The world of fashion journalism is exciting and fast-paced. Fashion journalists are in the thick of the industry, reporting on new developments at a moments notice. They may report on new trends, fashion events, celebrity looks and more.
Fashion journalism encompasses much more than just writing about clothes, it refers to any media type including video, print and online copy. The fashion industry as a whole is extremely fast moving, with constantly evolving trends. It is the job of a fashion journalist to keep up with this and even predict future developments. Due to this, the hours of the job are often unsociable, you may have to travel and work to tight deadlines. You will also need excellent writing and communication skills.
Discover what the role of a fashion journalist entails, key skills, salary information and entry routes.
WHAT IS A FASHION JOURNALIST?
Fashion journalism is the process of researching and reporting on fashion stories and news. As a fashion journalist you could write for a magazine, newspaper or blog. You could also present and make video content for TV segments, YouTube channels or podcasts.
Fashion journalists are required to attend all kinds of events including photoshoots, fashion shows and award shows, in order to research and report on stories. They report on anything from new trends to best dressed celebrities, and industry issues such as sustainability.
FASHION JOURNALIST JOB DESCRIPTION
Fashion journalism is much more than just writing for a magazine; you could be creating content for any form of fashion media. The responsibilities of a fashion journalist are very similar to those of a normal journalist - just as some people specialise in politics or the economy, others choose to specialise in fashion.
The main responsibilities of a fashion journalist include:
Any good journalist needs to ensure that their story is factual and newsworthy. Fashion journalism is no different. You will need to conduct thorough research, collate facts and information in order to corroborate claims and get to the root of stories.
Interviews are a common tool of journalists to gain information and expert opinions to help provide colour and context to their stories. Interviews may also be used for human-interest stories. For example, you may interview up and coming designers about their journey into fashion and the inspiration behind a collection. Interviews could be in written format or video for platforms such as YouTube or TV.
Writing is one of the key responsibilities of a fashion journalist. Even those specialising in video or recorded content may need to write up questions and stories from time to time. A good fashion journalist should understand how to engage users and adjust their writing style depending on the topic, audience and intended media type. Some fashion journalists choose to report via a mixture of media types therefore they must have good writing and presenting skills.
Having a strong network is key for a fashion journalist. Your network should be varied giving you access to as much of the industry as possible. This could include designers, models, photographers, event planners and more. Building these relationships allows you to gain information for stories and ensures you are privy to the latest developments in the industry.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FASHION JOURNALIST?
Fashion journalism is an extremely competitive industry. To be successful, you do not only need excellent writing skills, but you need to be personable and have a comprehensive knowledge of fashion. The role can be extremely varied depending on the type of story you are covering.
Find out what skills you need to become a fashion journalist.
FASHION JOURNALIST SKILLS
The main responsibility of a fashion journalist is to communicate with their audience. To do this effectively, you must be able to relay information in a clear, concise and engaging way. Whether you are writing copy, making a video or presenting a TV show, communication is key.
Communication is also essential during the research and interview process. You must be able to ask the right questions in order to gain the necessary information for a well-covered story. You may also need to think about how you adjust your tone of voice or writing style depending on the style of piece, intended platform, audience or person of interest.
Not only is it important to communicate clearly, you also need to be personable. Asking the right questions will only take you so far. An interviewee may be reluctant to answer if they don’t feel comfortable. Fashion journalists rely heavily on their networks to gather information and uncover stories, so you must be able to build strong working relationships.
3. In-depth Fashion Knowledge
When your job is commenting and reporting on the fashion, an in-depth knowledge of the industry is critical. Fashion journalists need to have a strong understanding of designers in the industry; current, past and up and coming. They will also need a strong set of references. Designers often reference previous collections so having this knowledge is key to picking up on subtle stories and details.
As a fashion journalist, you need to be curious and inquisitive by nature. Curiosity helps journalists to see stories where others don’t, and ask the right questions to get to the root of a story. It helps them to find additional insights and uncover new angles to report on.
Thinking outside of the box is key to make your stories stand out in a saturated market. There are hundreds of media outlets all vying for attention; offering a fresh perspective can be the difference between a story that attracts attention and one that doesn’t.
FASHION JOURNALIST SALARY
Working in-house as a fashion journalist, you can expect to earn anywhere from £15,000 - £50,000 depending on experience. Common job titles for fashion journalists include Copywriter, Editor and Staff Writer.
- Assistant/entry level = around £15,000 - £26,000
- Mid-weight journalist = around £30,000
- Senior journalist = around £50,000
Many fashion journalists also choose to work on a freelance basis, setting their own fees.
HOW TO BECOME A FASHION JOURNALIST
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a fashion journalist, but aren’t sure how to get into it? Whilst it can be a very competitive field, a mixture of formal education and experience can help you to forge a successful career in fashion journalism.
Education can help you to build the technical skills required, whilst experience gives you insight into the inner workings of the industry and allows you to build up your portfolio of work.
You do not need to be degree educated to become a fashion journalist however, a formal qualification can help. Completing a qualification in a related area helps you to build the fundamental skills required by the role, and also gives insight into the fashion industry as a whole.
Higher education can teach you a range of transferable skills such as research and writing. Maybe you want to write for a magazine, an online publication, or maybe you would rather specialise in video journalism? Completing a course can allow you to try out different content types and subjects so you can hone in on your preferred area.
You could look for a dedicated fashion journalism course, or complete a more general course such as our Undergraduate - BA (Hons) Marketing & Communications for Fashion.
Internships and Work Experience
Work experience can give you the opportunity to showcase you skills and learn about the role in more detail. You could look for an internship, work experience opportunity or placement at a magazine, newspaper or a PR agency specialising in fashion. This can allow you to build a portfolio to apply for future roles, as well as helping to build your network and gain real world insight into the industry.
Starting your own fashion blog can also be a great way to demonstrate your abilities and gain experience of fashion journalism. Not only does it showcase your writing skills, but it also shows your eye for stories, your passion and commitment. This can be a valuable way to stand out when applying for competitive roles.
Another avenue to explore is guest writing. Many magazines and online publications accept submissions - some of which are paid. Having your submission featured can raise your profile and can open the door to more writing opportunities.
By choosing to study at the Fashion Retail Academy, you can also benefit from our retail partners. Working with over 140 organisations within fashion and retail, all of our courses include a 3 week work placement to allow you to put your knowledge into practice. You will also receive live briefs from external partners and have the opportunity to build a professional network before entering the world of work.
Think a role as a fashion journalist is right for you? Take the first step to your dream career and study with the Fashion Retail Academy.
If you have any more questions about any of the courses on offer at the Fashion Retail Academy, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Read our guide How To Get Started In The Fashion Industry for more information.