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Fashion Journal’s Editorial Assistant on how she got her start

IMAGE VIA @IZZY.WIGHT/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“Like a lot of fresh graduates, my career was 20-something years of a comfortable plateau before experiencing a very steep learning curve.”

The first time I told a group of my high school peers I wanted to work in fashion, I could feel the collective eye roll. It felt similar to saying I wanted to be a fairy princess or Bratz doll when I grew up, a baseless childlike fantasy conjured by a schoolgirl who read an issue of Teen Vogue once. I get it.

In the creative industries – particularly fashion – the whole ‘getting there’ (to any destination that provides an income) process can be tricky. It’s rarely linear and often involves periods of relentless cringe, because being an advocate for your own professional livelihood is frankly embarrassing sometimes.


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Now that I really do work in fashion editorial, I can say all the uncomfortable moments I’ve endured – and the ones yet to come – have been worth it. Like a lot of fresh graduates, my career was 20-something years of a comfortable plateau before experiencing a very steep learning curve. I’m in no way claiming to know it all (in fact I know very little, particularly when I’m hungry) but I can share my journey in becoming Fashion Journal’s Editorial Assistant.

Blogging beginnings

For most writers, the journey of self-discovery begins with a journal. After years of writing scrappy diary entries in the back of my schoolbooks, I decided to bless the internet with my profound words. My first post was about how I used to wrap toilet paper around my feet to avoid getting the Wii Fit board sweaty.

Unbeknownst to me, Australia was on the precipice of the blogging boom (think the Fashion Bloggers tv show era). After that incredible debut, I found my niche in writing about fashion. I launched my website, Views of Now (don’t judge, I picked the name when I was 12), at a surprisingly opportune time.

With Tavi Gevinson as my idol, I was consistent with my posts – even when no one was reading them. While blogging isn’t something I still do (also Instagram and TikTok have really eclipsed the industry), it allowed me to exercise my writing muscles, gave me over a decade of experience and was really the catalyst for my offline career. Plus, Views of Now would later serve as a valuable archive and digital portfolio of my work.

Student years

I moved from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to inner-city Melbourne at the age of 18. After applying to local universities, I clicked on the RMIT website and found the Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising. It was the fashion/business hybrid course I’d been searching for. I applied, was accepted and absolutely could not afford to move cities, so opted for a working gap year.

I absorbed as much as I could in my classes, approaching each subject with an open mind. The umbrella of fashion is undeniably huge, and while I knew writing was a passion, I wasn’t sure exactly where to place myself in the industry. Excited about the possibility of an internship, I slapped a third year on the end of my degree and turned it into a Bachelor of Fashion, specialising in Merchandise Management.

My first fashion internship taught me the areas of the industry I wasn’t interested in, which was important. I gave all of my tasks an enthusiastic go, worked across multiple areas of the business (buying, quality control, visual merchandising, etc) and left with an understanding of how a brand operated. From there, I came to the conclusion that I wanted a job that allowed me to write.

Post-grad blues

For me, the first year after graduation was tough. For the first six months, I felt a crippling sense of imposter syndrome, which intensified every time I applied for a job. My suffering was clearly obvious (subtlety has never been my forte) and one of my close friends helped me out by landing me an internship at Melbourne-based fashion brand, Collective Closets. The founders Fatuma and Laurinda made me feel incredibly welcome and helped to build my shakey post-grad confidence back up (real-life angels).

After completing that second internship, Collective Closets offered me a job helping out with their social media, which I took on with gusto. Despite immediately CCing everyone on the brand’s distribution list into a business-only email (rookie mistake), I persisted and ended up working for Fatuma and Laurinda for over three years.

During that time, I floated across multiple areas of the business, trying my hand at marketing, retail, social media and copywriting. I also took on any freelance opportunities that came my way, saying yes to almost anything. At this time I was taking on a lot of work in rapid succession – I worked two jobs, was freelancing and started my Master’s Degree in Writing and Publishing.

The next steps

With all that was already on my plate, I then applied for the Melbourne Fashion Festival (MFF) Writer’s Program, a program designed to nurture emerging writers at the beginning of their careers. I also applied for an internship at Fashion Journal. My (very) earnest cover letter and work with Collective Closets helped me to land both, which was surreal. Looking back, I think it was a proactive attitude that helped me the most. Despite feeling a little awkward sometimes, I entered conversations, applied for positions and attended my MFF Writer’s Program mentor meetings (led by curator, model and culture writer, Sabina McKenna) with a willing and open attitude.

I didn’t (and still don’t) put myself above a learning opportunity. My first few months at Fashion Journal taught me that constructive criticism isn’t a personal attack, but an attempt at helping you improve. Our Digital Editor Cait patiently helped me to shape my skills, moulding me into a more polished writer. I began to hone in my attention to detail, tone of voice and people skills, all of which I will never stop working on.

My parting wisdom? Be kind to everyone you meet, listen to those willing to share and show enthusiasm, even when it’s a little embarrassing. It’s not that deep.

For more on getting your start in the fashion industry, head here.

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