Skills Required to Succeed as a Fashion Journalist
In order to succeed as a fashion journalist, individuals must possess a variety of unique skills. In addition to an almost obsessive love for all things fashion, the journalist must possess exemplary skills in communication, research, and pattern recognition and prediction.
An Eye for Style
Good fashion journalists have an easy knack for recognizing style when they see it. They have uncanny good tastes, know how to style any outfit for any occasion, and can spot emerging visionaries in the fashion world. They have an analytical eye that will help them deconstruct the underlying messages of designers. They can polish these skills by supplementing them with an education in the history of fashion. By studying designs and styles that have come before, they can discern where today’s fashions fit in that context. By exercising their critical eye, they will be able to write effectively and critically for a discerning audience.
To do that though, they must have strong communication skills. Fashion journalists can not only distinguish exceptional or unique styles, they can tell their readers all about it. Whether they do this through the written word in write-ups or feature essays or they do it through photojournalism and visual images, they can articulate and analyze fashion as it happens. Most journalists learn and polish these skills in college and through internships. They learn the art of crafting and how to connect with their audience, imparting information in an engaging and exciting way. Strong grammar and editing skills are also incredibly useful in imparting useful information.
Research and Interviewing
Journalists must also possess strong research and interviewing skills. Many of the assignments fashion journalists will receive require a great deal of research. They will have to learn about the history of the industry, the individual labels and designers, the trends and styles of previous seasons, and more. Conducting interviews is just one way to obtain such information. Journalists must be able to engage their subjects, using probing questions to get at the truth and uncover meaningful information that will help their readers understand fashion at a deeper level. Having a personal relationship with a number of designers, photographers, and models can open many doors.
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Recognizing and Predicting Trends
Finally, a good fashion journalist will be able to recognize and predict the next big trends in fashion and styling. Because of their extensive knowledge in the history of fashion and their insider knowledge on what designers are planning for the next seasons, they will be able to recognize when an element has resonated with a number of consumers at the same time and which ones are most likely to trickle down through the retail environments. They will be able to anticipate what people will be wearing in several months to several years from now and can design feature articles and essays about it. They are the tastemakers, and they must tap into their natural instincts on a regular basis.
Though many of these skills will be initially learned in college or in internships, they will be better developed through years of practice in the fashion industry. As fashion journalists gain experience, they will become better writers, better researchers, and more influential tastemakers.