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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Breaking into Fashion: Pamela Edwards

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."

She continues, "I met her through a mutual friend over brunch at her restaurant, Akwaaba. As we all chatted, Monique mentioned that Essence needed a fashion and beauty writer. My friend replied, “Pam can do that.” I sent Monique my resume without giving it much thought. I got a call a few months later to come in for an interview. As a test, I was asked to write three stories. I think I wrote eight, and even laid them out in Quark."
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."
Well said!
So, just to recap
If you want to be a Fashion Editor:
*Go above and beyond what is asked of you. Get articles in before deadline. Taking a test? Give twice as much.
*Network! Pam was considered for her first position based on a contact through a mutual friend! Get out there and meet people.
*Read as much about fashion as you can. Can't afford that subscription to Vogue? Go online! And hit up your local library.
*Intern at a Fashion Magazine. Visit websites like mediabistro.com and ed2010.com to find out when positions are open. And trust me, magazines are always looking for interns!
*Dress the part. I hope I've shown you fashionable options and websites that will allow you to look the chic without breaking the bank. But try (if you can) to invest in some great shoes!
Smootches!
Fashion, News, and What Nots
*Want to know more about Pam? Read her blog, Pamela's Style Diary, on www.essence.com.
*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.

6 comments:

Bsquared said...

YAY Eddy!!! (Inside nickname...) Claire, you really captured Pamela's boho, carefree spirit. I personally know that she is passionate about her job and truly cares about her readers.

Kudos all around!

Anonymous said...

fabulous work, Claire!

Who's That Fashionista? said...

Such a great post Claire! I loves it!!! They keep me inspired and motivated. Also much thanks for the coverage on June Ambrose and Bonnie Morrison. I look up to those women. Gosh, I cannot wait till it is my turn...woo hoo. :)

Anonymous said...

Claire , where can I get the type necklace Jennifer Hudson has on the cover of essence. I know that is an Iradj Moini necklace which is very expensive. Is there where I can get a similar inexpensive necklace. I need it for a photoshoot I'm working on.

Anonymous said...

love the blog...cool online find here in my city
https://www.thesnob.biz/TheSnob.asp
they have a lot of vintage pieces
-kaliente

CJ said...

Love it!! Pam definitely rocks and I learned even more about her from this great interview.

BB you can't be putting nicknames on blast though.

And Claire you are killing me with the DVF sample sale reminders. It's either that or Christmas shopping this weekend . . .let you know who wins . . .