twitter, other social media sites and niche job websites and agencies to find more vacancies.

Pitch, Pitch, Pitch!

The art of pitching is one to be mastered for all fashion writers. Be ready to tell your stories across different platforms! Pitch to agencies, blogs, magazines, and e-commerce companies. This is the way to maximize your exposure and land you more jobs.

A pitch is a story idea proposal made to a journalist or editor of a media outlet, usually by email, to pique their interest in featuring your story on their platform. Writing a good pitch is synonymous with writing a personalized pitch! Know the person and platform you are pitching to, and plug in your unique value proposition for the piece.

Fashion journalist Aida M. Toro says “Being a journalist and overall writer is such a treat. At times, it can be hard to obtain writing gigs, no matter your niche. With this being said, my advice is to keep your head up and in the game, as it can be discouraging when getting rejected for submitting your work for certain publications. Before submitting or even applying to the job, think about what you love and then pour your heart out when writing the story as well as cover letter. That’s when you’ll land the gig.”

Once it’s sent, don’t be shy to follow up if you haven’t heard back in a few days. The reality is that these outlets get hundreds and thousands of emails every day so yours may have just gotten missed. Get comfortable with pitching and be audacious!

When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn “About” section? Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr, can give it the refresh you’re looking for book now!

Anita Hosanna is a freelance fashion stylist and creative consultant with a love for fashion journalism and tech.

Featured Image: Adobe