January 25, 2016

Full-on fashion

Background: It's been just over ten years since I finished up the MA at Saint Martins and tomorrow I'm starting the first serious fashion job of my career. Not that all the jobs I've had up to this point aren't serious jobs—they were just serious in other ways. Working at the Post was all about scooping the News, developing the paper's first market pages, and shock value; launching Racked National was creating a national shopping blog POV from scratch and securing its place in the landscape of independent fashion blogs at the time; the three times I worked at Glamour always boiled down to moving the traffic needle with a content-first strategy while covering as much ground as possible without sacrificing brand value; and my under-a-year stint at Epicurious (food, not fashion) was all about getting the website to max traffic in the shortest amount of time while overhauling a 20-year-old site's functionality, purpose, and design.

The tipping point: About three months ago, I was summoned to the office of one of the most important people in fashion publishing. We talked about my career, the internet, and millennials—and the one thing that resonated with me the most (and that I've thought about every single day since) is when she said to me, "It sounds like you're a generalist." 

I don't want to be a generalist. I didn't spend my 20s doing semi-random master's degrees (first women's studies, then fashion) to wind up a generalist. I felt lost during so many of my higher education years and through a dozen internships (liver cell research lab; corporate law firm; PR agency; college administration) before finally, after landing at CSM, I felt like everything in the world and in my little life finally made sense. I guess at some point over the last ten years, I must have lost my way. Two years ago, I became completely disillusioned with fashion—for so many reasons, but especially the way the industry functions in the United States—and I thought I wanted out. Now, after a professional break—first with a stint in the food media industry and then as a digital generalist and news and politics editor—I'm ready to go back. And I'm not going the consumer-facing service media route this time: I'm going full-on news.

Wish me luck.