Teen Vogue’s interview with Anna Wintour unearthed a goldmine of information for entry-level designers, journalists and stylists like us — it’s Socialism at its best. When advice weighs heavier than a free pair of Christian Louboutin booties (it’s that heavy) take the free advice to heart, please.
What advice do you have for a young person who is interested in fashion design?
Don’t go too fast. Because of reality television and all these celebrities thinking they can be designers, everyone imagines that they can just become a designer, photographer, or model, but that’s not the way things work. People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand—that’s the right, healthy way to do things. If you’re an overnight sensation, you can be yesterday’s news in no time, whereas building something slowly and carefully that has value and quality, that’s what’s going to have legs. You’d be amazed at how many people come in here, and they make perfectly nice clothes, but they don’t understand how to differentiate their brand from another, or they don’t have a business plan, or they don’t know where to produce things. Don’t run before you can crawl. It’s a very hard business, full of many, many extremely creative, talented people who work hard and still fail. If you have the basic building blocks behind you, you’re much more likely to do well.
When you’re hiring someone for an entry-level position at Vogue, what do you look for?
I look for someone who has actually read the magazine. People will say, “Oh, I love Vogue,” but when I ask them to tell me something specific they liked, or a photographer whose work they enjoy, they look at me as if I’m crazy. Do your homework, go online, visit every museum, and intern. I like having young assistants in my office; they have energy, and I spend time with them to make sure they understand what we’re doing. By investing in them, I’m investing in the magazine. All over Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Men’s Vogue, there are people who have been through not only my office but also many other offices at Vogue.
Is there a “wrong” thing to wear to an interview with you?
A suit, I have to say. But who knows? Maybe next year I’ll love suits. And I don’t mind jeans. If there’s a girl applying to work in the fashion department and she comes in here with a great pair of jeans pulled together with the right top, it’s fine. [Teen Vogue]