Next up in the Fashion Bomb's Breaking into Fashion Series is none other than Pamela Edwards...
....the Beauty and Fashion Features Editor for Essence Magazine.
She was kind enough to offer a bit of advice to all you aspiring fashion editors and journalists.
An Africana Studies/English major at Vassar University, Pam tried her hand at teaching before moving to New York. She says, "I moved to New York without a job––I always wanted to live here. My sister, who wasn’t the biggest New York fan, got a job at NBC so she had to move here. I couldn’t believe she was moving to the Big Apple and not I! So, even though she’s younger, I tagged along. I did a lot of odd jobs, worked on music videos as a wardrobe shopper, as a production assistant, and worked in a boutique in Brooklyn. I did this for a year before meeting Monique Greenwood, the then Editor-In-Chief of Essence."
Pam's 'above and beyond' dedication secured her the writing position, which has now evolved into a more senior editorial role, packed to the brim with appointments and shoots. She says, "A typical day includes a few meetings in house to discuss the various stages of stories–– we work on 3-4 issues at a time so not a day goes by without some sort of concept, art or shoot meeting. I have between 3-5 beauty desksides or market appointments weekly. I also have to make time to write, edit and assign stories. "
If you aspire to be a fashion editor one day, Pam says, "Nail an internship in any fashion department or showroom. Understanding the history of fashion and being familiar with current designers is obviously a must. Thank God for style.com and net-a-porter.com! Good readers make good writers, so you've got to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. If you're already in the industry and want to move ahead, mimic the behavior of the roles/titles of the fashion insiders that you aspire to be. Get to know your industry peers and be present for as many hot events as possible, so you have the opportunity to speak to those with the power to assist your career movement."
In terms of dressing the part, Pam says, "With H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Target, Kohl’s, budding fashionistas have access to current and affordable trends. Don’t ever skimp on the shoes. Cheap shoes can ruin even the most perfect Prada dress. Better to have two good pair, then 20 cheapies. As far as fitting in is concerned, there is some truth to dressing the part of your future role. In this industry, people expect stylists to look like stylists. They expect fashion directors to look like fashion directors. If you have a strong sense of style it won’t be a problem to merge your personality into your future status look. If you don’t have a strong sense of style then develop one. Look at your style role models. Study them and figure out what it is that sets their looks apart from the rest. Start incorporating these attributes into your wardrobe. One last thing, clothes look so much better when they fit. Perfect your wardrobe by investing in a solid tailor."
In general, she says, " Keep yourself inspired. Whatever it is that inspires you, do it. Visit museums, travel, read–-everything. By feeding your head, heart and soul, you’ll bring even more beauty and style to your work."
*Can’t afford to do anything unpaid? New York Magazine, Newsweek, and the Nation offer paid internships. Also check with the big publishing houses like Conde Nast, Time, or Hearst for internship opportunities.